Coming in 2012: The Book of the Point of Kaf (kitab nuqtat'ul-kaf) of Hajj Mirza Jani Kashani translated by N. Wahid Azal

From Primordial Traditions publishers Ltd. in 2012, Trans. with Intro. by N. Wahid Azal

Hajji Mirza Jani Kashani's BOOK OF THE POINT OF KAF (kitab nuqtat'ul-kaf)

Book Description :
Since E.G. Browne’s edition and publication of the Persian text of Hájjí Mírzá Jání Káshání’s (d. 1852) Kitáb Nuqṭat’ul-Káf in 1910 from two manuscripts in the Bibliothèque nationale of Paris, this historical narrative of early Bábism has generated endless controversy amongst religious sectarians and academic historians alike. Because it contradicted their own narratives in several significant places, the Bahá’í patriarch ‘Abbás Effendí ‘Abdu’l- Bahá’ (d. 1921) angrily asserted it to be an “Azali forgey” when on closer examination many of its idiosyncrasies even contradict the official doctrinal positions of the Bayánís (Azalí Bábís) themselves. The investigation of two earlier manuscripts at Princeton University during the last decade, and ones whose origins are located in a timeline closer to the author’s own death in 1852, finally vindicated Browne’s views regarding this text – as well as those of the pre-revolutionary Iranian historian Muḥíṭ Ṭabátabá’í – thereby once and for all discrediting the views of the Bahá’í authorities themselves and their century long campaign to dismiss and smear the authorship as well as the contents of this work.

Rather than being a history of a modern critical genre, the Book of the Point of Káf is instead a theophanological hiero-history reflecting the situation of early Bábism until 1852. A history of its founder, the Báb (d. 1850), and the first eight years of the Bábí movement in mid 19th century Iran, here we find actors within an Iranian Islamic Shi’ite gnostic dramaturgical theatre of unparalleled scope enacting a Grand Gnostic Resurrection and its Apocalypse much like the Ismá’ilí one at Alamút in the mid twelfth century CE. Here are met the two founders of the Shaykhí school, the Báb himself, his Letters of the Living and the movement’s successor Ṣubḥ-i-Azal, among others.

The Book of the Point of Káf begins with a long introductory, theological chapter detailing the author’s own metaphysical and Shi’ite gnostic points of departure wherein copious Shi’ite traditions (akhbár) are quoted and commented upon. E.G. Browne’s 1910 English introduction is reproduced in full and the translator’s own introduction brings us up to speed on the scholarship to the contemporary period. Twenty-two chapters in full plus a final conclusion, the English translation of this work will certainly challenge perceptions and change overall views regarding Bábism and Bahá’ism in the West forever - and, no doubt, produce even further controversies.

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