Principles for Progress

Essays on Religion and Modernity by Abdu'l Baha

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Translator(s): 
Sen McGlinn
Iranian Studies Series
  • Chicago, IL: 
    University of Chicago Press
    , August
     2018.
     410 pages.
     $85.00.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9789087283070.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Christopher Buck forthcoming.

Description

This book presents three of the works of Abduʾl-Bahā, son of the founder of the Bahāʾi Faith, which deal with social and political issues.

In The Secret of Divine Civilization (1875) Abduʾl-Bahā supports the administrative and broader social reforms of Mirzā Hosayn Khān, but looks mainly for organic reform through the efforts of Iranian intellectuals to awaken and educate the masses. In this work, Abduʾl-Bahā gives virtuous and progressive Islamic clerics a leading role among these intellectuals—indeed most of his appeals are directed specifically to them.  A Traveller’s Narrative (1889/90) is an authoritative statement of the overarching concepts of Bahā’i social and political thinking. The Art of Governance (1892/93) was written as Iran entered a prerevolutionary phase, and ideas that we recognize today as the precursors of political Islam were spreading. It sets out the principles underlying the ideal relationship between religion and politics and between the government and the people.

In addition to presenting the first parallel text translations of these works, the Persian texts incorporate notes on variants in the early published sources. An introduction outlines the intellectual and political landscape from which Abduʾl-Bahā wrote, and in which his readers lived.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Sen McGlinn is an Independent Scholar who writes and translates in the fields of Bahāʾi studies, Iranian studies, and Islamic studies.

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