In the discussion that follows, I propose to inquire into some of the assumptions that may underlie the disciplinary paradigm of Middle Eastern, and particularly Iranian, studies, making this an interpretive essay on a neglected aspect of the field, rather than a research article as such. Nevertheless, I harbor hopes of stimulating discussion and bringing something of a fresh perspective to bear on a subject which, it is generally acknowledged, lies at the very edge of the Persianate tradition of religious innovation, and consequently at the margins of the academic efforts to understand and explain it: the life and legacy of the Iranian prophet-founder of the Bahā'í faith, Mirza Huseyn Ali “Bahā'u'llāh” (1817-92). The questions I will pose are in essence three: why is the religious innovation wrought by Bahā'u'llāh considered marginal by the majority of scholars of the Islamicate world? What does this attitude tell us about the conceptual boundaries within which these same scholars labor? And do these boundaries reflect the limits imposed by the evidence itself or do they reflect the limitations of the contemporary disciplinary paradigm?