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The University of Haifa Lectures in Bahá’í Studies

Edited By Soli Shahvar

This volume brings together a selection of essays from the Lecture Series in Bahá’í studies at the University of Haifa. Each chapter explores an aspect of the Bahá’í religion, including its history, community, culture and theoretical perspectives on contemporary issues. The authors discuss topics including the family and descendants of the Báb (founder of the religion from which the Bahá’í Faith emerged), the influential role of Bahá’í schools in the modernization of education in Iran, the process of introducing the law of monogamy into the Iranian Bahá’í community, early connections between Swiss citizens and Bahá’ís in the Middle East, the rich and varied landscape of Persian Bahá’í poetry, and the role of African Americans in the development of the US Bahá’í community, particularly with regard to race relations and the principle of the oneness of humanity. Also presented in this volume are Bahá’í perspectives on contemporary topics including changing conceptions of work and work values, the role of apologetics in interfaith dialogue, and the issue of ‘defamation of religions’ in international human rights discourse. This book will be of interest to readers in various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences who want to become informed in more depth about a wider range of topics in the emerging field of Bahá’í studies.

“This ground-breaking collection carries the reader from the founding of the Baháʼí faith to its establishment on the world stage. Going beyond text and history, the authors take a multidimensional approach, engaging the political and social dimensions of the Baháʼí faith as well as its outlook as a new religious movement. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in understanding the larger world of the Baháʼí faith, these essays are at once definitive while setting the stage for further study.”—Herman Tull, Research Collaborator, Religious Studies, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania

The University of Haifa Lectures in Bahá’í Studies are an interdisciplinary dive into a dynamic field rooted in history, literary, legal, and religious scholarship addressing topics ranging from the origins of the religion in the nineteenth century to its interpretations and lived reality in the contemporary era and situated in the geographies of the Middle East, Europe, the United States. Though the Bahá’í past and present have been characterized by persecution and marginalization, this collection also celebrates the innovation, resilience, and fortitude of a global community.”—Jasamin Rostam-Kolayi, Professor and Chair, Department of History, California State University, Fullerton