and the New Era:
With the publication of "Baha'u'llah and the New Era" more than ten years ago, the Bahá'í Faith was given its first well- conceived, thorough exposition by a student of the teachings. Recognizing its value as the most satisfactory introduction to the Cause, Bahá'ís in both East and West have found Dr. Esslemont's book so helpful that it has been translated into some thirty different languages.
As Dr. Esslemont himself recognized, the Faith entered a new phase of its history after the ascension of Abdu'l-Baha. The result is that the author's views, some of them written prior to 1921, no longer, on certain aspects of the subject, correspond to the evolutionary character of the Faith. His treatment of events and social conditions then existing, moreover, no longer appears fully relevant. Unavoidably, a few errors of fact had entered his text, while his explanation of the stations of the Bab and of Abdu'l-Baha have been replaced in the minds of Bahá'ís by the authoritative interpretations since made by the first Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi.
The present edition therefore represents a revision made by the American National Spiritual Assembly, acting under the advice and approval of Shoghi Effendi.
revisions in no respect alter the original plan of Dr. Esselmont's book, nor affect
the major portion of his text. Their purpose has been to amplify the author's
discussion in a few passages by the addition of material representing the fuller
knowledge available since his lamented death, and newer translations of his quotations
from Bahá'í Sacred Writings.
With this edition the American Bahá'í Publishing Committee takes over copyright and other interests in "Baha'u'llah and the New Era" from Messrs. George Allen Unwin Ltd., of London, England, through whom the late Dr. J. E. Esslemont published his famous book more than twenty years ago. Under arrangement with the British publishers, the Committee has since 1928 brought out eleven printings, in addition to the first American edition imported by Brentano's of New York.
This edition does not displace the text as it has appeared since major revision was made in the book under the direction of the Guardian of the Faith in 1937, as the time has not come for anything like a thorough recasting of the book to make its references to world conditions completely contemporaneous. Dr. Esslemont's work endures as a trustworthy introduction to the history and teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. Its translation into some thirty different languages attests its appeal to students in the East as well as the West.
should be added that any further revision of the text in the future is subject
to approval by Shoghi Effendi. The Committee has no authority to pass upon revisions
which may be desired by Bahá'ís of other countries for their particular need.
Since 1937 no revision has been made to the text of Dr. Esslemont's book, although in 1950 some minor corrections were introduced. On the other hand, the diffusion and development of the Bahá'í Faith since that time have been tremendous, and there has been added to Bahá'í bibliography a rich legacy of incomparable expositions, translations and historical accounts from the pen of Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Faith and the appointed interpreter of its Sacred Writings.
It has therefore been deemed necessary to bring the book up to date in order to maintain its usefulness for modern readers. This has been done with a minimum of alteration to the text, and chiefly by the use of footnotes and of an epilogue giving the current statistics and new developments in the organic unfoldment of the Bahá'í Faith.
book continues to be one of the most widely used introductory books on the Bahá'í
Faith, as evidenced by the fact that since 1937 the number of its translations
has increased from thirty to fifty-eight.