ISSN: 13548697
First published in 1991
1 issues per volume
Volume 12 Issue 1
Cover Date: 2004
The Bab's Stay in Kashan: A Historiographical Analysis of the Kitab-i-Nuqtatu'l-Kaf Based on the Kashan Pericope
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Authors:  Kavian Milani 
DOI: 10.1386/bsre.12.1.1


The Kitáb-i Nuqtat al-Káf has been at the centre of many debates in Babi and Baha’i history and historiography since it was first brought to public attention in 1893. Even to this date most exposés and attacks on the Baha’i Faith rely heavily on this book. Therefore the authenticity, authorship, historical reliability of the text and its relevance are of both academic and apologetic importance for contemporary Baha’i scholarship. This article seeks to challenge the historically unnecessary tie to the martyred Haji Mirza Jání through an examination of the stay of the Bab in Kashan as gleaned from the primary data provided by different sources. The synoptic examination of such a small episode is a useful way of bringing out some of the hidden traits of each manuscript author or manuscript tradition. The Babi texts developed out of, and responded to, the apologetic needs of the community of faith. A study of the Kashan event shows that neither Haji Mirza Jani nor Dhabih (his brother) could have been involved in the writing of the Nuqtat al-Kaf, given its highly deficient treatment of the one significant episode in which they would have been most directly involved. The provenance and authenticity of the book can then be better assessed. A great deal of the material in the Nuqtat al-Kaf is indeed early and useful, and it may have been part of an earlier Babi oral tradition, developing alongside the changing theological and apologetic needs of the early Babi community. Until recently, the absence of a properly identifiable manuscript tradition has further limited the search for the earlier versions of the narrative, adding to the uncertainty of the accuracy of the published version. Given the limitations in available manuscripts of the Nuqtat al-Kaf, all conclusions must be regarded as speculative, pending further research and the detailed examination of discovered manuscripts.
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