Modernity and the Millennium


Modernity and the Millennium is the first book to chart responses in the Muslim Middle East to modernity through an examination of the evolution of the Baha'i faith--a millenarian movement led by the nineteenth-century Iranian prophet, Baha'u'llah, ("the Glory of God"). This volume illuminates the complexity and ambiguity that characterized the changing relationship of Baha'u'llah and his followers to modernity. The insights presented here illuminate not only the genesis of a new world-religion but also important facets of Middle Eastern--particularly Iranian--social and cultural shifts in the nineteenth century.

Drawing on the work of Habermas, Giddens, Touraine, and Turner, among others, Juan R. I. Cole considers some of the ways in which Middle Eastern society was affected by five developments central to modernity: the lessening entanglement of the state with religion, the move from absolutism to democracy, the rise of sovereign nation-states, the advent of nationalism, and the women's movement. He explores the Baha'i response to religious toleration, democracy, and greater rights for women and their "utopian realist" critique of nationalism, militant Jacobin secularization, industrialized warfare, genocide, oppression of the poor and working classes, and xenophobia. ************************************************************************************************ Columbia University Press * * * New York


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