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Introduction to Bahá’í History

This course will emphasize the development of the Bahá'í Faith over the last century and a half. We will be reading from Peter Smith's The Bahá'í Faith: A Short History as the principal text.

Bahá’í History & Texts
8 weeks
Weekly Study
Sep 15-Nov 9
Register By
September 20, 2022

GTU Course ID: HRHS-8380
Download 2022 Syllabus

Introduction to Bahá'í History will explore the major themes of Bahá'í history from the 1850s to the second decade of the twenty-first century, emphasizing the development of the Bahá'í Faith over the last century and a half. We will cover the period from the exile of Baha’u’llah (1817-1892), the founder of the Baha'i Faith to Baghdad in 1853 to the end of Baha’u’llah’s life in 1892; the ministry of Baha’u’llah’s successors, ‘Abdu’l-Baha (1892-1921) and Shoghi Effendi (1921-57); the period from 1957 to 1996,  which saw the election of the Universal House of Justice; and the period marking a new direction in community life and outreach to the public (1996-2017).

We will be reading from Peter Smith's The Bahá'í Faith: A Short History as the principal text, Used copies of the book are available on Amazon.

Note: this course includes 3 weeks of extra (optional for non-credit students) materials and discussion forums which extension students may opt to participate in.

What will you learn?
You will learn
To be able to summarize the cultural and religious background of the Babi and Baha’i Faiths and relate it to their origin and development
To be able to describe the basic developments of the Babi and Baha’i Faiths through their five major periods of development (the eras of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice)
To be able to trace the development of major aspects of the Baha’i Faith’s teachings and institutions throughout its history
To develop skills in reading, summarizing, and explaining historical texts
Meet Your Faculty
Robert Stockman, ThD
WI Dean, Bahá’í History, Texts and Tenets

I have had a passion for researching and teaching about the Bahá’í Faith for more than half of my life. My fascination with American Bahá’í history and with the first American Bahá’í, Thornton Chase, caused me, in 1980, to switch my academic field from planetary science to history of religion... See Faculty Bio

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