The Images of Christ in the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:
(cross-published as Occasional Papers Vol. 1)

By Maryam Afshar

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #46
Bosch Bahá'í School: California, USA
May 1–4, 2003
(see list of papers from #46)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 5, pages 1-16
© 2004, ‘Irfán Colloquia

republished in Occasional Papers, volume 1, pages 1-32
© 2004, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    `Abdu'l-Bahá in his talks and letters addressed to the believers of the West referred most of the time to Christ. His audience being in majority Christians could better relate to, and understand, the Master's message through Christian examples.

    If we consider the chronology of the events, 'Abdu'l-Bahá started addressing some Christian subjects in his talks given at table in Akka during 1904-1906 to guests and pilgrims from Christian background compiled in Some Answered Questions.

    When 'Abdu'l-Bahá started his journey to Europe in September 1911 and to the United States in April 1912 his goal was to proclaim for the first time the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh to the Christian West. Inevitably allusions to Christ were numerous.

    'Abdu'l-Bahá has drawn a parallel between Christ and Bahá'u'lláh and also he has elucidated the meaning of some of Christ's words and explained the main traditional Christian doctrine such as incarnation, resurrection, trinity, baptism, etc In doing so he has brought a new, refreshing and eye-opening view on these subjects.

    'Abdu'l-Bahá has also addressed the prophecies on the coming of Christ, but the image of Christ that 'Abdu'l-Bahá has depicted in his talks and letters is multifarious. This presentation will examine the following facets: Christ as Manifestation of God, the Word of God, the Unifier, the Sun of Truth, and the Educator-Teacher.

    This paper has been published as Occasional Papers Volume 1.

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