The Diyanet Islamic Research Institute hosted Bilal Toprak on March 10, 2017 for a talk on “Göbekli Tepe: A Changing Paradigm and the Archaeology of Religion.”
Toprak is a fulltime assistant researcher in the Department of History of Religions at Mardin Artuklu University, Mardin/Turkey and a visiting researcher at the Department of Anthropology at The Catholic University of America. He is a PhD candidate of History of Religions at Istanbul University, Istanbul. His dissertation subject is “The Contribution of Archeological Materials to Studies of History of Religions: In the Case of Göbekli Tepe.” He published several articles and book reviews related to his field of study. His academic interests include Archaeology of Religion, Mesopotamian Religions, Heretical Sects and Early Church Christianity.
Toprak’s presentation focused on the importance of archaeology in the field of History of Religions. In this context, Mesopotamian and Anatolian geographies have been home to numerous archaeological excavations, which produced a large body of literature. Until recently, scientific circles considered religion to have emerged after settled life and to have been institutionalized and gathered people together. However, the Göbekli Tepe archaeological site has showed that, 12,000 years ago, the ancient man had a large world of meaning and symbols and people organized for the sake of their religious beliefs.