William McElwee Miller

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William McElwee Miller (December 12, 1892 – July 7, 1993) was an American missionary to Persia, and author of several books.[1]

Born in Middlesboro, Kentucky, Miller received a M.A. in 1913 from Washington and Lee University, and a B.D. in 1919 from Princeton Theological Seminary. He went to Persia (Iran) as a missionary of the Presbyterian Church and, except for a short period around 1932, he remained in Persia until 1962.

As a part of his missionary work, he learned Persian and studied Islam, particularly Shi'a Islam, Persia and Persian culture. During his missionary work in Persia, he also encountered the Bahá'ís, a large religious minority there. Much of his ministerial work involved developing Christian apologetic responses to these religions.

With respect to the Bahá'í Faith, his Baha'ism, Its Origin, History and Teachings,[2] published in 1931, was the first of two books, and several apologetics articles on the subject. Along with Earl E. Elder he translated Bahá'u'lláh's Kitáb-i-Aqdas, one of the central books of the religion; this translation was published by the Royal Asiatic Society in 1961. In 1974, a new follow-up, The Baha'i Faith: Its History and Teachings[3] added additional material not available previously.

After 1962, he retired with his wife to Mount Airy, Pennsylvania, where he lived until she died, and then went to live in a retirement home until his own death in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1993.


  • A Christian's Response to Islam; Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1976
  • Ten Muslims Meet Christ. Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans. 1969.
  • My Persian Pilgrimage, ISBN 0-87808-214-X; William Carey Library, 1989
  • Tales of Persia: A Book for Children, ISBN 0-87552-292-0; Presbyterian and Reformed Pub Co, 1988
  • Tales Of Persia: Missionary Stories From Islamic Iran, ISBN 0-87552-615-2, Presbyterian and Reformed Pub Co, 2005


  1. ^ "Interview with William McElwee Miller - Collection 387". Billy Graham Center. 2005-04-08. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  2. ^ William McElwee Miller (1931). Baha'ism, Its Origin, History and Teachings (PDF). Fleming H. Revell Company. 
  3. ^ William McElwee Miller (1974). The Baha'i Faith: Its History and Teachings. William Carey Library. ISBN 978-0-87808-137-0.