The Bahá'í Faith: A Comprehensive Introduction

Religion, Theology & Philosophy
10 weeks
Weekly Study
Jan 14-Mar 24
Register By
January 21, 2021

The Bahá'í Faith: A Comprehensive Introduction offers a thorough and systematic study of Bahá'í texts, teachings, history, and development of the community utilizing the academic textbook The Bahá'í Faith: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury, 2012). We will start with a review of the vastness of the Bahá'í Faith's authoritative texts (21 million words), which sets it apart from other religions. We then examine the foundational concept of unity and its implications for creating community, reforming the world, and re-conceptualizing a wide range of key concepts. The third unit explores the nature of God, revelation, manifestation, humanity, creation, religion, and the Bahá'í Faith's relationship to other faiths. The fourth and fifth units consider the nature and spiritual development of human beings, the role of marriage and family life, and the Bahá'í approach to reorganizing the social life and civilization of the human species.

The second section of the course explores the development of the Bahá'í community historically. It looks at the role of the head of the Faith, the writings (and in some cases, talks) of the head of the Faith, the international spread of the Bahá'í community, the community’s steady diversification in terms of languages and ethnic groups included in its members, and the creation and elaboration of practices and community institutions. Units successively cover the ministry of the Báb (1844-53), Bahá'u'lláh (1853-92, `Abdu'l-Bahá (1892-1921), Shoghi Effendi (1921-63), and the Universal House of Justice (1963 to the present).

Required Textbook: Robert H. Stockman, The Bahá'í Faith: A Guide for the Perplexed (available in paperback and Kindle). This book will be used in every unit of the course. A Kindle e-book does not required ownership of a Kindle device.  See this guide to downloading a Kindle reader app for your laptop, tablet or smartphone if you wish to purchase the e-book.

Meet Your Faculty
Robert Stockman, ThD
Wilmette Institute Director

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

William Collins, MS, MSSc
Author, Researcher, Consultant

I began writing about Bahá’í theology and history when I was in my mid-20s, with articles in the journal World Order, and later in The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, The Bahá’í Studies Review, and library-related journals regarding organization of Bahá’í libraries. I also prepared a published bibliography of English-language works... See Faculty Bio

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