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Review: Dehqani-Tafti, Design of My World

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This is a brief review of a short book, H. B. Dehqani-Tafti's Design of my World. In it, he briefly tells of his pilgrimage from his childhood in Shia Muslim Taft, central Iran, to his full conversion and ordination as an Anglican to serve his home, Iran. Three-quarters of the book are simply devoted to telling the winding tale of his road through Persia and overseas, ultimately returning to minister. It is a modest spiritual autobiography, in which he dwells little on his specific struggles and discoveries, but on the process and course of his growing closer to God. At the end, the Bishop turns to the questions many readers must have, concerning Christianity and Islam, expressing good news about Jesus for those under Islam, and about Scriptures. His words are both personal/existential and intellectually oriented; they are, I as a reader felt, presented in much the same way he must finally have reconciled himself to them in his own soul.

With all that is currently happening in Iran, I have to admit I feel a bit opportunistic in reading this book this summer. However, it had been on my shelf along with another work of his for some time, and I picked it up as a change of pace from my current East Asia studies. I am thoroughly glad I picked it up. Although it is an older work, and very brief, it has a certain pithiness to it which many Christian biographies do not. My interests in the Muslim world have rarely extended as far as Iran, but in part thanks to Dehqani-Tafti, I think that may change at least a little. A recommended short work for those with area or topic interests that match.

H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, Design of my World. (Seabury, 1959, 1982) ISBN 0816423466

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