A Symbolic Profile of the Bahá’í Faith

How to Cite

Buck, C. “A Symbolic Profile of the Bahá’í Faith”. The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 8, no. 4, Dec. 1998, pp. 1-48, doi:10.31581/jbs-8.4.1(1998).


Advanced study of the Bahá’í Faith must still deal with basics. While considerable progress has been made in historical research on Bábí and Bahá’í origins, much foundational work in Bahá’í Studies remains to be done at the level of text. Based on primary sources, this study will present a “symbolic profile” of Bahá’í consciousness, to the extent that it is shaped by the writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ancillary texts. To order and classify the symbols, this profile will employ Ninian Smart’s dimensional model of religion, using the present writer’s acronym, DREEMS (Doctrinal, Ritual, Ethical, Experiential, Mythic, Social). Sherry Ortner’s key symbols paradigm, consisting of thought-orientating “root metaphors” and action-inciting “key scenarios,” completes the profile, while John Wansbrough provides insight into the formation of a new religious ethos through a process of symbolic transformation. This study will highlight some of the predominant Bahá’í symbols, to which others will surely be added.

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Copyright © 1998 Christopher Buck