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Orthodoxy and heterodoxy in nineteenth-century Shiʿism: The cases of Shaykhism and Babism

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Chapter Summary

Discussions of orthodoxy and heterodoxy often presuppose a dichotomy of major proportions. In reality, things are never so simple: relations between opposing viewpoints are characterized by dynamism rather than static confrontation. In a sense, heterodox movements may often be no more than extreme expressions of orthodox values. This chapter concentrates on the earliest stages of the historical process that can be identified in retrospect as leading from Shiʿism to Bahaʾism. The Bābī group rapidly grew in popularity and soon acquired a following outside the ranks of existing Shaykhī adherents. Although eccentric, the Bāb's early teachings called less for a break with established norms than for the intensification of Islamic practice.

Keywords: Babism; nineteenth-century; Shaykhism; Shiʿism



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