The Import of Shoghi Effendi's Writings for Bahá'i Studies

By Jack A. McLean

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #54
Institute of Commonwealth Studies: London, England
July 2–4, 2004
(see list of papers from #54)

    This paper assesses the importance of Shoghi Effendi Studies for the developing field of Bahá'í Studies. It argues that the English-language writings of Shoghi Effendi Rabbani (1897-1957). the former head and Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith (1922-1957). have suffered a benign neglect that needs to be remedied by the present generation of Bahá'í scholars. While referring to the Guardian's core writings, this paper points to potential areas of scholarly exploration. More specifically, the areas to be highlighted are as follows: (1) Bahá'í theology (The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh) (1934). (2) The Guardian's view of providential history (God Passes By (1944), The Promised Day Is Come (1941). (3) Rhetoric and interpretation (letters and all writings). (4) Literary and dramatic elements (translation of Nabíl's Narrative and core writings). (5) His view of Bahá'í ethics and spirituality (letters and The Advent of Divine Justice (1939). This assessment will be made based on an in-depth theological and literary critical analysis just completed of the Guardian's writings called "A Celestial Burning: The Writings of Shoghi Effendi" (450 pages).

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