Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Baha'i Faith

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SUNY Press, 1999 - Religion - 402 pages
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In a novel approach that the author terms symbolic paradigm analysis, Paradise and Paradigm offers a theoretically modular systematic comparison of two Persian religions: early Syriac Christianity as the foundation of the East Syrian Church of the East (the Nestorian Church of Persia) and the Baha'i Faith, a new world religion. The author compares the hymns of the greatest poet of early Christianity, Saint Ephrem the Syrian, and the richly imagistic writings of the founder of the Baha'i religion, Baha'u'llah. The book employs an original analytic technique in the creation of symbolic profiles constructed on Ninian Smart s dimensional model of religion. As Buck skillfully demonstrates, formal similarities between any two religions are best comprehended in terms of paradigmatic differences, which nuance all parallels through a process of symbolic transformation. Buck also shows the communal reflexivity of paradise imagery in representing the ideal faith-community in both traditions."
 

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Contents

Comparing Paradises
1
A Historical Profile of Syriac Christianity
37
A Symbolic Profile of Syriac Christianity
85
A Historical Profile of the BahaI Faith
135
A Symbolic Profile of the BahaI Faith
181
Paradise Similarities and Paradigm Differences
227
Paradise and Paradigm
259
Conclusions
313
I Abbreviations
331
II Syriac Transliteration Scheme
339
III ArabicPersian Transliteration Scheme
341
IV Fragments of a Lost Persian Christian Liturgy
345
Works Cited
351
Index
381
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About the author (1999)

Christopher Buck is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Millikin University. He is the author of Symbol and Secret: Qur'an Commentary in Baha'u'llah's Kitab-i Iqan, the 1996 Baha'i Book of the Year. Buck is also a two-time recipient of the Award for Excellence in Baha'i Studies, presented by the Association for Baha'i Studies.

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