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Messianic Concealment and Theophanic Disclosure

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In this paper, I start by discussing a controversy that has erupted recently over the issue of the exact point in time that Baha’u’llah became aware of his mission. The controversy revolves around the translation of a phrase in the writings of Baha’u’llah which appears to state that he does not have any ‘amr’. One side to the controversy claims that the translation of this phrase indicates that Baha’u’llah had no thought of advancing any claim as late as 1857, while the opposing party contends that this is a mistranslation of the phrase and that Baha’u’llah was fully aware of his mission from at least the time of his imprisonment in the Siyah-Chal. I intend to show in this paper that the whole controversy is an illusory one caused by the specific nature of the meaning of the word ‘amr’ and that the phrase that is the subject of dispute proves neither side’s case, however it is translated. Evolving out of my discussion of this issue, is a theological schematic of the stages of the evolution of the mission of those persons that Baha’is call Manifestations of God. I then putatively impose this schematic upon the dispensation of the Bab creating a new interpretation of his ministry.
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Keywords: Baha’u’llah; Sahifih-yi-Shattiyyih; amr; qa’imiyyat; revelation; the Bab; wahy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bedfordshire, Independent Scholar

Publication date: June 1, 2014

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