Overview of contemporary issues in Baha'i scholarship from an outsider's perspective, including definition of "New Religious Movement," links to Islam, and the succession of authority in light of the truncated guardianship and the lack of schisms.
Posted with permission of author.
Making the Invisible Visible:
Introductory Books on the Bahá'í Faith
published in Religion (iFirst), 42:3, pages 1-18 2012-08
Title of review: Making the Invisible Visible Author of review: Denis MacEoin Published in:Religion (iFirst), August 2012 Review of: Moojan Momen, The Bahá'í Faith (Oneworld, 2008) Review of: Peter Smith, The Bahá'í Faith (Oneworld, 1996) Review of: Peter Smith, Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith (Oneworld, 2008) Review of: Peter Smith, Introduction to the Bahá'í Faith (Cambridge, 2008) Review of: Margit Warburg, Bahá'í (Studies in Contemporary Religion, 2001)
Abstract: The present review examines five books, one by a non-Bahá'í, three by a Bahá'í academic, and one by a Bahá'í non-academic. The non-Bahá'í volume, which is very short, is by a Danish sociologist of religion, Margit Warburg. It forms a solid explanatory text informed by a lengthy experience of the Bahá'ís both in Denmark and abroad. This review discusses, inter alia, three volumes by a Bahá'í sociologist, Peter Smith. While the three titles are very different books, taken together they form an intelligent presentation of the religion from the perspective of a thoughtful insider. Finally, the article looks at a completely different sort of book, an intelligent portrayal of Bahá'ísm from its spiritual and moral perspectives by Moojan Momen. This last brings readers closest to typical fare for believers and new converts.