Baha'i studies

Knowledge: project or process?

encyclopaediaprojectThe Bahai Encyclopaedia Project has begun to put up a selection of online articles. As of today, there are 21 articles online, so it is just a small beginning. Two are classified under “teachings and laws,” but one of these is misfiled: it is on the Letters of the Living and belongs in the history category. That leaves one article on the Bahai teachings, the one entitled ‘children’.

{josquote}An ‘official project’ approach to knowledge production is already out of date; twenty years from now it will be a quaint old curiosity.{/josquote}

Looking down this article, I was surprised to see that even where better sources are easily available, it draws extensively on The Promulgation of Universal Peace, which is not an authentic source. In a footnote to the footnotes the Encyclopaedia editors even list Promulgation of Universal Peace among ‘scripture and other authoritative texts’.

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The world's a stage

One of the friends said:

polarshift1

… an elderly lady once told me that Shoghi Effendi had said that the earth would “fall off its axis and spin wildly for three days”… well, I’ve searched and searched for anything even close…

The source of this is a tablet written by Abdu’l-Baha, translated by Ahmad Sohrab, and printed in his diary ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Egypt, page 297. In this tablet Abdu’l-Baha compares the world of September 1913 to a spectacular stage play on which actors such as kings and cabinet ministers play their parts. Towards the end he writes (in Sohrab’s translation):

When thou considerest … the fruit of all these theatrical performances, thou wilt see with thy real eyes, that they are the results of an illusory mirage and their sweetness is as bitter poison. A few days shall roll on their axis, and all these conditions will become non-existent, evanescent and completely forgotten.

This text was then reprinted in Star of the West Magazine, Vol. 4 No. 16, December 31 1913, page 273 with quite a few changes:

sow4-16-273

when thou observes these things with the eye of reality, thou wilt see that the outcome, result and fruit of all these theatrical performances are mirages and their sweetness is bitter poison. A few days the earth shall roll on its axis, and these fleeting visions will be completely forgotten.

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My Research So Far

I am having a little bit of trouble finding articles that use language that is understandable by a non religious person. One book in particular uses a bunch of huge words and then the author puts them together and they make no sense. He might just be showing off that he knows all these ginormous words.

{josquote}My research topic has changed to “Why people convert to the Baha’i Religion”{/josquote}

My research topic has changed to “Why people convert to the Baha’i Religion” I was inspired by my friend Melissa converting to it and being very passionate about it. I always tell her I’ll learn more about her relgion and I mean it, but this will make me be a good friend and actually do it. And as many people feel (I imagine) that didn’t grow up religious, I feel there is something missing. Beliefs that need to be put into some kind of organization… maybe Baha’i will suit me, and maybe not. But at least I’ll learn something.

I was wondering, how do you cite something that the author cited from someone else? Does anybody know?

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French letters by Shoghi Effendi


First letter, to Laura Barney, circa late 1903. Shoghi Effendi is then six years and a half old.

I’m publishing here some letters written in French by the young Shoghi Effendi Rabbani (1897–1957) to Laura C. Barney (1879–1974). They come from the till now almost forgotten Laura Dreyfus-Barney Collection at the French National Baha’i Center Archives (Baha’i National Center, Paris), which I researched in August 1996.

Little has been said about Shoghi Effendi’s French education, and I hope that the following letters will be an appreciated contribution to this subject.

I reproduced the first three letters after my own photocopy of the originals’ photostats, and the last one after my photocopy of the original itself.

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Closure of OJBS: Online Journal of Baha'i Studies

As a result of a series of communications between various parties and acting on the request of the Universal House of Justice this website has been closed down.

Prospective authors and readers are directed to the following official print journals requiring subscriptions:

Journal of Baha'i Studies
Baha'i Studies Review

Many thanks to the 17,668 visitors who downloaded 18,836 articles and volumes in the period Dec 26,2007 to January 16, 2009 from more than 177 countries and territories around the globe.

"When a work appears to be ahead of its time, it is only the time that is behind the work"
-Jean Cocteau

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The journal's contents have been resurrected elsewhere.