published in Lights of Irfan, Volume 6, pages 1-20 Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia, 2005
Swiss psychiatrist and entomologist, Dr. August Henri Forel, was the recipient of one of the most famous and well-studied Tablets from ‘Abduíl-Bahá on the subject of the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, written in the last weeks of ‘Abduíl-Baháís life. Dr. Forel had sent a letter to ‘Abduíl-Bahá explaining his own points of view and asking if he might still be accepted as a Bahá'i. Several scholarly examinations and commentaries on ‘Abduíl-Baháís Tablet have been made, however awareness among the Bahá'is of who was August Forel is more limited.
This essay reviews chronologically some of Forelís scientific accomplishments, philosophical/religious perplexities, and social concerns which led him to embrace the Bahá'i teachings as he understood them during the last decade of his life in a world struggling and in need of a new “order.” Such a biographical approach is an attempt to help explain a period of history as seen through the life of one of its more famous participants, Dr. August Henri Forel.