RELIGION LIBRARY

Baha'i

Origins

One example is the forged memoirs of Count Dolgorukov, the Russian ambassador to Iran in the 1840s to 1850s. Dolgorukov was a well-known Russian figure from a prominent family and his biography can be found in many Russian sources. These authentic accounts, however, have him in various diplomatic posts in Europe at the time that the forged memoirs say that he was converting to Islam in Iran and then setting about undermining his new religion by creating the Babi and Baha'i religions.

This and other contradictions were so clearly spurious that even some Iranian scholars debunked them when they were first published in the 1940s. But despite this, they are often regularly cited by Middle Eastern writers up to the present day as though they are a reliable source for the history of the religion. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, this manufacturing of disinformation and forged material has increased greatly with programs in the media, articles, and books appearing on a frequent basis, especially in the government-run media. The result is that there is almost nothing published in the Middle East that has reliable information about the Baha'i Faith in it. A little of this sort of scholarship has also appeared in the West; some Christian missionaries have written anti-Baha'i material and ex-Baha'is have published academic work that is calculated to make the Baha'i community resemble a cult as portrayed in the anti-cult campaigns that were carried out in the Western media in the 1980s.


Study Questions:
     1.     In what way did the Russian scholars differ from the British and French scholars in their studies of this religion?
     2.     What sorts of books did the Iranian Baha’i scholars produce?
     3.     In what ways did the scholars on the Baha’i Faith that emerged in the 1970s differ from the earlier scholars?
     4.     Describe the sort of scholarship about the Baha’i Faith that is emerging from Iran and the Middle East.

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