Truth, Interpretation and Context.

This is an archived post from the old bulletin board. For new posts, see the forum.

Posted by Stuart ( on November 22, 2002 at 09:25:18:

In Reply to: Re: Response to Stuart & Possible Original Text Included posted by anon on November 21, 2002 at 10:49:23:

There must be something inherently wrong with e-text. anon's mis-understanding of my posts and his modest indignation over a criticism never intended, cannot be explained otherwise.

I would not dare to accuse anyone of having a crisis in Faith and especially not anon. I find that some of my humour goes unnoticed and in e-form is not conveyed at all, though humour is a very small part of my communications.

I am glad to have in hand an English quotation regarding 'Allah-u-Abhá' and I thank anon for it.

My version reads:

18 It hath been ordained that every believer in God, the Lord of Judgement, shall, each day, having washed his hands and his face, seat himself and, turning unto God, repeat "Alláh-u-Abhá" ninety-five times. Such was the decree of the Maker of the Heavens when, with majesty and might, He established Himself upon the thrones of His Names. Perform ye, in like manner, ablutions for the Obligatory Prayer; this is the command of God, the Incomparable, the Unrestrained.

The differences are minimal and both are acceptable. Mine may well be in error, but error not in spirit nor meaning.

The more important post was the one in which I speak about scribes and secretaries and the historical distortions that reasonably occur, but which are valid in spirit even if not in exactitude. The Chinese Buddhist Library kept in Peking around 1000 a.d. had more than ten thousand official Buddhist scriptures. Each Patriarch, as Jonah can confirm, had the right and obligation to add sacred text, orally and/or transcribed. The Chinese language was preceded by Hindi and the Hindi by Sanscrit. Which texts in Chinese ascribed to Indian Buddhas or Chinese Patriarchs and in which language (English?) is "true"?

I only wanted to point out to anon that there is a complexity to scholarship that broadens and deepens the further back we go. Additionally, there is astonishing diversity of "truth" today, when video and other "objective" media supposedly capture truths. Then, beyond truth is interpretation and beyond interpretation is context.

Taking all this together, who owns the truth? No-one and everyone and somewhere in between. All the scholarship in the world is contradicted by all the scholarship in the world. Once upon a time there was a nucleus and a few electrons. Or should I say that once upon a time the world was flat. Then it was round. Now, the Universe is flat, like a pancake. Not that it has no thickness, it does, but it is flat. Perhaps tomorrow it will be a spiral and black holes will be the gateways to time travel. In spiritual matters there is constant evolution, with Bahaullah our Most Holy Manifestation. But even He spoke of other Manifestations to come and of cycles. He also spoke of not only one heaven but of ascending heavens, as I understand it.

Nothing changes more than change. Scholarship is a lame duck compared to vision and understanding.


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