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1888 29 Mar The first lecture in the West on the Bahá'í Faith (`Bábism') was given by E. G. Browne at the Essay Society, Newcastle, England. [SCU12] Newcastle; United Kingdom Edward Granville Browne; Firsts, Other
1926 25 Jan The passing of Professor Edward Granville Browne, (b. on the family estate in Gloucestershire, 7 February, 1862. d. near Cambridge). He is buried at Elswick Cemetery in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. Find a grave.

Browne was a British orientalist who published numerous articles and books of academic value in the areas of Persian history and literature. He had a number of private interviews with Bahá’u’lláh at Bahjí in 1890. He was the only Westerner to have met Bahá’u’lláh and to have left a description of the experience (see Scholar Meets Prophet: Edward Granville Browne and Bahá'u'lláh).
In 1912-13, while `Abdu'l-Bahá was in Europe, Browne visited him in London and Paris. These visits were supplemented by some correspondence between the two. Other Bahá'ís, including Montford Mills, also visited and corresponded with Browne from time to time. When `Abdu'l-Bahá passed away in 1921, Browne penned a sympathetic obituary. He also wrote a pen-portrait of Àbdu'l-Bahá. [Bahá'í Tributes]

  • Charles Melville, Professor of Persian History at Pembroke College in Cambridge headed the Browne Archive Project to digitize Browne's diaries and notes.
  • See Encounter with Bahá'u'lláh, a short video about Browne's life and his famous interview.
  • See MCS529-545 for a discussion of Browne's lack of objectivity and his partisanship as a researcher that lead to his committing some serious errors in his work on the Bábí-Bahá'í Faith.
  • He himself a professor of Arabic, found the Báb's style of writing very difficult and said of his works: "...some are so confused, so full of repetitions, extraordinary works and fantastic derivatives of Arabic roots, that they defy the most industrious and indefatigable reader." [SBBH5p227]

    Browne's Publications

    • Religious Systems of the World: A Contribution to the Study of Comparative Religion (1889)
    • A Traveller's Narrative Written to Illustrate the Episode of the Báb (1891) A history by`Abdu'l-Bahá which Browne translated and extensively annotated.
    • Tarikh-i-Jadid or New History of Mirza`Ali Muhammad the Báb (1893) by Mirza Husayn Hamadani translated by E.G.Browne.
      • Hájjí Mírzá Jani Kashani wrote a substantial history of the Bábi Faith sometime between 1850-1852. (He was martyred in 1852.) These memoirs as they were copied and re-copied and spawned a great many versions which differed particularly in their portrayal of Subh-i-Azál and Bahá'u'lláh, depending on the editor’s loyalty.
      • In about 1880 Mírzá Husayn Hamadani with the support of Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl took some version of Mírzá Jani's 1851 account and worked it up into a new history, The Tárikh-i-Jadíd. He did this at the request of a Zoroastrian, Manakji, who then added a preface, an epilogue, and an unknown number of amendments to the text and then published it under his own name.
      • Nabil-i-Akbar, in response to a commission by Bahá'u'lláh, made a revision of this work somewhere between 1880-1883 which is known as The Táríkh-i Badí‘-i Bayání.
      • Browne used two these two manuscripts, The Tárikh-i-Jadíd and The Táríkh-i Badí‘-i Bayání to write the single volume The New History (tarikh-i-jadid) of Mírzá Ali-Muhammed, the Báb. In referring to Mírzá Jani's history throughout the footnotes, he was not aware of the problems of discerning what represents the original memoirs and what others have added.
    • A Year Among the Persians (1893) Vividly describes his adventures, including his encounters with the Bahá'ís and Azalís during his time in Persian from October 1887 to September 1888.
    • A chapter from the history of Cannabis Indica (1897)
    • A Literary History of Persia From Firdawsí to Sa'dí (in four volumes) (1902-24)
    • The Persian Revolution of 1905–1909 (1910) About the Persian Constitutional Revolution, of which Browne was an ardent supporter.
    • He published, in Persian, the text of The Kitab-i-Nuqtatu'l-Kaf, being the earliest History of the Bábís compiled by Hájji Mírzá Jání of Kásgán between the years 1850 and 1852, edited from the unique Ms. Suppl. Persan 1071. (1910) This was a work that he had done at an earlier date. It was published at the instigation of Mirza Muhammad Qazvini, a well-known Iranian literary critic and Azalí sympathizer, who wrote the Persian Introduction to this volume. After the publication of this work, `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote to a number of Iranian Bahá'ís, urging them to compile material to refute its contents. One such work was Dashf al-Ghitá by Mírzá Abul-Fazl Gulpáyigání. [RR232] [See The History and Provenance of an Early Manuscript of the Nuqtat al-kaf dated 1268 (1851-52) by William F. McCants and Kavian Sadeghzade Milani and Nuqtat al-Káf by Kavian Sadeghzade Milani as well as Nuqtat al-Kaf and the Babi Chronicle Traditions by Juan Cole; The Bab's Stay in Kashan: A Historiographical Analysis of the Kitab-i-Nuqtatu'l-Kaf Based on the Kashan Pericope by Kavian Milani; MCS517; 541]
    • It is reported that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was "deeply annoyed" with Browne over the publication and dissemination of the Kitáb-i Nuqtatu'l-Káf as reported by Áqáy-i-Taqízádih in ´Ábdu'l-Baha's Meetings with Two Prominent Iranians introduced and translated by Ahang Rabbani. [World Order Vol 30 No 1 Fall 1998 p46]
    • 'Abdu'l-Bahá is reported to have said, "They tampered with the contents of the history of Hájí Mírzá Jání by removing some of its passages and inserting others. They sent it to the libraries of London and Paris and through such falsehood induced him [Browne] to translate and publish the document. In order to achieve his own selfish desires, he had it printed." [MD24]
    • Also from 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "I wrote to him, saying, `You are the first European teacher and author to have attained His Blessed Presence. Do not lose this distinction.' He did not understand me and his loss will be known when the lights of guidance shine in England with supreme brilliancy." [MD278]
    • From GPB81, Browne's testimony, “One of those strange outbursts,”...“of enthusiasm, faith, fervent devotion and indomitable heroism … the birth of a Faith which may not impossibly win a place amidst the great religions of the world.” And again: “The spirit which pervades the Bábís is such that it can hardly fail to affect most powerfully all subjected to its influence.… Let those who have not seen disbelieve me if they will, but, should that spirit once reveal itself to them, they will experience an emotion which they are not likely to forget.”
    • The Persian Constitutional Movement (1918) [MCS544]
    • Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion (1918) The book represented no great amount of original work on Browne's part since it was mainly documents that he had collected.
    • Arabian Medicine (1921) [Browne, Edward Granville by Moojan Momen] iiiii
    • For scholarly works on the life of Browne see Selections From The Writings of E.G. Browne - On The Babi And Baha'i Religions by Moojan Momen and Edward Granville Browne and the Baha'i Faith by Hasan Balyuzi. Both have been published by George Ronald.
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Cambridge Edward Granville Browne; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; Montfort Mills; Hajji Mirza Jani Kashani; Mirza Yahya (Subh-i-Azal); Mirza Husayn Hamadani; Mirza Abul-Fadl Gulpaygani; Manakji; Nabil-i-Akbar; Abdu'l-Baha, Life of
     
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