Consultation

Aug 2018
19
Argentina
#11
One comment about the Ruhi courses-- those of us who are long-time Baha's should not think of them primarily as a resource for us to learn about the Teachings then judge them based on how many new things we learned from them. Rather, we should look at them as an opportunity to learn how to explain the Teachings to others in concise and clear terms, and therefore be more effective teachers. Inevitably we will see new things in the Writing we never noticed before, and will learn from others who are studying with us. But the focus should be on how we can better serve. Just my opinion!
Those are great points. As well I always saw them to be valuable deepening tools, especially for people who have recently become Bahá'ís in the case of the first few books. I like my personal method of deepening but I would benefit as well from some variant off the Ruhi Books. That is, I go back to the thought that seminar forum like that of St John's College would be awesome.
Since it has been a long time since I looked at a Ruhi book and I never was in a study group I'm wholly unqualified to be rendering opinions. So I'll just keep on making these comments from the peanut gallery. Oh and sorry, I should have read more carefully. You specified, "those of us who are long-time Baha's...". So my point is yet more like the Peanut Gallery :-D
 
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Dec 2012
199
Earth
#12
Greetings Monti,

The address cited in the Promulgation of Universal Peace is one that is often used in this subject matter. The talk was made in North America in 1912. It was compiled with other talks and published by Howard McNutt in 1922. One of the purposes of these talks was to assist the friends to correct some misunderstandings made by Ibrahim Kheiralla. Interestingly McNutt accepted Kheiralla and was regarded as his strongest supporter. Later he rejected him and accepted 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He went on to attain the title of Disciple of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, despite almost being declared a Covenant-breaker. Bahá’í history is a truly fascinating subject. It is as if matters are determined by a toss of a coin at times.

I can see that you have found the La Promulgación de la Paz Universal in Spanish. This looks like a fresh typeset version of the of the 1922 original, even though the translation is by Manuel Caballero, who I believe served on the NSA of Argentina in the 1960s. I have lived and worked in South America, mainly in Columbia and Venezuela along with spending some time in Argentina. I can speak Spanish, but I am a little rusty now. At first glance this looks like a reasonable translation from English.

I collect Bahá'í historical works and one thing that tends to happen is original materials tend to be altered within later editions; even direct quotes. So in relationship to the Bahá’í Writings the only text that should be subject to intellectual scrutiny are in Arabic and Persian. English is appropriate for examining the translations of the Guardian, but care needs to be taken for reasons we have already discussed.

It is an unfortunately reality that many Bahá'ís in the world are illiterate because they cannot read the Bahá’í Writings at source. Naturally this compounds this matter all the more. Indeed while my Arabic and Persian is still very basic, I am already facing difficulties with some English translations. A number of English speaking scholars have faced the same issue. On reflection electronic translators can be used as a tool to help with comprehension. As these improve they will naturally have an impact on the way the Writings of the Central Figures are read and understood by all people. So rather like the fact that retention rates can no longer be concealed, neither can the contents of the Writings in Arabic and Persian. Therefore interesting times lay ahead and those weened on English translations are going to be in for quite a shock.

If we examine publication strategies employed within the Bahá’í Faith it soon emerges that it has historically been influenced by individual scholars. This of course helps us to understand why the process of review came into being. Indeed it still exists today. But now there are more independent scholars writing about the Faith, naturally they are not subject to Bahá’í review. Indeed as some of these authors hold academic licence they are actually reaching a wider number of readers now. So in reality Bahá’í publishing material has been losing ground to independent scholars for many years now. Indeed there are already independent study packages about the Bahá’í Faith that are licensed for use in state education today. The average English speaking Bahá’í would be out of their depth if they examined the content of this material because the translations are much more direct. One such programme is now being piloted in schools in the U.K. It was produced by Denis MacEoin, a former member of the Bahá'í Faith. This has been one of the core reasons why the NSA of the U.K. realised the need to take direct action. It still has some way to go but as you can see, in educational terms, Ruhi has already been abandoned and it is now proceeding towards adopting an educational publishing approach that is more compliant with state requirements, hence my argument here. It still has a long way to go, but at least it is moving in a more productive direction httpr://bahai-education.org/node/39.html

A wider issue that members of the Bahá’í Faith are having to face is that since the religious component of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights has been ratified into numerous state laws, Bahá’í, like Judaism, Christianity and Islam for example, is now deemed to be public domain. Therefore all religions constitute as being denominations of their core religion. So the Bahá’í Faith, in essence, is now a denomination of the Bahá’í religion, even though the core name is still known as the Bahá'í Faith. So as some educational specialists jokingly phrases it, the Bahá'í Faith is a denomination of the Bahá'í Faith. Naturally this matter is still quite confusing, but it can be ratified through a court of law. However, the Bahá'í Faith is still permitted to own properties, hold original works and express its own theological perspectives. In addition it can control it membership and make decisions as a religion in its own right. However we can expect to witness a larger range of academic translations taking place and we might even witness a rise of some new Bahá'í denominations too. So it underscores why members of the Bahá’í Faith needs to develop the capacity to promote and protect their beliefs with greater maturity in the modern world.

Earth
 
Aug 2018
19
Argentina
#13
While these topics are straying from the subject of this thread, consultation. They are quite interesting.

Your last point first. The Bahá'í Faith has always been subject to denominations, since it's inception, re Mírzá Yaḥyá. There is nothing new in that. I don't see the UN declaration changing the course of the Bahá'í Faith.

Original source: It's a great value that we have greater access to original source material. I studied Arabic back in the 80s. I was not very successful because I was busy at the time and the manner I chose to study it. There are also many scholars in the Bahá'í Faith that are dedicating a renewed effort to review the writings. Nader Saiedi comes to mind. As long as the Bahá'í institution dedicates enough effort to move forward with translations and other things like, advances in education, as you discussed, it seems to me that all of this will be to the ultimate benefit of the Faith.

I mentioned before how I have an idea to create a website where there is every word or phrase or sentence (depending upon the context of the translation) is indexed to other languages but importantly to the original text. With index to span, the idea would be to be able to hover over text to see the other language. There are other features as well. One I like is, to highlight instances where the word in the original language has some complexity to it, like the case I mentioned before where Shoghi Effendi talks about the difficulty with translating "fear of God". I think a tool like this would be of great value to the study of the writings.
 
Dec 2012
199
Earth
#14
Greetings Monti,

Yes, consultation is quite complex subject as you can see because it requires participants to venture out of their depth and comfort zone. I am not suggesting people should risk drowning themselves, so there are always limitations of course, but the reward is always directly proportional to the effort put into obtaining the solution.

I have a phrase that I sometimes use, "People always get the government they deserve". Now at first this might look quite harsh, but in reality it comes about due to peoples failure to consult and determine what they really need. The same is true with boards and religious bodies in truth. When decisions are made by placing an "X" on a piece of paper we deserve what we receive. After a while it becomes very easy to make accurate predictions on how people will vote towards any subject matter. When consultation is reduced to peoples opinions society goes nowhere. We have to learn to if we truly wish to go forwards.

There are some Arabic and Persian apps these day. I would recommend you trying once again because these languages are much easier to learn with both audio and visual technology. Just take it stage by stage and they will naturally begin to open up for you. Also just listen to conversations in Arabic and Persian and you will soon learn to pick up dialects too.

Your website idea can be created and it can offer some unique perspectives. Do you think it could be built into a small curriculum in its own right or serve as a platform for others to be integrated into it? Have think about it and come back to me in your own time, in a few weeks if you want, because we might be able to help you build a working model or full product for you. The main task is in building a good conceptual model first. You can do this in English and Spanish to begin with because you just need to demonstrate proof of concept.

Here is hoping the weekend is going well for you.

Earth
 
Aug 2018
19
Argentina
#15
I was thinking of taking something very basic as the test model. Just the fun of it, since I like the particular HW, I was thinking take the 4th Persian Hidden Word and build a demonstration around this one example. The only thing that would impede that as a case, is if I can't get someone to give me a good correlation, word for word or phrase. I doubt that will be a problem and it doesn't even have to be perfect since it's just a test. Though accuracy would make for a better presentation It would be nice to incorporate my dive deep idea as well. Highlight a word you want the reader to pay attention to.

I woke one morning with this idea and another on my mind, as if they were being presented to me. I quickly forgot the other one as I started thinking about how this one might work. So I'm down this path. I've been busy lately with some O'Reilly materials trying to learn some new stuff, but I took my waking with this as a message. Now I must follow through.

I figure once I have the demonstration my task will be to present it to the right entity at the UHJ since to have the final product access would be needed to notes or something. Frankly I have no idea how that next step would work. I know Habib Taherzadeh kept a guide of words the Guardian used for their Arabic/Persian counterparts so as to be consistent.

Is what I'm saying making sense?

The more I think about this as I'm studying some tools for developing apps and Cloud Operations tools. I start to imagine how this can be used in a collaborative manner as well. There's the user/consumer/reader side, but there can be a fruitive researcher/translator side.

I'm very insistent that this must be created. It seems to me to be too useful a tool for study and a fairly logical use of the technology we have at our disposal in this modern world.
 
Aug 2018
19
Argentina
#16
RE Arabic Persian, I would like to take up studying Persian. I haven't researched what is available for study yet. I want my daughter to learn Persian as well. She's only two and a half right now. She's bilingual. This is the time to start. I figure if I don't learn Farsí I can at least live vicariously through her.
 
Dec 2012
199
Earth
#17
Greetings Monti,

Yes, just let the ideas flow naturally. Do not concern yourself over trying to promote or market anything just yet, aim for proof of concept.

The educational material we produce is normally handled by the main educational publishers around the world, but the industry has been changing quite radically in the past few years because things are going digital. It is much easier to market educational material than you might realise; especially if it is for state sanctioned education. If we were to look for marketing within the Bahá'í Community we would hands down look for a partnership with George Ronald George Ronald Publisher because they are much better versed on Bahá'í review and understand its legalities in domestic law more than any other Bahá'í publishing body we know around the world, but even then we would have it legally matched state by state to educational standards before they received it, because this work would require an international perspective.

Paper publishing is on it ways out so the future is digital. As you might know Bahá'í review does not apply to online materials, but if you intended to have hard copies you would need it if you wished it to carry an official Bahá'í licence. However, review would need to be conducted by each NSA in every state where it is intended for publication. As an example some materials that have passed review in the U.S. did not pass review in other English speaking states. You would actually be quite surprised as to what can be passed by one NSA and not by another. Lights of Guidance for instance failed review in a number of English speaking states, despite becoming part of U.S. Bahá'í culture. Even now I find some Bahá'ís view some online posters as fake Bahá'ís because they cite material from Lights of Guidance; a book they have no knowledge about.

The reason why Bahá'í review is so important in todays age is for legal protection. Once an NSA passes it, it arguably becomes party to its contents. So the reason why we have issues with Ruhi has nothing to do with following pro or anti narratives, it is entirely down to the liabilities that it poses to NSA trustees that have sanctioned it; especially those that do not often take independent legal advice in publication matters. Ruhi will remain irresponsible until its materials are specifically tailored to meet state cultural and legal requirements. However, your concept with translations could override conventional issues here because it can be designed to function within a multi-cultural and multi-lingual framework purely on religious texts. Obtaining review for this would be very simple because only the Writings themselves would have to be verified as there would be no supplemental material to try to twist what anything might mean to the reader. So it would better allow them to see how the Writings can be comprehended through the prism of different languages and cultures. A worthy goal to my mind.

As to your daughter, yes, starting languages at the age of two sounds like a good idea,. See if you can place her in a Persian children's class that teaches manners and allow her to get on by herself. There is an interesting scene from the movie 13th Warrior where learning language is shown by observation and listening. It is how we all naturally learn language. So it should not really be an issue for your daughter given her age. The secret is with letting her learn from children a little older than herself. They will help pull her along in her understanding and she will become more mature from the experience too, because children like to think of themselves as being older than what they really other. The teacher would need to agree to this of course, but I think it is worth a pilot to see how it goes.

Earth
 
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