The Religious State

How to Cite

Waite, G. “The Religious State: A Comparative Study of Sixteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Opposition: The Case of the Anabaptists and the Bábís”. The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, Mar. 1995, pp. 69-90, doi:10.31581/jbs-7.1.241(1995).


This article provides a tentative comparative study between the nature and persecution of Anabaptists in sixteenth-century Europe and the nature of opposition to the early Bábí movement in nineteenth-century Iran. In spite of the major differences in historical context, the study shows that charismatic religious reform movements even from such distinctly different historical periods and geographical regions could undergo similar developments, evoke similar responses from rulers and orthodox religious leaders, attract a devoted following willing alternately to fight to the death or suffer martyrdom, and construct an apocalyptical ideology. The article is divided into three part: First, it presents a brief overview of the nature of and opposition to the Dutch and North German Anabaptist movement of the sixteenth century. Second, it provides a similar survey for the nineteenth-century Bábís. Third, it tenders several conclusions regarding important parallels noted between these movements.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you wish to adapt, remix, transform, or build upon this work in any way, you may not distribute your work without first contacting the Editor for permission.

Copyright © 1995 Gary K. Waite