Between the 29th June and 2nd July 2018, the International Foundation for Muslim Theology, in collaboration with the Nursi Scholars Society, held a three-day ‘brainstorming’ workshop in Istanbul. The workshop was convened with an eye to the writing and publication of a multi-authored volume on the issue of creation in the teachings of the theologian Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1876-1960). One of the realities which struck the conveners of the workshop was that the question of belief in God is predicated on the ability of the individual to solve, for him- or herself, the ‘problem of creation’, namely to decide, after weighing up the evidence, whether the cosmos has a Creator or not. Given the importance of this subject, the IFMT Management Committee decided that it would be instructive if we were to gift to the world an academically-driven narrative on creation as seen through the prism of Nursi’s Risale-i Nur. To this end, the project coordinator came up with a number of themes, with a view to allocating each theme to an invited scholar, and to discussing both the themes and the ‘division of labour’ at the workshop.
Once the invited scholars had confirmed that they were happy to write on the allocated themes, they were then asked to ‘landscape’ an article, with a view to submitting it for publication as a chapter in the book. The three-day brainstorming workshop tackled four themes a day, and, after much debate and discussion, concluded with the participant scholars moving one step further to realising the IFMT’s dream of authoring, collaboratively, a wonderful gift to the academy, and one which will hopefully stand proud in any scholarly collection of theological works. Few collaboratively authored books benefit from the luxury of their authors meeting to discuss the work in general, and their own chapters in particular, at the outset of the endeavour. It is to be hoped that the wisdom behind the workshop will be reflected in a work that is organic, holistic and indicative of true intellectual partnership. Below are some pictures from the workshop; a list of participants is also included.