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Sen McGlinn


Born 1956, Christchurch, Aotearoa / New Zealand.

He joined the Bahá´í Faith in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1974 and was part of the small Bahai community of Kaikoura, a coastal town on New Zealand’s South Island. He lived on the Chatham Islands (600 km east of New Zealand) as a pioneer in 1974-5, and was part of the Bahai communities in various other towns in New Zealand, and later in the Netherlands. His second collection of poetry Feeding Harbour features poems written during this period.
    1984-88: Completed an English Honours degree and almost completed a degree in theology.
    1989: moved to Maastricht, The Netherlands.
    2005: Completed a Masters in Islamic Studies at Leiden University.
Sen has served on Local Spiritual Assemblies, as an ‘assistant,’ and on local and regional Bahai committees, and is currently a moderator for the H-Bahai discussion list, and can usually be found on the Talisman9 discussion list (

In late 2005 he was removed from the rolls of the Bahai community, following a decision of the Universal House of Justice. (See: About disenrollment)

Sen and Sonja van Kerkhoff have lived in Leiden, The Netherlands since 1999 with their two sons.

Current interests and activities include editing the Leiden list of Bahá'u'lláh's tablets, and preparing a theology of community relationships (church and state, House of Worship & House of Justice, the Guardianship and the House of Justice, the institutional role of academic expertise in society and the Bahá'í community, the individual and the collective).

"I am interested especially in Bahai theology (theology is what Bahais usually call ‘deepening,’ but conducted in a systematic and self-critical way) and, within that, in political theology (which Bahais call ‘the social teachings’). I wrote my MA dissertation on Church and State in Islam and the Bahai Faith, and am now working on a study of the institutions of the Bahai community, which is intended to become a PhD thesis. In 2008, there was a Q&A session on Bahai Rants, in which I responded to questions about my dissertation Church and State, and the function of theology. I’ve edited that up as one consecutive page here"


Sen McGlinn author page on the Bahá´í Library website

Sen McGlinn's Bahá´í related publications

Sen McGlinn's Blog This website has been online since 2008 with many articles related to Bahá´í scholarship and research and questions in relation to the Bahá´í teachings.

Sen's Daily This website has ephemeral articles and news in relation to the Bahá´í community.

The Leiden list of Baha’u'llah’s Tablets Tablets are arranged alphabetically by Persian or Arabic names, except that there are sections of unnamed tablets and of prayers at the end, organised alphabetically by topic in English.

Sen McGlinn's page on the Bahá´í Association for the Arts website Sen was a member of the BAFA board, 1989-1996.

Sen McGlinn's poetry, art, and writing

There are some Bahá´í related articles here as well.

Selected publications   More is here + List of articles online

‘Resala-ye Madaniya,’ article in Encyclopaedia Iranica, electronic version ( ) 2009

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn, The Essence of Modernity: Mirza Yusof Khan Musthashar ad-Dowla Tabrizi’s Treatise on Codified Law (Yak Kaleme) (edition, translation and introduction), Amsterdam, Rozenburg Publ. 2007 (second revised edition 2008)

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn (eds), The Treasury of Tabriz: The Great Il-Khanid Compendium, Rozenburg Publishers Amsterdam and Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, 2007

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab, S. McGlinn & F. Doufikar-Aerts (eds), Gog and Magog: The Clans of Chaos in World Literature, Rozenburg Publishers Amsterdam and Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, 2007

‘Bahai meets Globalisation’ in Margit Warburg, Annika Hvithamar and Morten Warmind (eds), Baha’i and Globalisation, Aarhus University Press, 2005 ISBN 87 7934 109 8

Church and State: a postmodern political theology (book 1), dissertation, University of Leiden, the Netherlands, distributed as volume 19 of ‘Studies in the Babi and Bahai Religions’ (Kalimat Press, Los Angeles), 2005

‘A difficult case: Beyer’s categories and the Bahá’í Faith’ in Social Compass 50(2), 2003, 247-255

‘A Sermon on the Art of Governance (Resale-ye Siyasiyyah) by `Abdu’l-Baha,’ Translations of Shaykhi, Babi and Baha’i Texts, vol. 7, no. 1 (March, 2003).

‘Theocratic assumptions in Baha’i literature’ in S. Fazel and J. Danesh (eds) Reason and Revelation, Studies in Babi and Baha’i Religions vol. 13, Los Angeles, Kalimat Press, 2002.

‘A theology of the state from the Bahá’í Writings’, Journal of Church and State, Vol. 41, Autumn 1999. Online at the Bahai Library

‘Some considerations relating to the inheritance laws of the Aqdas,’ Bahá’í Studies Review, vol. 5 no. 1, 1995

‘Toward the Enlightened Society,’ in Bahai Studies Review, vol. 4 no. 1, 1994, online at the Bahai-library


‘Inner Limits’ : The Inner Limits of Mankind, by Ervin Laszlo, One World, London, 1989 and Faith and World Economy, a Joint Venture, by Giuseppe Robiati. Published by Gruppo Editoriale Insieme, Recco, Italy, 1991. Review published in Associate, Newsletter of the Association for Baha’i Studies (English-Speaking Europe), Issue 7, January 1993

Notes Postmarked the Mountain of God, by Roger White, New Leaf Publishing, Richmond, British Columbia, Review in World Order, 1992

Emergence, Dimensions of a New World Order, Charles Lerche (ed), BPT London 1991. Review, in The Baha’i Studies Review vol. 3 no. 1, 1993

‘Understanding the Gospels,’ a review of Eric Bowes The Gospels and the Christs (Australia: Bahá’í Publishing Trust Australia) in World Order, 26:4 Summer 1995

The Style of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas: Aspects of the Sublime, by Suheil B. Bushrui, Review in Bahá’í Studies Review, vol. 6, 1996.

‘A Detour on the Path to Prosperity,’ review of Giuseppe Robiati’s Faith and World Economy, a Joint Venture: Bahá’í Perspective, trans. Julio Savi (Recco, Italy: Gruppo Editoriale Insieme, 1991), World Order 29:2 Winter 1997

Juan R.I. Cole. Modernity and the Millennium: The Genesis of the Baha’i Faith in the Nineteenth Century Middle East. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. ISBN 0 231 11080 4; (paper), ISBN 0 231 110812. Reviewed for H-Bahai and available from H-Bahai Reviews.

Juan R.I. Cole. Modernity and the Millennium: The Genesis of the Baha’i Faith in the Nineteenth Century Middle East. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. Reviewed in Iranian Studies 32:4 1999 580-582

The Ocean of His Words: A reader’s guide to the art of Bahá’u’lláh by John S. Hatcher, Bahá’í Publishing Trust, Wilmette 1997, reviewed in the Bahá’í Studies Review, vol. 9, 1999.

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