Note: The Christian-Muslim Studies Network aims to advance academic scholarship and improve public engagement with the scriptural, theological, political, and sociological aspects of Christian-Muslim relations. This post illustrates some of the opportunities available to postgraduate students who are engaging with the academic facets of the Christian-Muslim Studies Network in Edinburgh.
Emmanuel Tettey joined the masters cohort at the University of Edinburgh School of Divinity and aims to study Christian-Muslim relations in his own context through an academic lens.
Originally part of the professional ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Ghana, Mr. Tettey aims to return to Ghana after his studies and teach and research political theology.
‘Historically Christians and Muslims in Ghana have had quite a good relationship, albeit with a few skirmishes’, Mr. Tettey said, noting that Christians are usually seen as the majority, although statistics are disputed.
Because of increased migration within Ghana, Christians and Muslims are beginning to encounter one another – and their religious differences – more frequently. As a result, questions have arisen over issues such as interfaith marriage, prayer in church-owned schools, and hijab-wearing.
Mr. Tettey began to encounter these issues personally during his work in ministry. He hoped the church could take a leadership role in helping settle some of these issues in Ghana, but he found many other Christians uninterested in or even suspicious of interfaith dialogue.
‘Even people who are advanced in Christianity still find it difficult to understand Christian-Muslim relations’, Mr. Tettey said, noting the field is still new to Ghana. ‘Learning to relate to someone of another faith can be part of your mission mandate’.
Mr Tettey believed that New College was the best place to develop these ideas because of a recommendation from a professor who had studied Islam and World Christianity, another field available for study at the School of Divinity. He had received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ghana and worked for six years in ministry before returning to study at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute, where he received a masters in Theology and Missions. He also received a masters in Strategic Planning and Management at the University for Developmental Studies in Ghana.
With his current studies in Edinburgh, Mr. Tettey is preparing to help others in Ghana understand and engage with interfaith dialogue. In this aim, he receives institutional support from the Church of Scotland. He also finds personal support from the academic community of New College, which he described as ‘people who feel like family’.
Mr. Tettey is studying for a Masters by Research degree in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations. Two other degrees are offered within Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at the University of Edinburgh. These include a two-year Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy degree.
As a Masters by Research student, Mr. Tettey aims to complete three essays exploring the ethics of law, concept of revelation, and exclusivist hermeneutics in Christianity and Islam. His dissertation will focus on Christian-Muslim relations in the Ghanaian context, where the national chief imam has developed unity and cooperation among Muslims despite sectarian difference.