Posted by Rob on September 25, 2101 at 13:21:19:
In Reply to: Modern English Trans. of Bahai Writings posted by Lady D on September 23, 2101 at 19:03:06:
I've recall a letter of the Universal House of Justice that there is to be no alteration of the English Texts by Shoghi Effendi, and all future translations into English will follow his example. We have been told that the pronouns "he" and "she" must not be altered in prayers to suit our own purposes, but remain the same. Shoghi Effendi, it is said, liked very much the King James translation of the Bible.
Sorry I cannot at this time find supporting letters I refer to, though they may appear in Compilations of Compilations Vol. 2, section of Writers and Writing.
Ruhiyyih Khanum was also very outspoken about the need to retain the elegance of the English rendering of the Writings which the Guardian spent so many countless hours perfecting in his translations. She was always a staunch defender of the proper use of the English language and deplored modern usages and slang.
There is an interesting pilgrim note about a Canadian pilgrim requesting that she be given permission to translate the Holy Texts into Eskimo languages in the 1950s with the freedom to alter some words (from a tape of a talk by Hand Leroy Ioas in South Africa, 1959). For example, she knew that Eskimos didn't know what a rose was, so she asked the Guardian permission to change that word to an artic flower they were familiar with. The answer was that the word "rose" could not be altered. Just before the pilgrim was leaving for Canada on the last day of pilgrimage, she was given attar of rose (rose perfume water) by the Guardian and told to visit the Eskimos and share it with them so they would know what a rose smelled like. She did.
The Universal House of Justice, through its elucidations, and the Teaching Institutes, through courses, can greatly assist in understanding these difficult words and grammatical phrases for the average believer. Part of the problem is that the original flowery language of Persian or the exactness of Arabic must be conveyed, and ordinary English street language fails to do this, as would several other languages in the world which are not as flowery or exact. Thus the need for a world language which will fulfill both of these requirements.
And then there are the words of Shoghi Effendi himself, which by their grammatical nature, call upon us to elevate our efforts, become better readers, and learn to adjust our thought patterns to his. Most of the commonly used Writings in teaching the faith are amply simple for the seeker to understand, but once accepting these basic tenets, the seeker and believers, alike, are encouraged to elevate their abilities and rise up to the level of the more difficult Texts.
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