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A Short 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.

Late Registration Deadline: June 11, 2020
11 weeks
Weekly Study
9-11 HOURS
Jun 4-Aug 20
Credit Hours

Course ID: HS105
Download Syllabus

A Short 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.

Community Learning Students: Register to Audit this course.

Individuals are welcome to audit this university course. Auditors will have access to the same materials as the university students, and will be expected to complete all of the participatory assignments. Depending on demand, their number may be capped relative to the credit student cohort. The same discounts that apply to Community Learning courses are available, as well as needs-based tuition support. A certificate of completion will be offered as appropriate.

What will you achieve?
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
Moojan Momen, MD
WI Department Co-Chair, Author

Dr. Moojan Momen was born in Iran, but was raised and educated in England, attending the University of Cambridge. He has a special interest in the study of Shi`i Islam and the Bahá’í Faith, both from the viewpoint of their history and their doctrines. In recent years, his interests have... See Faculty Bio

Peter Smith, PhD
Assoc. Prof., Mahidol University International College (MUIC)

I was one of a number of young British Bahá’ís who were attracted to the scholarly study of the Faith by the pioneering work of Hasan Balyuzi. As a group we began a series of academically-oriented Bahá’í Studies seminars (which still continue) and a few of us also chose Bábí... See Faculty Bio

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