The Life and Times of August Forel

By Sheila Banani

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #53
Bosch Bahá'í School: California, USA
May 27–30, 2004
(see list of papers from #53)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 6, pages 1-20
© 2005, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    Swiss psychiatrist and entomologist, Dr. August Henri Forel, was the recipient of one of the most famous and well-studied Tablets from `Abduíl-Bahá on the subject of the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, written in the last weeks of `Abduíl-Baháís life. Dr. Forel had sent a letter to `Abduíl-Bahá explaining his own points of view and asking if he might still be accepted as a Bahá'i. Several scholarly examinations and commentaries on `Abduíl-Baháís Tablet have been made, however awareness among the Bahá'is of who was August Forel is more limited.
    My essay on "The Life and Times of August Forel" reviews chronologically some of Forelís scientific accomplishments, philosophical/religious perplexities, and social concerns which led him to embrace the Bahá'i teachings as he understood them during the last decade of his life in a world struggling and in need of a new "order." Such a biographical approach is an attempt to help explain a period of history as seen through the life of one of its more famous participants, Dr. August Henri Forel.

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