The Bahá’í Studies Series publishes monographs and other works of distinction in Bahá’í Studies, including the study of the Sacred Texts, theology, law, teachings, and principles of the Bahá’í Faith as well as the history of the Bahá’í religion (including its precursor movements, the Shaykhí school and the Bábí religion), its central figures, and the development of the Bahá’í community. Bahá’í Studies also encompasses the application of Bahá’í teachings and principles to the contemporary needs of humanity including (but not limited to) peace, human rights, ethics, governance, development, gender and family, the environment, the arts, race and ethnic relations, and Aboriginal peoples.
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The first volume in the new Bahá’í Studies Series from Wilfrid Laurier University Press co-published with the Association for Bahá’í Studies–North America.
Gate of the Heart:
Understanding the Writings of the Báb
by Nader Saiedi
approximately 430 pages
In 1844 a charismatic young Persian merchant from Shiraz known as the Báb electrified the Shí‘ih world by claiming to be the return of the Hidden Twelfth Imam of Islamic prophecy. But contrary to traditional expectations of apocalyptic holy war, the Báb maintained that the spiritual path was one of “love and compassion,” not “force and coercion.” The movement He founded was the precursor of the Bahá’í Faith, but until now the Báb’s own voluminous writings—complex, mystical, and highly symbolic—have been seldom studied and often misunderstood. This book offers the first in-depth introduction to the writings of the Báb.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the author examines the Báb’s major works in multifaceted context, explaining the unique theological system, mystical worldview, and interpretive principles they embody as well as the rhetorical and symbolic uses of language through which the Báb radically transforms traditional concepts. Arguing that the Bábí movement went far beyond an attempt at an Islamic Reformation, the author explores controversial issues and offers conclusions that will compel a reevaluation of some prevalent assumptions concerning the Báb’s station, claims, and laws.
Nader Saiedi’s meticulous and insightful analysis identifies the key themes, terms, and concepts that characterize each stage of the Báb’s writings, unlocking the code of the Báb’s mystical lexicon. Gate of the Heart is a subtle and profound textual study and an essential resource for anyone wishing to understand the theological foundations of the Bahá’í religion as well as the Báb’s significance in religious history.
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Ottawa, ON K1N 7K4 Canada
“A pioneering and groundbreaking work.... provides fundamental keys for understanding some of the distinctive features of the writings of the Báb.”
—Vahid Rafati, Centre for the Study of the Text, Haifa, Israel
“A masterpiece.... For the first time in English a scholar who is well versed in Persian, Arabic, social science—especially sociology (including the sociology of religion and sociology of knowledge)—and with a great knowledge of the Bahá’í Holy Scriptures, has produced a scholarly introduction to the writings of the Báb, His station, and Bábí law.”
—Nosratollah Mohammadhosseini, author, The Báb