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A “symbolic profile” of Bahá’í consciousness as shaped by the writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ancillary texts: Ninian Smart’s dimensional model of religion is used to order and classify the symbols, together with insights from Sherry Ortner & John Wansbrough.
Chapter from the author's book Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Baha’i Faith. See SUNY Press flyer.

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A Symbolic Profile of the Bahá'í Faith

by Christopher Buck

published in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 8:4, pages 1-48
Ottawa: Association for Bahá'í Studies, 1998
About: Advanced study of the Bahá’í Faith must still deal with basics. While considerable progress has been made in historical research on Bábí and Bahá’í origins, much foundational work in Bahá’í Studies remains to be done at the level of text. Based on primary sources, this study will present a “symbolic profile” of Bahá’í consciousness, to the extent that it is shaped by the writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ancillary texts. To order and classify the symbols, this profile will employ Ninian Smart’s dimensional model of religion, using the present writer’s acronym, DREEMS (Doctrinal, Ritual, Ethical, Experiential, Mythic, Social). Sherry Ortner’s key symbols paradigm, consisting of thought-orientating “root metaphors” and action-inciting “key scenarios,” completes the profile, while John Wansbrough provides insight into the formation of a new religious ethos through a process of symbolic transformation. This study will highlight some of the predominant Bahá’í symbols, to which others will surely be added.
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