“Countless Spiritual Teachers,” An Interview with Author and Bahá’í Researcher Eileen Maddocks

How did humanity’s spiritual thinking first develop in the Paleolithic hunter-gatherer days? How did it evolve from worshiping anthropomorphic natural phenomena to the divine voice that we hear inside of us? How can the teachings of the ancient prophets help us navigate our modern world?

These are some of the many profound questions answered in Eileen Maddocks’ monumental project to catalog all of the Hebrew prophets in chronological order within the context of Israelite history, the fantastic trilogy “The Coming of the Glory: How the Hebrew Scriptures Reveal the Plan of God.”

Through the support of Something Or Other Publishing, Maddocks has brought together a lifetime of research into history and theology, including her many years at the renowned Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, Israel, to present us with a rich and fascinating look into the development of faith. 

With the release of the initial volume in “The Coming of the Glory” trilogy, ” Gobekli Tepe to Elijah,” in 2020,  Maddocks focused on the earliest known roots of organized religion among prehistoric humans in the Paleolithic hunter-gatherer days and their evolution towards the first prophets.

The now available second volume, “The Preexilic Years: Amos to Jeremiah,” features a thorough dive into the years of some of the early canonical Hebrew prophets in the pre-exilic period and how their many insights influenced the advancement of religion, theology, and civilization itself. 

While the historical value of this analysis cannot be overstated, Maddocks believes that many of the teachings from these early prophets can profoundly benefit us today.

“Life-changing perspectives await the reader who is willing to approach these prophecies with an open mind, in the light of what has been made manifest in this modern age,” Maddocks wrote.

Readers can purchase Eileen Maddocks’ “The Coming of the Glory Volume 2” on kindle and paperback editions as well as the first entry into the series, “Gobekli Tepe to Elijah,” and expect the release of the third and final volume in 2023.

To celebrate the release of this fantastic new chapter, we reached out to Maddocks with a few questions on her creative process, her relationship with the Bahá’í Faith, and the impact these prophecies have on our present day:

M.T.: Going back to 1989, what aspects of the Bahá’í Faith first caught your attention and made you dedicate such efforts to its study and preservation? What do you find compelling and meaningful about its spiritual point of view?

E.M.: What grabbed my attention was the Plan of God to send countless spiritual teachers to people all over the world. It never made sense to me to have to choose one of them. Now I understood that all of them taught the same spiritual verities but that each one of them taught progressively in accordance with the needs of the time. This process started in prehistoric times, and the latest Prophets of God were the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh in the nineteenth century. Little by little, mankind has been shown how to progress spiritually, which also catalyzes civilizational and material progress.

M.T.: How would you describe your sixteen-year tenure as a researcher at the Bahá’í World Centre?

E.M.: It was an incredibly wonderful experience and privilege to serve at the Bahá’í World Centre. 

M.T.: You mention that part of the reason why you started working on “The Coming of the Glory” project was that you were not able to find any literature on the Bahá’í Faith that cataloged the history of the Hebrew prophets within the context of Israelite history and was presented in chronological order. Why do you think this approach to the subject has not been tackled before? What benefits do you think the readers receive by studying the Hebrew prophets in this sequential and historical manner?

E.M.: I think that this project has not been tackled before because it entails an incredible amount of work. This has been a ten-year effort for me. Among the benefits of these three volumes is learning how the Hebrew prophets from 2,500 years ago provided us with a spiritual manual, so to speak, through prophecies to guide us in these difficult times and to see God’s plan for humanity unfold. Many of the prophecies from the Hebrew prophets were not for their time and people but for us today. These prophecies can give us hope in times of despair.

M.T.: The idea of starting from the Paleolithic hunter-gatherer days and moving forward through each significant step in the spiritual evolution of this Faith seems like a massive undertaking. What are some of the challenges that you have encountered while working on “The Coming of the Glory” trilogy?

E.M.: One major challenge was not to go off on tangents. The material was so incredibly interesting! And I did go off on tangents, and to keep the project within bounds, some of what I wrote had to be deleted. Another challenge was to stay on a schedule for researching and writing and to push through difficult places.

M.T.: The impressive scope of “The Coming of the Glory” delves into areas such as theology, history, and anthropology with outstanding detail and nuance. How do you manage to make the text accessible and engaging for readers who are as well-versed in these subjects?

E.M.: Most people who are well-versed in the subjects I covered are unfamiliar with the Bahá’í perspective on them. The trilogy introduces many new concepts for them. I also tried to write in a clear, understandable manner for readers with little or no biblical knowledge. In these times of growing irreligion and secularism, I believe it is essential to recognize the true purpose of religion is the acquisition of virtues, the betterment of morals, the spiritual development of mankind, the promotion of unity and concord, and the recognition of divine bestowals..

M.T.: Have any of your own ideas and perceptions as a researcher of the Bahá’í Faith and Israelite history changed while working on this project? How do you feel after going through hundreds of hours of research into this topic?

E.M.: My perceptions and beliefs have deepened considerably. My work has left me awed by both the magnitude and the minutiae of God’s role as an actor in human history. God has always been with us both on an individual level as we go through our lives facing tests and difficulties and on a global level from the beginning as the human family slowly learns how to unify itself as one people.

M.T.: Now that “The Preexilic Years: Amos to Jeremiah,” the second volume of the “The Coming of the Glory” trilogy, has been released and with the third and final volume scheduled for next year, do you have any other projects on the horizon that you would like your readers to know about? Are the other subjects or aspects of the Bahá’í Faith that you would eventually like to tackle?

E.M.: At the moment, I do not have any other books planned beyond volume 3 of “The Coming of the Glory.” I plan to develop a series of talks with PowerPoint visuals about various aspects of what I’ve written to present on Zoom programs and post on my YouTube channel. Two programs have been posted there and can be seen on my website, eileenmaddocks.com.

M.T.: What do you hope your readers get from “The Preexilic Years: Amos to Jeremiah” and the “The Coming of the Glory” trilogy? Are there any particular lessons that they should receive? Are there some specific moments that they should pay special attention to? 

E.M.: I hope that readers will be better prepared to live in today’s difficult times and to understand why the country and the world are facing so many seemingly insurmountable problems. There is hope. God has a plan, as the Hebrew prophets stated so many long years ago.

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About the Author

Miguel Torrellas is a Journalist and Copywriter Specialist for Something Or Other Publishing. As a graduate of the University of Florida, he has handled everything from social work to local business and city government. He has been published in North Florida’s WUFT News and several other platforms. 

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