Historical and textual study of the one of the major writings of Bahá'u'lláh, and new theories as to its provenance and purpose; it may have been revealed for E. G. Browne. Includes Persian translation (following the English section).
This article is posted here with author's permission; also posted by author at academia.edu.
Abstract: This article is a historical and textual study of the one of the major writings of Bahá'u'lláh: the Lawh-i Bishárát (Tablet of Glad-Tidings), revealed circa 1891, and advances new theories as to its provenance and purpose. The Tablet of Glad-Tidings is a selective compendium of Bahaullah's laws and principles, sequentially presented in a series of 15 Glad-Tidings. As the Arabic term Bisharat suggests, these Glad-Tidings were a public announcement of some of the essential teachings of the new Bahá'í religion. The Glad-Tidings is the most extensive of several tablets by Bahá'u'lláh that present key teachings in a numbered structure. The Glad-Tidings may, in part, be regarded as serially articulated world reforms intermixed with religious reforms emanating from Bahá'u'lláh in his professed role as World Reformer. The Glad-Tidings also functioned analogously (albeit anachronistically) to a press release, serving not only as a public proclamation but to rectify the inaccuracies and gross misrepresentations that had previously circulated in print. Intended for widespread translation and publication, the Glad-Tidings was sent to scholars notably Russian orientalist, Baron Viktor Rosen (1849-1908) and Cambridge orientalist, Edward Granville Browne (1862-1926) and possibly pre-revolutionary Russian statesmen as well. As a Proclamatory Aqdas, the Tablet of Glad-Tidings was part of a much broader proclamation by Bahaullah, who proclaimed his mission to the political and religious leaders of the world. This study will argue that Bahá'u'lláh may have revealed the Tablet of Glad-Tidings for E. G. Browne or rather through him, since Bahá'u'lláh evidently intended that Browne should translate and publish the Bisharat in order to make the nature of the Bahá'í teachings more widely known. This would then correct the distortions that had previously been published regarding Bahá'u'lláh's purpose and the nature of the religion that he founded, thereby promoting a public awareness that a new world religion was on the horizon of modernity.