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Hierarchy, authority and eschatology in early Bābī thought

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a brief examination of the nature of religious claims in the early period and a survey of the later theories of the Bāb that can be shown to have influenced the tone and direction of subsequent speculations. Doctrinally speaking, Babism is a notoriously difficult movement to define. There were important shifts in belief and practice within the space of very few years, coupled with significant differences in the doctrines promulgated by various sections of the Bābī leadership, not to mention the innumerable obscurities and vagueness of even the most reliable texts. The chapter discusses in detail the early claims of Sayyid ʿAlī Muḥammad, the Bāb himself.

Keywords: Bābī hierarchy; religious claims; Sayyid ʿAlī Muḥammad



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