Sen McGlinn's blog

                                  Reflections on the Bahai teachings

About Sen

About the comments on this blog
29 March 2010
I have an idea of what I want my blog to be, and it isn’t anything like a discussion forum about the state of the Bahai community. There are other places for that, such as the numerous Facebook groups. I am on the public group Bahais United in Diversity and Baha’is & Friends, as well as some private groups. I prefer chatting there to chatting through my comments section, which would put an onus on me to be there every morning responding. Not to mention the conflict between giving people their say, and controlling what’s on my blog. So I want to keep the comments on my blog just for feedback that extends or corrects what is in the postings.

You can also email me at senmcglinn[at]

Sen McGlinn – a short CV

I became a Bahai in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1974 and was part of the small Bahai community of Kaikoura, a coastal town on New Zealand’s South Island. Later I spent some time as a Bahai ‘pioneer’ on the Chatham Islands, and was part of the Bahai communities in various other towns in New Zealand, and later in the Netherlands. I have served on Local Spiritual Assemblies, as an ‘assistant,’ and on local and regional Bahai committees. I am an active member of the Tarikh and Tarjuman Bahai studies lists.

In late 2005 I was removed from the rolls of the Bahai community, following a decision of the Universal House of Justice. I have put up some of the documents on a page here, in response to speculations about the reasons for the decision. I have applied to be re-enrolled periodically, and in the meantime continue as a believing and practising unenrolled Bahai. There are some informal reflections on being unenrolled in an email in my archive called ‘who belongs.’

I am interested especially in Bahai theology (theology is what Bahais usually call ‘deepening,’ but conducted in a systematic and self-critical way) and, within that, in political theology (which Bahais call ‘the social teachings’). I wrote my MA dissertation on Church and State in Islam and the Bahai Faith, and am now working on a study of the institutions of the Bahai community, which is intended to become a PhD thesis.

In 2008, there was a Q&A session on Bahai Rants, in which I responded to questions about my dissertation Church and State, and the function of theology. I’ve edited that up as one consecutive page here. A response to one critic of the “it’s just Sen” variety is in the email archive under Church, State, experts, consensus

I am also a sculptor: some recent work is here.

I have a separate web site for Bahai news, largely translated from Persian, called Sen’s Daily.  Another site, Abdu’l-Baha Talks is a blog for translations from the authenticated records of Abdu’l-Baha’s talks, intended to replace the unauthenticated material in books such as Paris Talks and The Promulgation of Universal Peace. It would be splendid if other translators would continue the process of translating the authentic talks and publish their translations on the same site.

Some of my poetry can be found on my old web site. I have recently [2018] started a flickr account for art photography.


Permission to use

All the contents of this blog (so far as I own them) have a creative commons copyright. That means you are free to copy, distribute and remix them, but should cite the source (more details in Dutch and in English).

Creative Commons License
Sen McGlinn’s blog by Sen McGlinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Netherlands License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at, which is in fact, this page. You can contact me at senmcglinn [at] (January 2012)

Most of the small thumbnail images I use come from wikimedia commons and are free for reuse, but I have the quality set rather low so that my pages load quickly. You will find better quality images by using the search engine at wikimedia.

Selected publications

Principles for Progress: Essays on Religion and Modernity by `Abdu’l-Baha, Persian texts with translations, introduction and notes by Sen McGlinn. Leiden University Press, 2018.

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn, editors and translators, The True Dream: Indictment of the Shiite clerics of Isfahan, an English translation with facing Persian text. Routledge, 2017.

‘Resala-ye Madaniya,’ article in Encyclopaedia Iranica, electronic version ( ) 2009

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn, The Essence of Modernity: Mirza Yusof Khan Musthashar ad-Dowla Tabrizi’s Treatise on Codified Law (Yak Kaleme) (edition, translation and introduction), Amsterdam, Rozenburg Publ. 2007 (second revised edition 2008)

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn (eds), The Treasury of Tabriz: The Great Il-Khanid Compendium, Rozenburg Publishers Amsterdam and Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, 2007

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab, S. McGlinn & F. Doufikar-Aerts (eds), Gog and Magog: The Clans of Chaos in World Literature, Rozenburg Publishers Amsterdam and Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, 2007. Also available as an Open Access PDF (the open access version has different title, but is the same book).

‘Bahai meets Globalisation’ in Margit Warburg, Annika Hvithamar and Morten Warmind (eds), Baha’i and Globalisation, Aarhus University Press, 2005 ISBN 87 7934 109 8

Church and State: a postmodern political theology (book 1), dissertation, University of Leiden, the Netherlands, distributed as volume 19 of ‘Studies in the Babi and Bahai Religions’ (Kalimat Press, Los Angeles), 2005

‘A difficult case: Beyer’s categories and the Bahá’í Faith’ in Social Compass 50(2), 2003, 247-255

‘A Sermon on the Art of Governance (Resale-ye Siyasiyyah) by `Abdu’l-Baha,’ Translations of Shaykhi, Babi and Baha’i Texts, vol. 7, no. 1 (March, 2003) [The translation has since been retitled The Art of Governance, but has not yet been republished].

‘Theocratic assumptions in Baha’i literature’ in S. Fazel and J. Danesh (eds) Reason and Revelation, Studies in Babi and Baha’i Religions vol. 13, Los Angeles, Kalimat Press, 2002. Pdf version

‘A theology of the state from the Bahá’í Writings’, Journal of Church and State, Vol. 41, Autumn 1999. Online at the Bahai Library

‘Some considerations relating to the inheritance laws of the Aqdas,’ Bahá’í Studies Review, vol. 5 no. 1, 1995

‘Toward the Enlightened Society,’ in Bahai Studies Review, vol. 4 no. 1, 1994, online at the Bahai-library


‘Inner Limits’ : The Inner Limits of Mankind, by Ervin Laszlo, One World, London, 1989 and Faith and World Economy, a Joint Venture, by Giuseppe Robiati. Published by Gruppo Editoriale Insieme, Recco, Italy, 1991. Review published in Associate, Newsletter of the Association for Baha’i Studies (English-Speaking Europe), Issue 7, January 1993

Notes Postmarked the Mountain of God, by Roger White, New Leaf Publishing, Richmond, British Columbia, Review in World Order, 1992

Emergence, Dimensions of a New World Order, Charles Lerche (ed), BPT London 1991. Review, in The Baha’i Studies Review vol. 3 no. 1, 1993

‘Understanding the Gospels,’ a review of Eric Bowes The Gospels and the Christs (Australia: Bahá’í Publishing Trust Australia) in World Order, 26:4 Summer 1995

The Style of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas: Aspects of the Sublime, by Suheil B. Bushrui, Review in Bahá’í Studies Review, vol. 6, 1996.

‘A Detour on the Path to Prosperity,’ review of Giuseppe Robiati’s Faith and World Economy, a Joint Venture: Bahá’í Perspective, trans. Julio Savi (Recco, Italy: Gruppo Editoriale Insieme, 1991), World Order 29:2 Winter 1997

Juan R.I. Cole. Modernity and the Millennium: The Genesis of the Baha’i Faith in the Nineteenth Century Middle East. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. ISBN 0 231 11080 4; (paper), ISBN 0 231 110812. Reviewed for H-Bahai and available from H-Bahai Reviews.

Juan R.I. Cole. Modernity and the Millennium: The Genesis of the Baha’i Faith in the Nineteenth Century Middle East. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. Reviewed in Iranian Studies 32:4 1999 580-582

The Ocean of His Words: A reader’s guide to the art of Bahá’u’lláh by John S. Hatcher, Bahá’í Publishing Trust, Wilmette 1997, reviewed in the Bahá’í Studies Review, vol. 9, 1999.

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