This article explores mentorship in the context of contemporary Bahá’í Studies. This context is influenced not only by gender inequality and generation a, differences but also by a perceived hierarchical order or stratification of disciplines. Historical factors, traditional secular understandings, and trend, within and outside Bahá’í scholarship account for the stratification of the disciplines that comprise Bahá’í Studies. Such an ordering involves the differences between single mentors and long periods of training versus many mentors and multiple points of entry into a profession or discipline. Gender imbalance in Bahá’í Studies has a profound impact on mentoring practices. Male scholars must become familiar with the distinctive characteristics involved in cross-gender mentorship, while female scholars must develop the art of mentoring other junior female entrants into the field. Contemporary Bahá’í Studies, moreover, highlight generational differences, characterized by the presence of both “objective” and “subjective” research approaches. The newer approach implies a recognition of a different path of mentorship, involving many mentors, not merely the replication of traditional knowledge, and an increasing awareness of the need to publish outside as well as within Bahá’í channels.
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Copyright © 1998 Will C. van den Hoonaard