Meta-History and the Bahá'í Writings

By Ian Kluge

Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #137
Bosch Baha'i School: Santa Cruz, CA
May 26–30, 2016
(see list of papers from #137)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 18, pages 215-350
under new title
"Grand Narratives and the Bahá'í Writings"
© 2017, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    The doctrine of progressive revelation is a "grand narrative" or meta-historical account of humanity's spiritual and psycho-social progress over the length of human existence. In other words, this teaching presents the story of the unfolding or actualizing of uniquely human potentials in our struggle with the material world and our own animal natures. The foreseeable goal is the eventual unification of humankind and the attainment of the spiritual and psycho-social maturity of mankind. This paper will compare and contrast the Bahá'í "grand narrative" with other meta-historical theories in order to help clarify our understanding of the explicit and implicit Bahá'í teachings about the nature of human history as well as human destiny. The major authors we shall examine are Georg W. H. Hegel, Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee, Lewis Mumford and Pitrim Sorokin.

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