In 1844 a charismatic young Persian merchant from Shiraz known as the Báb electrified the Shí‘ih world by claiming to be the return of the Hidden Twelfth Imam of Islamic prophecy. But contrary to traditional expectations of apocalyptic holy war, the Báb maintained that the spiritual path was one of “love and compassion,” not “force and coercion.” The movement He founded was the precursor of the Bahá’í Faith, but until now the Báb’s own voluminous writings—complex, mystical, and highly symbolic—have been seldom studied and often misunderstood. This book offers the first in-depth introduction to the writings of the Báb.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the author examines the Báb’s major works in multifaceted context, explaining the unique theological system, mystical worldview, and interpretive principles they embody as well as the rhetorical and symbolic uses of language through which the Báb radically transforms traditional concepts. Arguing that the Bábí movement went far beyond an attempt at an Islamic Reformation, the author explores controversial issues and offers conclusions that will compel a reevaluation of some prevalent assumptions concerning the Báb’s station, claims, and laws.
Nader Saiedi’s meticulous and insightful analysis identifies the key themes, terms, and concepts that characterize each stage of the Báb’s writings, unlocking the code of the Báb’s mystical lexicon. Gate of the Heart is a subtle and profound textual study and an essential resource for anyone wishing to understand the theological foundations of the Bahá’í religion as well as the Báb’s significance in religious history.
Approximately 430 pages. Prices in Canadian $.
“A pioneering and groundbreaking work…. provides fundamental keys for understanding some of the distinctive features of the writings of the Báb.”
— Vahid Rafati, Centre for the Study of the Text, Haifa, Israel
“A masterpiece…. For the first time in English a scholar who is well versed in Persian, Arabic, social science—especially sociology (including the sociology of religion and sociology of knowledge)—and with a great knowledge of the Bahá’í Holy Scriptures, has produced a scholarly introduction to the writings of the Báb, His station, and Bábí law.”
— Nosratollah Mohammadhosseini, author, The Báb