by Jack McLean 

                 Bahá'í Studies and Creative Writing 



                                     " Wouldst thou that the mind should not entrap thee? Teach it the science of the love of God!"

                                                                      Hakim Saná'í, Persian Sufi poet, died circa 1150 CE




This website indicates the parameters and gives the titles of the bulk of my writings. Reader access will be provided gradually as I add links in HTML and PDF to the material listed . You will find the link either to the right or below the title. In the meantime, until all papers have been reviewed,  I will be happy to forward some published and unpublished material  upon request. You will find below a partial list of my books, articles, essays, poetry collections,  book reviews,  commentaries/ letters to the editor, short autobiography, a 1967 interview with Laura Dreyfus-Barney, miscellaneous writings and appreciations. I hope that my writings will enrich your understanding of the Bahá'í Faith and provide insights into the human condition. Comments are welcome. Contact 




    Mission and Method              

My aim is to explore and validate the truths of the Bahá'í Revelation, the youngest of the world's independent religions, founded by the Persian Prophets, the Báb (1819-1850) and Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892).

I approach my task as  an independent generalist scholar who correlates apologetics and Religionswissenschaft (Science of Religion) to the Bahá'í sacred writings.   

      Creative Writing

In my other voice as a creative writer, whether through poetry, meditations, aphorisms or essays, I elucidate the truths of the human condition using either the subjective voice of "everyman" and/or the committed believer.  

     Topical Interests

  • Bahá'í Theology
  • Philosophical Theology 
  • Spirituality
  • Mysticism
  • World Religions
  • Poetry
  • Literary Criticism
  • Rhetoric 
  • Theistic Existentialism
  • Writings of Shoghi Effendi
  • Phenomenology of Religion 
  • Music: Jazz, Classical, Popular
  • Nature 
  • People 
  • Contemplation 

         The Author

John Allan/Jack McLean was born in Toronto, Canada on June 7, 1945. He became a Bahá'í in 1962 when he was 16 years old. He holds undergraduate degrees in French literature from the Sorbonne (1968) and French and Religious Studies from Trinity College, the University of Toronto (1970). 

He graduated with distinction with an M.A. in the History of Religions from the University of Ottawa (1972) studying under Samaritan religion scholar, professor emeritus Reinhard Pummer (Ph.D Theology, Vienna). 

Jack also studied Introductory Persian at the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto.

Among Jack's teachers were the well-known Islamic scholar, Aziz Ahmad (Islamic History) and the famous literary critic Northrop Frye (Biblical Symbolism).

 Commentaries/Letters  to the Editor 

(not all submissions were published)

  • To World Order: Response to Moojan Momen's "The Bahá'ís as a Mystic Community" (2007) (forthcoming)
  • To World Order:  Was Shoghi Effendi a Virtual Legislator?  Response to Arash Abizadeh's  "Democratic Elections Without Campaigns? Normative Foundations of National Bahá'í Elections" (2005). ResponseAbizadeh.htm
  • To The Journal of Bahá'í Studies: Putative Distinctions Between Apologetics and Scholarship: A Commentary on Christopher Buck's Review of Michael Sours's The Prophecies of Jesus (1993)
  • To The Bahá'í Studies Review: Method in Religious Studies: Faith-Driven and Agnostic.  A Commentary on Christopher Buck's Review of Moojan Momen's The Phenomenon of Religion (submitted 2007)  


  • To The Journal of Bahá'í Studies: Response to Shirin Sabri's article "The Purpose of Poetry" (JBS 1989-90)
  • Response to Ottawa Citizen Journalist Dan Gardner's article "The God Squad and Its Strange Allies." ResponseGardner.htm
  • To World Order: Re dedicated issue  of Making the Crooked Straight CrookedStraight.WorldOrder.htm


Making the Crooked Straight      (2000) by Schaefer, Towfiqh, Gollmer


    Short Autobiography: 

    Teaching the Faith, Magic Moments, Meeting Great Souls



Laura Dreyfus-Barney 

     (Paris 1967)

  • My interview with the compiler-translator of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's book of table talks, Some Answered Questions.  Madame Dreyfus-Barney was  88 years old. LauraInterview.htm


Memories: What Stanwood Cobb Told Me About 'Abdu'l-Bahá (1959, 1977)


      Book Reviews

  • Peter Smith's The Bábí and Bahá'í Religions: From Messianic Shi'ism to World Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987)
  • James Duncan's Living the Twelve Steps: Change Ourselves and Change the World ( Baico Publishing: Ottawa, 2005)
  • Farnáz Ma'sumián's Life After Death: A Study of the Afterlife in World Religions (One World: Oxford, 1995) 
  • Michael Sours's A Study of Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to the Christians (One World: Oxford, 1990) 

                       Titles By Category 


  • Dimensions in Spirituality: Reflections on the Meaning of Spiritual Life and Transformation in Light of the Bahá'í Faith (George Ronald: Oxford, 1994, 324 pages) ISBN 0-85398-376-3.
  • Revisioning the Sacred: New Perspectives on a Bahá'í Theology (editor-contributor) (Kalimat Press: Los Angeles, 1997, 231 pages) ISBN 0-933770-96-0
  • Under the Divine Lote Tree: Essays and Reflections (George Ronald: Oxford, 1999,  200 pages) ISBN -438-7


  • A Celestial Burning: The Writings of Shoghi Effendi (A Interdisciplinary Theological and Literary Critical Study)  Table of Contents and Introduction Contents.htm


  • The Art of Rhetoric in the Writings of Shoghi Effendi. Lights of Irfán, Book 7 (2006) Rhetoric.htm
  • The Heroic in the Historical Writings of Shoghi Effendi and Nabíl   (Irfán Conference Paper) (2006) Heroic.htm
  • Shoghi Effendi's View of Providential  History in Light of the Judaeo-Christian Tradition. Bahá'í Studies Review (2005)


  •   Where Theology and Literature Interface: Methodology Used in A  Celestial Burning: The Writings of Shoghi Effendi (2004)


  • Correlating Mystical Experience to the Knowledge of God (Irfán Conference Paper) (2000)
  • Theological  Ethics in a Bahá'í Perspective: First Considerations (ABS Conference Paper) (1996) TheologicalEthics.htm
  •  The Relativity of Religious Truth: Relating to the Absolute (2007) 


  •  The Reconvergence of Theology and Spirituality (ABS Conference Paper)
  • Responsible Apologetics 

  • The Spiritual Self in Baha'i Studies
  • The Mystic's Flight: The Parable of Majnún and Laylí (Irfán Conference Paper) ParableMajnunLayli.htm
  • Theological Correlatives in Shoghi Effendi's Dispensation of    Bahá'u'lláh (ABS Conference Paper)
  • The World Order Letters of Shoghi Effendi With Special Attention to "The Unfoldment of World Civilization" (Green Acre Family Homecoming 2005)
  • Did Prophecy Fail? The Lesser Peace and the Year 2000 (ABS   Conference Paper 2003) DidProphecyFail.htm
  • The Refutation of Francesco Fichicchia and the Dangers of Silence (2000 updated 2007) Refutation.htm
  • Reflections on  "Who is Writing the Future?" :  A  Statement Prepared by the  Bahá'í  Office of Public Information (1999)
  • Apologetics and Critical Scholarship: My Postings From H-Bahá'í (1997-98)
  • The Possibilities of Existential Theism for Bahá'í Theology. In  Revisioning the Sacred: New Perspectives on a Baha'i Theology, Kalimat Press (1997). *The title in the Table of Contents is incorrect.  ExistentialTheism.htm
  • Dimensions in Spirituality (Paper presented at ABS annual conference, 1995) Dimensions.htm
  • Short Notes on Bahá'í Belief (1994)
  • Salvation (submitted originally to the Bahá'í Encyclopedia Project)   (1993)  Salvation.htm
  • Prolegomena to a Bahá'í Theology. The Journal of Bahá'í Studies (1992) Prolegomena.htm
  • The Deification of Jesus. World Order (1980) 
  • The Knowledge of God: An Essay on Bahá'í Epistemology. World Order (1978)

                   Some Shorter Essays

  • The Faith State: Vital to Theist, Agnostic and Atheist FaithState.htm 
  • Replacing Debate With Consultation
  • The Voice of Conscience in Character
  • The Plaster Saint  According to Father Thomas Merton
  • Spirituality is More Than a Fashionable Word
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Unconditional Love
  • The Queen of Hearts: Remembering Lady Diana
  • Lady  Diana: Lessons in the Aftermath
  • In Search of Community
  • Sex and the Soul as the Body Beautiful
  • Hope as Creative Fiction
  • The Happy Saint
  • Globalization and Humanity's Coming-of-Age 
  • Fall in Love With a Frog: Conversation With a Centenarian
  • "Imagination, the Mistress of us All": Commentary on Blaise Pascal's Saying
  •  Life Tests and Other Stressful Situations
  • Public and Private Morality and the Politician
  • Kindness to Animals
  •  The Nine Rites of Spring
  • Worshiping Eros:  A Modern Myth
  • The Enigma of Time (From Under the Divine Lote Tree: Essays and Reflections, 1999)  
  • In Durham Cathedral: A  Moment With Stephen Lambden

     A Few Impressions of Pilgrimage (2007)