Re: ye olde english

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Posted by anon on October 20, 2101 at 23:19:48:

In Reply to: ye olde english posted by frank on October 20, 2101 at 09:22:33:

Hi, these were your questions: "Were the orignal baha'i scriptures that elequently written? And is there really any justification in using that style of old english in translating, which some people find hard
to read...?"

The answer to your queries, as far as I know... The original Writings were, for the most part, not written in a "common" or colloquial style of Arabic or Persian. Some notable exceptions may be some of the Hidden Words (which, I might add, are translated into more easily-read English) and the Tablet where God is reffered to as "Humorist" (which, according to the Universal House of Justice, is written in an almost colloquial style).
Even in the original languages, the Writings are of a unique and beautiful style. For example, even some people well versed in the Arabic language find Baha'u'llah's, Abdul'Baha's, and in particular, the Bab's Arabic Writings to be not only difficult to read and understand in some cases, but also of a very high caliber. Haji Mirza Hayder Ali, referring to the Book of Certitude, said that this book had a style that made it easy to read and follow, yet impossible to duplicate. There's no way of convincing anyone of the necessity for a "higher" and unique style of English translation if that person doesn't read and understand the Arabic and/or Persian Writings.

I hope what I said above makes some sort of sense, it's kinda late where I am, and I'm going to go to bed soon...

And, about whether or not there is justification for the Writings being in old English... actually, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the English used by Shoghi Effendi would _not_ be referred to as Old English. I thought Old English was approx. pre-Shakespearean English. That aside, however, I think the unique style of English used for the Writings sets it aside from other pieces of writing. The rich vocabulary and style also gives the reader a sense of the uniqueness and beauty of the original.
Plus, perhaps us as readers should train ourselves to become more familiar and comfortable with a higher standard of English. There's nothing wrong with expecting a higher standard from society in that point of view. Plus, don't forget, not everyone thinks the Writings are hard to read. Those that do find it hard to read, perhaps should simply put more time and effort into the reading and understanding of unfamiliar words or concepts.

And, as infallible interpreter of the Word of God, Shoghi Effendi obviously knew what he was doing when he translated the Holy Texts. I think we can safely say that the Guardian's choice of translation was the correct one for these Writings.

Ok, time for bed... thnx for your time!

If i made any errors above, pls correct me...

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