This paper defines scholarship as disciplined intellectual activity undertaken to help determine the truth of some matter or else to apply in a practical way some previously determined truth. More specifically, Bahá’í scholarship seeks to understand and/or apply truths contained in the writings of the Bahá’í Faith; it may also involve historical/critical studies of the Bahá’í Faith as a social phenomenon. With regard to the first type of Bahá’í scholarship, we examine certain passages in the Bahá’í writings which comment on these writings themselves and which describe the kinds of truths they contain. In particular, it is seen that the Bahá’í writings contain important propositional truths and not just moral injunctions (so-called normative propositions). The relationship between scholarship and other human enterprises is also discussed. The Bahá’í conception of scholarship is seen to be unusually broad in scope and to provide thereby the basis for a much greater harmony between scholarship and the various other activities carried on within the Bahá’í community.
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Copyright © 1988 William Hatcher