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Utilising the concept of “geo-cultural breakthroughs,” the article briefly describes the process of Babi-Baha’i expansion, tracing the way in which the early Babi movement was later transformed into the Baha’i Faith, and the Baha’i movement itself underwent a succession of massive transformations in the range and diversity of its following. Three main stages and three “worlds” of expansion are identified: (i) an initial “Islamic” stage (1844–c. 1892), in which Babism and the early Baha’i movement were largely confined to the environing culture and society of the Islamic Middle East and its cultural extensions; (ii) an “international” stage (c. 1892–c. 1953), during which Baha’i missionary expansion succeeded in transcending the religion’s Islamic roots, in particular by gaining a small but intensely active Western following; and (iii) the present “global” stage from about 1953 onwards, in which the Baha’i Faith has begun to assume the characteristics of a small-scale world religion, with larger numbers of adherents having been gained, particularly in some parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, regions outside of both the religion’s original Islamic heartland and the West.
Citation: 2016) Babi–Baha’i Expansion and “Geo-Cultural Breakthroughs”. Journal of Religious History, 40: 225–236. doi: 10.1111/1467-9809.12280.(