The Babi and Baha'i Religions: An Annotated Bibliography

by Denis MacEoin

This project is part of Greenwood Press's ongoing series of Bibliographies and Indexes in Religious Studies. It was initiated about ten years ago, at which point I rather foolishly believed it would end up with references to all publications on the subject in all major languages. It is still very comprehensive, but not as comprehensive as that. The main languages represented are: English, Arabic, Persian, French, German, Italian, and Russian, with occasional listings for a range of other languages. By and large, items are only listed where they are original to a particular language, which means that not every single translation of a sacred text or standard introduction like *Baha'u'llah and the New Era* will appear. The aim (which I do not believe has been achieved) has been to supply lists of all original publications in the main languages. One of my first objectives in posting the text to Jonah Winters's web-site is to elicit corrections and additions from academics and others throughout the world.

The listings as they appear here are in a rough form. Most of them started life as entries in a bibliographic database called EndNote, after which they were transformed into text in Word files. Not everything has survived the transition very well, and a great deal of editing needs to be done before a camera-ready copy can be produced. Before that, however, I still need to add more entries. Once that is done and I have had a chance to incorporate any additions or corrections from on-line readers, the finished work can go to press. A major worry at this stage, however, is that it may now be far too large for the original series.

The bibliography is divided into 55 thematic headings. This is, I believe, an important improvement in the system used for Baha'i-produced bibliographies, which classify books and articles under 'Baha'u'llah', 'Bab', 'Abdu'l-Baha', 'Shoghi Efendi', 'UHJ' and everything else. My system is far from perfect, but it should enable students and scholars to do proper searches for titles under a given heading. A cross-reference system is envisaged (you'll see annotations for it using the abbreviation c/r), which should take care of some of the ambiguities arising from having to put titles arbitrarily within one or another heading. Some areas are particularly difficult to categorize: history is one of the worst, leading to the awkward division of 'Babi History', 'Baha'i History', and plain 'History'. This last includes books that cover both Babi and Baha'i history, as is not uncommon in Baha'i publications.

I have not been able to do what I had originally proposed to do, namely have comprehensive entries for articles. In theory, I suppose that would mean including every single article ever published in a Baha'i magazine, and if you look at the listings under periodicals, you will, I think, agree that life is too short. Nevertheless, I think it unhelpful not to include some material of this kind, and have done so. Needless to say, there will be plenty more that should go in, and I'd be grateful if anyone has the time and inclination to put together a decent list, particularly from series I have no easy access to, such as Ahang-i badi' and other Persian-language journals. Since I have to be selective, I'd appreciate a concentration on weightier material. And perhaps individual scholars will let me know of titles of theirs I have omitted. I'm not even sure I have all of my own in!

The annotations are not yet all in place. Naturally, I am limited by the restrictions of what I have read myself. But insightful remarks on other items could well be incorporated, so if anyone feels like passing these on, I'd be grateful. Remember that the target audience for this book is non-Baha'i academics. I've tailored my own remarks to how I think the average non-Baha'i would see a book (thus, hagiography tends to get slated, but serious attempts to break through traditional barriers are praised), and I think that should remain the pattern.

The section on anti-Baha'i polemic is very large, and I hope it may form the basis for some useful studies on this important topic. It is somewhat weighted towards Arabic material (particularly newspaper articles). This is a result of the exceptional help I have received in this matter from the library at the Baha'i World Centre, whose own holdings seem to have an Arabic-language bias. I would appreciate more listings for Persian, not so much for books as for newspaper and magazine articles. The same is true of older material in both Arabic and Persian (for example, 1950s Morocco), and generally for Turkey and Pakistan (and possibly Indonesia).

My debt to William Collins's superb English-language bibliography is obvious, and I hope he doesn't mind my having swiped so much directly from his pages.

I believe this is a project that deserves to see the light of day, but I can't finish it without help of various kinds. It should really have been a collaborative project from the beginning: even my familiarity with all the main languages represented does not absolve me from the sin of trying to take on too much. But perhaps this is as good a stage at which to bring in ideas from outside as any. Please identify yourself so I can acknowledge your contributions in the final publication. You can write to me directly at:

Denis MacEoin

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