Baha'i Library Online

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COLLECTIONPersonal pages
TITLEPersonal page: Jonah Winters
ABSTRACTMy own links, theses, and papers.
In the final analysis,
for the believer there are no questions,
and for the non-believer there are no answers.
— Chofetz Chaim

In a field
I am the absence
of field.

This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

— Mark Strand

Contact, and personal pages

  1. email jonahwinters[at]
  2. Facebook:
      Bahá'í Library work group
      Winters Web Works support group
  3. Structural Integration Niagara and Winters Body Works
  4. My resume and cv


  1. Master's thesis, University of Toronto, 1997: Dying for God: Martyrdom in the Shii and Babi Religions, and "Martyrdom in Jihad: the Sunni and contemporary world." Shi'ism has developed an ethos of suffering and martyrdom almost unparalleled in the history of religions. Both the Babi and Bahá'í religions reflect this theme of their parent religion, but in markedly differing ways: the Babis were zealous revolutionaries, teaching that Persian religious institutions of the day were corrupt and that the time for a new Prophet had come. While they rarely if ever fought on the offense, they were willing and at times eager to sacrifice their lives. Bahá'u'lláh, however, taught that He was the new prophet and that the time for peace had come. While retaining the symbols of martyrdom and suffering, he transformed them into metaphors for peace and service.
  2. Bachelor's thesis, Reed College, 1994: Thinking in Buddhism: Nagarjuna's Middle Way, 1994, 183 pages. Madhyamika Buddhism, the philosophical foundation behind both Zen and Tibetan Buddhism and possibly behind Hinduism's Advaita Vedanta, is one of the most thoroughly apophatic religious philosophies in the history of religions. This thesis describes and analyzes the core text of Madhyamika, a third-century collection of mystical couplets called "Roots of the Middle Way." Both it and my thesis serve as introductory textbooks on this school of Buddhism.


  1. Copy editor and typesetter: Lights of Irfan volumes 3-20, 2002-2019. General editor Iraj Ayman. Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia Publications. Read online at
  2. A Resource Guide for the Academic Study of the Bahá'í Faith. General editor and co-author Robert Stockman. Wilmette, IL: United States Bahá'í National Center Research Office, 1997.
  3. Bahá'í Ethics, in Religious Ethics: A Sourcebook, ed. Arthur D. Dobrin (Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2004).
  4. Reviews of Revisioning the Sacred: New Perspectives on a Bahá'í Theology (Studies in the Bábí and Bahá'í Religions, volume 8), ed. Jack McLean (Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1997) and Symbol and Secret: Qur'an Commentary in Bahá'u'lláh's Kitab-i-Iqan (SBBR, volume 7), by Christopher Buck (Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1995). Reviews published in Iranian Studies 32:1 (Winter 1999).
  5. Review of Symbol and Secret: Qur'an Commentary in Bahá'u'lláh's Kitab-i-Iqan, by Christopher Buck (Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1995). Review published in the Journal of Bahá'í Studies 9:3 (September 1999) 69-75.
  6. Review of Buddhism and the Bahá'í Faith, by Moojan Momen (Oxford: George Ronald, 1995). Review published in the Journal of Bahá'í Studies 6:4 (1994).
  7. See the complete list of 68 articles I've written or items I've edited/compiled at
  8. (I have no formal publications after 1999, because all of my effort after that went into building this website.)

College papers

  1. "Martyrdom in Jihad," 1997. Judaism contains a strong theme of the theological importance of suffering, and Christianity elevated the martyrdom of Jesus to a key salvific event. Islam, however, does not contain one core thread of martyrdom. Rather, martyrdom occurs in three disparate areas: war and jihad, Sufi asceticism, and Shi'ism. Here I examine the relationship between jihad and martyrdom, and ways their meanings have changed, both classical and contemporary.
  2. "The Origins of Shi'ism: A Consensus of Western Scholarship," 1996. Shiism represents approximately 10% of the Muslim community. Because the other 90% tend to regard this party as illegitimate, Shiism has tried a number of ways to defend their history. Here I examine, using Western historiographical methods, the three key events occurring during the life of Muhammad that are used as proof of Shi'i origins.
  3. "Communicative Interaction: Notes on Relating Habermasian Universalism to Bahá'í Consultation," 1996. The "communicative action" theories of German philosopher Jurgen Habermas have proven influential in defining morality and understanding ways in which morality can be universalized. These theories are similar to the unique use by Bahá'ís of "consultation" as a tool for creating functioning societies and nonrepressive moral codes.
  4. "Themes of 'The Erotic' in Sufi Mysticism," 1996. A fair amount of work has examined the symbolisms of love and eros in mystical writing, but only little has addressed the topic in the mystical love poetry of Bahá'u'lláh, largely because few of these poems have been translated. This paper provides background for that topic by surveying the use and meanings of themes of the erotic in writings by seven Sufi mystics. Updated version published in Sutra Journal (2017).
  5. "The Shi'i Qur'an: an Examination of Western Scholarship," 1995. This work was inspired by statements in the Kitab-i-Iqan (pp. 84-89) where Bahá'u'lláh rejects the charge that the text of the Bible has been willfully tampered with. Many Shi'is have accused Sunnis of the same — removing the prooftexts of Ali's appointment as leader of the Muslim community from the Qur'an. This work examines the treatment of the topic by Western academics.
  6. "Saying Nothing about No-Thing: Apophatic Theology in the Classical World," 1994. This paper examines the apophatic (via negativa) theology of the Neoplatonism of Plotinus and some pre-PseudoDionysius eastern Christian thinkers. (See a continuation of this study in my Buddhism thesis.)
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