Islam in Modern Turkey An Intellectual Biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi By Shukran Vahide (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005. 424 pages.)

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Eren Tatari

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Abstract

Sukran Vahide’s Islam inModern Turkey: An Intellectual Biography of Bediuzzaman
Said Nursi is a timely contribution to the study of one of the most prominent Islamic thinkers of the twentieth century. This comprehensive
study on Nursi’s life (1876-1960) and works would be appropriate for use in
graduate and undergraduate courses in religious, Islamic, andMiddle Eastern
studies departments.
Vahide fills an important gap in the study of Nursi and his works, which
has become increasingly popular among western scholars in recent decades.
Prior to its publication, only a few brief biographies of Nursi existed, and
those focused solely on presenting a chronological account of his life. Hence
this book’s most significant contribution is, as pointed out in the subtitle, the
fact that it is an “intellectual biography.” Although Vahide organizes the
book into sections that correspond with the chronological developments in
his life, the book is divided into three parts that denote the significant intellectual
phases (also pointed out by Nursi himself in his writings): “The Old
Said,” “The New Said,” and “The Third Said.” In this way, the author situates
Nursi’s writings and ideas, which have inspired the most prominent faith
movement in modern Turkey (approximately 7 million followers), into the
historical context in which they were developed and transmitted to others at
a much needed time in Turkish history ...

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