As the Bahá’í Faith emerges from obscurity, Bahá’í scholars will have an important role in three fields: the presentation of Bahá’í Faith to the world; the defense of the Bahá’í Faith from attacks; and the intellectual growth and development of the Bahá’í community. This paper discusses the question of the place of scholarship in the Bahá’í community. The value of Bahá’í studies to the Bahá’í community is analyzed. The problems that may arise for Bahá’í scholars in relation to their own spiritual life and also in relation to the Bahá’í community are discussed. Some suggestions are then made with regard to the question of what academic approaches are most likely to be fruitful in the study of the Bahá’í Faith. Finally, consideration is given to the mutual obligations of the Bahá’í scholar and the Bahá’í community (in particular, the Bahá’í administrative institutions). Every Bahá’í who surveys the vast range of doctrines and concepts enshrined in the holy writings of the Bahá’í Faith or whose imagination is captured by the intensity of its brief history must, to some extent, be inspired to make a more thorough study of some aspect that interests him or her. To some is given the good fortune to have both the opportunity and inclination to put this study on a more formal basis. Whether this be at an institute of learning or through private study and research, there are many areas of the teachings and history of the Bahá’í Faith that invite painstaking research and thoughtful analysis. Such study is of great benefit to the Bahá’í community as a whole, quite apart from the immense satisfaction that it can bring to the individual student. There are also dangers in such study, particularly for the individual concerned, and often the extent of this danger is not appreciated by someone just setting out on such a course of study.
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Copyright © 1988 Moojan Momen