`Abdu'l-Bahá and Professor T. K. Cheyne

By Sholeh Quinn

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #81
Bosch Bahá'í School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 29 – June 1, 2008
(see list of papers from #81)

    Some time after October 23, 1913, `Abdu'l-Bahá sent a Tablet to a certain Professor T. K. Cheyne (1841-1915) in Oxford, England. The early American Bahá'í magazine Star of the West published the complete Tablet in its Persian section and included a partial translation in its English section.

    In this letter, `Abdu'l-Bahá acknowledges having received the professor's letter, describing its contents as "eloquent," as a "sign" of his "literary fairness" and of his "investigation of reality." This was neither the first nor the last exchange of letters between the Master and the Professor, however. As this study will show, `Abdu'l-Bahá and Cheyne corresponded several times.

    The purpose of this paper is to place this correspondence in historical context, taking into account Cheyne's relationship with Bahá'ís before `Abdu'l-Bahá visited Oxford, England, on December 31, 1912, and historical narratives that detail `Abdu'l-Bahá's day in Oxford with Professor Cheyne.

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