1st Edition

Baha’i Faith: The Basics

By Christopher Buck Copyright 2021
    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    Bahá’í Faith: The Basics provides a thorough and accessible introduction to a fascinating, independent world religion. Examining its historical development, current “community-building” efforts and the social contributions of the Bahá’í Faith in the world today, this introduction covers:

    • Beliefs: Bahá’í spiritual teachings
    • Principles: Bahá’í social teachings
    • History: Bahá’u’lláh and his covenant.
    • Scripture: Bahá’í sacred texts and inspired guidance
    • Institutions: The Bahá’í Administrative Order
    • Building community: What Bahá’ís do
    • Social action: Bahá’í social and economic development projects
    • Public discourse: The Bahá’í International Community
    • Vision: Foundations for a future golden age

    With features including a glossary of terms, and references to the Bahá’í writings throughout, this is the ideal text for students and interested readers wanting to familiarize themselves with the Bahá’í Faith.

    1. Introduction: What is the Bahá’í Faith?

    2. Beliefs: Bahá’í Spiritual Teachings

    3. Principles: Bahá’í Social Teachings

    4. History: Bahá’u’lláh and His Covenant

    5. Scripture and Authoritative Writings: Bahá’í Sacred Texts and Inspired Guidance

    6. Institutions: The Bahá’í Administrative Order

    7. Building Community: What Bahá’ís Do

    8. Social Action: Social and Economic Development

    9. Public Discourse: The Bahá’í International Community

    10. Vision: Foundations for a Future Golden Age


    Christopher Buck is an independent scholar and former professor at Michigan State University, USA; Quincy University, USA; Millikin University, USA; and Carleton University, Canada.

    "The activities, focus, and concepts in the Baha’i world are changing so rapidly at present, especially in the area of developing new approaches to community building, that any published introductory book soon becomes out-of-date. So it is good to see another introductory book on the Baha’i Faith published, in particular since it surveys recent developments well. For anyone wishing to find out about the Baha’i Faith and the current activities of the Baha’i community, this book can be recommended. Christopher Buck presents an insider view of the Baha’i Faith, but one that is descriptive rather than prescriptive. …

    Buck presents all of this information in a clear and well-structured manner. He accompanies his own words with appropriate extracts from authoritative Baha’i texts to illustrate the points that he is making. He also draws on examples of the activities of the Baha’i community from different locations across the world. … In summary, there are a good many introductory books on the market but this one can be recommended for two reasons. First, it is well-written and as reasonably comprehensive as such brief introductory books can hope to be. Second, it is up-to-date covering many of the recent changes in the Baha’i community that older similar books do not."

    Moojan Momen, Nova Religio, Vol. 25, No. 3 (February 2022), pp. 137-138, USA.

    "This excellent, beautifully organized introduction provides an accurate and unusually rich entré into a relatively new and still somehow frequently misunderstood religion. The author, Christopher Buck, is a leading scholar of the Baha'i religion. His book is richly enhanced with quotations from official translations of the Baha'i sacred writings, insights into the formation of distinctive Baha'i institutions and rare glimpses of key moments in Baha'i intellectual history from an introduction to the influential African-American Baha'i philosopher, Alain Locke (d. 1954) known as 'the father of the Harlem Renaissance', to a discussion of the more recent development of the Ruhi Institute process. This introduction goes beyond existing textbooks in both scope and detail. It will be warmly welcomed by researchers and students of the Baha'i Faith."

     Todd Lawson, University of Toronto, Canada

    "One outstanding feature of this book for either Bahá’ís or non-Bahá’ís is its contemporary relevance. Even well-informed readers could not possibly be fully aware of the overview presented by Buck of all the multifarious activities taking place in the Bahá’í world community. … Buck’s treatment of the material is throughout well-researched, and rich in the detail that an alert reader expects. In sum, despite its unpretentious title, this book is more than the Basics of the Bahá’í Faith. It not only covers well the religion’s early history, three central holy figures, spiritual and social teachings and organization, but also it presents a complete contemporary picture of the remarkably diverse economic, social, and spiritual activities that are being planned and executed by the Bahá’í community in all countries of the world."

    Jack McLean, author of Revisioning the Sacred: New Perspectives on a Bahá’í Theology

    "This book is a trove of insights and perspectives that will inform both the reader who is unfamiliar with the Baha’i universe and the practitioner who seeks information and inspiration. What’s more, this book will be a good resource for all fundamental aspects of the Baha’i religion and in the concert of diverse religions and spiritualities today. One should not miss its unique message to humanity."

    Roland Faber Kilsby Family/John B. Cobb Jr. Professor of Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology, USA. Reading Religion

    "The most important contribution of this work to the literature on the Baha’i Faith consists of its focus on current Baha’i community life and its description of core activities which include devotional meetings, children’s classes, junior youth groups, and adult study circles, even describing the current curriculum being used for those activities. Attention is given as well to social and economic development projects and Baha’i participation in public discourse, all elements not covered in previous introductory material. In other words, this text focuses much more broadly on what Baha’is do, rather than simply what they believe. … This text serves as a good up-to-date presentation of current Baha’i beliefs and practices." 

    Susan Maneck, Journal of Religious History, Vol. 46, Iss. 2 (20 April 2022), pp. 379–381, Australia