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The Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:20 pm
by larry
Dear Friends,

Can anyone explain why the word "Interpreter" in the quote below seems to have been changed to "Expounder" in a 1997 publication of the Will and Testament?

"He is the Interpreter of the Word of God and after him will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants."

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 11)

Thank you,

Re: The Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:33 pm
by Sen McGlinn
Shoghi Effendi sometimes revised his own translations.

He first translated the Will on February 25 1922: this translation is repeated in the 1968 booklet version of the Will, which has "expounder of the words of God". An earlier draft of that translation is revealed in Imogene Hoagg’s letter to Nellie French, January 2 1922, online at

He later amended the 1922 translation, in extracts published in Bahai World vol.1 and vol. 2 (page 16-17). These amendments have not been incorporated in any later versions that I have seen. There are 20 significant variants in these two versions, where the BW version is the last one done by Shoghi Effendi, but his change has not been incorporated in currently circulated texts.

The phrase "the Interpreter of the Word of God" is the translation as it appears in "Dispensation of Baha'u'llah" written in 1934.

I think "interpreter" is the better translation of Mubayyin, which contains the verb for "explain." An expounder talks it up: we are all expounders of the Word of God, and the one who does this authoritatively is Abdu'l-Baha.

Re: The Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:27 pm
by larry
Thank you Sen for responding to this query. The information you provided is most helpful and truly appreciated.

Warm regards,

Re: The Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 10:31 pm
by pilgrimbrent
Interesting that Shoghi Effendi uses both words here: ". . . 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Center of His Covenant with all mankind and the appointed Interpreter and Expounder of His Word."
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 35)