Neo-Platonism and the Bahá'í Faith

By Ian Kluge

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #93
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 8–11, 2009
(see list of papers from #93)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 11, pages 149-202
under new title
"Neoplatonism and the Bahá'í Writings"
© 2010, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    This paper will analyze The Enneads of Plotinus and, to a lesser extent, Proclus' The Elements of Theology in order to identify how their teachings agree with and differ from the Baha'i Writings. Our analysis will begin but not end with an examination of the doctrine of emanationism and its philosophical and theological implications. It will deal with such topics as the soul, the nature of God, apophatic theology, the meaning of union with the divine, the nature of matter, contemplation as action and descent and return.

    We shall also do spend some time on a `meta-analysis,' to evaluate to what extent Neo-Platonism and the philosophy embedded in the Baha'i Writings are similar types of philosophy, and `traveling' in the same direction although not in agreement on all points. This will help us understand the nature of the philosophy embedded in the Writings.

    See also Part Two.

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