Course Memo

The writings of Bahá'u'lláh (1817-92) are a singular phenomenon in religious history. They are estimated to comprise 18,000 works and in excess of six million words, composed in Arabic, Persian, and a unique mixture of both. They also represent a remarkably broad range of genres: poetry (both mathnavi and ghazal forms), mystic treatises, qur’anic and biblical commentary, theological and philosophical texts, prayers, ethical works, polemics, personal letters to relatives and followers, public epistles to kings and rulers, and summary/compilation of extracts from previous works. They address nearly every imaginable subject, but their overall theme is to elaborate on the twofold purpose of humanity: to develop our inherent individual potentialities and to contribute to the transformation of global society.

In this course we will undertake a systematic survey of twenty-nine of Bahá'u'lláh’s most important works composed between 1853 and 1892. We will study the works in their approximate order of composition to examine the themes in the works, their contributions to humanity’s social and spiritual advancement, and the historical, social context in which each was revealed. The course will appeal to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Bahá'u'lláh’s prodigious corpus and its implications for humanity. [20 max enrollment; Auditors with Faculty Permission]