Udo Schaefer article

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Keyvan
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Udo Schaefer article

Postby Keyvan » Sun Apr 08, 2007 3:30 pm

I feel like this article "Infallible Institutions?" should be removed. It's unscholarly and misleading. I'm seeing links pop up to it in forums everywhere.

in this article from Kalimat, Schaffer attempts to contradict the idea of absolute Infallibility of the institutions of the Guardian and Universal House of Justice.

schaffer makes it a specific point to address this "UNERRING" idea as can be seen in the writings. That is to say these institutions are "unerring" and "whatsoever they decide is of God." in doing so he calls in every denotation of infallibility in the Will and Testament. he says that these references to being "UNERRING" are juxtaposed by references to understanding a discrepancy in a text.
..but then you go to the footnote and it says "there is one exception to this" that is, one exception to the "UNERRING" being juxtaposed to that which would make it seem that its confined to expounding a text
and that is.....

"The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God."

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



now the fact that schaffer hides this in the footnotes is absurd. there are only 3 references to infallibility in the Will and Testament. Who is Schaefer to downplay the importance of a whole third of the references? (let alone suggest such juxtaposition would be grounds for a containment of meaning, as he is not the Guardian to say such a thing)

Whats worse is, of those references, the one above is the only one that refers to the institutions being "unerring"

i mean.. come one....his whole argument to say unerring is juxtaposed next to that which would confine it only to expounding text is thus totally baseless. with zero references to stand on.

furthermore the Guardian who is the only Authorized Interpreter of the text after Abdu'l Baha has referred to these institutions as Infallible (purely Infallible) on many many many occasions, in English, Arabic, Persian, and even Turkish.

the bottom line is that the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice are unerring, period. whatsoever they decide is of God.

this article seems like another sad attempt from the kalimat agenda.
i feel it should be deleted, this isnt h-net.[/u]

Sen McGlinn
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Postby Sen McGlinn » Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:04 am

No: the contents of the library should not be selected according to what someone thinks is orthodox. This is a good academic article, well based on the sources.

You write
Whats worse is, of those references, the one above is the only one that refers to the institutions being "unerring"


but the verse you refer to, does not say that the institutions are unerring. It says the guidance is unerring.

If you feel you have valid critiques of Schaeffer's article, write an article about them. That's how we move forward

Keyvan
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Postby Keyvan » Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:40 pm

Sen McGlinn wrote:No: the contents of the library should not be selected according to what someone thinks is orthodox. This is a good academic article, well based on the sources.

You write
Whats worse is, of those references, the one above is the only one that refers to the institutions being "unerring"


but the verse you refer to, does not say that the institutions are unerring. It says the guidance is unerring.

If you feel you have valid critiques of Schaeffer's article, write an article about them. That's how we move forward


On Baha'i Library there are no articles that attempt to take apart the institutions outside of this one. by that logic we would have articles from ahmad sohrab and latter day works of juan cole.

Do you suggest that say the decisions produced by the Universal House of Justice would be from anything other than Divine Guidence? "Whatsoever they decide is of God"

curt
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Udo Schaefer Article

Postby curt » Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:19 pm

Interesting thread guys. A few thoughts...

I have noticed over the past ten years or so that Baha'is often get hung up on the word infallible. It is as though in conversation one draws an invisible line to see who is on which side of the covenant. It saddens me to no end.

I never use the word infallible when talking about the House of Justice. Why? Because I once heard a well meaning teacher of the Faith remark that there were nine infallible men in Haifa, Israel! That is quite a slide from the House of Justice being under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One (the Bab). By keeping infallibility at its proper level (the realm of the Manifestations), I find it easier to explain, understand. and maintain a vital clarity of thought on the subject.

Another reason I don't use the word infallible is that in The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah, The Administrative Order the Guardian doesn't even use the word infallible! He does use it elsewhere but sparingly. I don't know but I suspect he had good reasons for that.

Clearly, we all mature spiritually at different rates.

Curt

Sen McGlinn
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Postby Sen McGlinn » Tue Apr 10, 2007 3:05 am

On Baha'i Library there are no articles that attempt to take apart the institutions outside of this one.


The article you object to has been reviewed by the NSA of the UK Schaeffer is absolutely not trying to take apart the institutions !
He has been a member of the National Assembly of Germany for many years and may still be a member (he's quite old now). He's one of the best known Bahai authors, and you can see from

http://www.udoschaefer.com/books.php

that the most recent of his books was published by the German Bahai Publishing trust in 2003. And when the NSA of Germany published its ground rules, who was asked to write the Foreword? Udo Scaheffer, who else. There are few in the Bahai world with a better grasp of the Covenant than this man.

Do you suggest that say the decisions produced by the Universal House of Justice would be from anything other than Divine Guidence? "Whatsoever they decide is of God"


You are quoting from the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha. But in the Bahai Faith we have a Guardian who was the authorised interpreter of the Bahai Writings, including those of Abdu'l-Baha. And he wrote a precise interpretation of what this passage in the Will and Testament means. Shoghi Effendi (the Guardian) turns it from a carte blanche to do whatever they want into a piece of constitutional law, which says what each can do, and what each cannot do. Udo Schaeffer has read this (and he was a senior legal expert in his working life) and he attempts to make precise deductions from what Shoghi Effendi says. If you do not like what he says, you might consider the possibility that it is because you do not know as much about the topic as Udo Schaeffer does. You could go to the text by Shoghi Effendi (in "The Administrative Order" section of "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah") and see what you think it means. If you think it means something different to what Schaeffer says, write a paper and explain why.

Keyvan
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Postby Keyvan » Tue Apr 10, 2007 6:57 pm

Sen McGlinn wrote:
On Baha'i Library there are no articles that attempt to take apart the institutions outside of this one.


The article you object to has been reviewed by the NSA of the UK Schaeffer is absolutely not trying to take apart the institutions !
He has been a member of the National Assembly of Germany for many years and may still be a member (he's quite old now). He's one of the best known Bahai authors, and you can see from

http://www.udoschaefer.com/books.php

that the most recent of his books was published by the German Bahai Publishing trust in 2003. And when the NSA of Germany published its ground rules, who was asked to write the Foreword? Udo Scaheffer, who else. There are few in the Bahai world with a better grasp of the Covenant than this man.

Do you suggest that say the decisions produced by the Universal House of Justice would be from anything other than Divine Guidence? "Whatsoever they decide is of God"


You are quoting from the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha. But in the Bahai Faith we have a Guardian who was the authorised interpreter of the Bahai Writings, including those of Abdu'l-Baha. And he wrote a precise interpretation of what this passage in the Will and Testament means. Shoghi Effendi (the Guardian) turns it from a carte blanche to do whatever they want into a piece of constitutional law, which says what each can do, and what each cannot do. Udo Schaeffer has read this (and he was a senior legal expert in his working life) and he attempts to make precise deductions from what Shoghi Effendi says. If you do not like what he says, you might consider the possibility that it is because you do not know as much about the topic as Udo Schaeffer does. You could go to the text by Shoghi Effendi (in "The Administrative Order" section of "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah") and see what you think it means. If you think it means something different to what Schaeffer says, write a paper and explain why.








Sen I have studied this more than you can possibly imagine. All you can do is praise Udo Schaefer but you have not made it a point to counter what I just explained.

At what point would the Universal House of Justice possibly decide something that would be outside of Divine Guidence? They wouldnt.

You affirmed here the authority in Interpretation of the Guardian. However, Schaefer here makes the boldest claims escaping those bounds of interpretation. By suggesting that since mention of their Infallibility is at times juxtaposed beside a line refering to matters unclear in the text, would contain the Infallible decisions towards direct expounding of a law, etc, is ludicrous.

This article has become a tool for dissenting and critical individuals to feel within bounds to make the criticisms they want to make and have a clear mind that its okay becuse the decision they are criticising probably isnt an infallible one anyway. and thats absurd, its logical fallacy, Shaefers article has no leg to stand on. its a kalimat thing.

and even if you wanted to believe that, what individual believer is of such a knowledge that they can accurately say whether or not a decision is in effect expounding previous text or not. for example, above all such individuals criticize teaching efforts and believe their own plans would be better. well how can one say the Universal House of Justice isnt in all their decisions expanding on the Tablets of the Divine Plan? its rediculous.

this article is full of holes that are hidden in footnotes so people wont notice, and has no worth other than a foundation for dissenters jurisprudence

oh and a word on glorifying udo as a basis for your argument. you could say the same thing about ahmad sohrab and juan cole, but that doesnt change the fact about their own latter day works.

Sen McGlinn
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Postby Sen McGlinn » Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:49 am

All you can do is praise Udo Schaefer but you have not made it a point to counter what I just explained.


Well perhaps you have not explained it clearly enough. All I am hearing is an arrogant presumption to know better than others. Where is your substantial critique to the actual argument - not words you put in Schaefer's mouth, but what he actually says?

His article was reviewed once in the UK for Bahai Studies Review, and has been re-reviewed (and possibly altered) in the USA because it is republished in Reason and Revelation: New Directions in Bahá'í Thought, ed. S. Fazel and J. Danesh (Kalimát). He's just had a banquet put on in his honour by the National Assembly of Germany, and a special edition of Payam-e Bahai featured him in October 2006. Do you really think that a couple of people on Bahai-library are going to decide he's too heretical for words and turf his article out?

At what point would the Universal House of Justice possibly decide something that would be outside of Divine Guidence? They wouldnt.


"They wouldn't" is a hope, not an argument. And if you go to the diagram about halfway down, you will see that Schaefer does not say that they would decide something outside of divine guidance, but he has thought rather carefully about what 'divine guidance' can mean.

Schaefer has presented five lines of argument (that I noticed), citing texts, facts and logic, for thinking that the infallibility of the UHJ, like that of the Guardian, is not all-encompassing but has inherent limits, and further that it relates only to acts of general legislation not to administrative decisions and individual judicial decisions. So far as I can see, your objection amounts to saying that part of one of those arguments is weak. I don't find it weak: when two things are consistently mentioned together in the Writings, it is reasonable to suppose there is some relation between them. But if you find it weak, well and good. It is not necessary that everything on Bahai-library appeals 100% to everyone. I think it is a very valuable article, which makes good points. I also have my criticisms, but I don't try to get the article banned. I listen carefully to what the author is saying, and then express my criticisms with reason and argument.

Keyvan
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Postby Keyvan » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:31 pm

Sen McGlinn wrote:
All you can do is praise Udo Schaefer but you have not made it a point to counter what I just explained.


Well perhaps you have not explained it clearly enough. All I am hearing is an arrogant presumption to know better than others. Where is your substantial critique to the actual argument - not words you put in Schaefer's mouth, but what he actually says?

His article was reviewed once in the UK for Bahai Studies Review, and has been re-reviewed (and possibly altered) in the USA because it is republished in Reason and Revelation: New Directions in Bahá'í Thought, ed. S. Fazel and J. Danesh (Kalimát). He's just had a banquet put on in his honour by the National Assembly of Germany, and a special edition of Payam-e Bahai featured him in October 2006. Do you really think that a couple of people on Bahai-library are going to decide he's too heretical for words and turf his article out?

At what point would the Universal House of Justice possibly decide something that would be outside of Divine Guidence? They wouldnt.


"They wouldn't" is a hope, not an argument. And if you go to the diagram about halfway down, you will see that Schaefer does not say that they would decide something outside of divine guidance, but he has thought rather carefully about what 'divine guidance' can mean.

Schaefer has presented five lines of argument (that I noticed), citing texts, facts and logic, for thinking that the infallibility of the UHJ, like that of the Guardian, is not all-encompassing but has inherent limits, and further that it relates only to acts of general legislation not to administrative decisions and individual judicial decisions. So far as I can see, your objection amounts to saying that part of one of those arguments is weak. I don't find it weak: when two things are consistently mentioned together in the Writings, it is reasonable to suppose there is some relation between them. But if you find it weak, well and good. It is not necessary that everything on Bahai-library appeals 100% to everyone. I think it is a very valuable article, which makes good points. I also have my criticisms, but I don't try to get the article banned. I listen carefully to what the author is saying, and then express my criticisms with reason and argument.






please rearead my original post you clearly missed everything i said. and went on to praise ugo shaefer again. and like i said, by that logic you should be praising the latter day works of ahmad sohrab and juan cole, because at a time they were respected figures in the Baha'i community.

he has not built a case. half his article is just a build up of common knowledge, then he goes into his actual thesis which can only be proven by disproving the clear and expressed Holy Text denoting that ALL these Institutions decisions are unerring and of God.

go read what i wrote, and actually address it. i dont care about banquets ;-)

Sen McGlinn
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Postby Sen McGlinn » Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:10 am

The point about the banquet is that it was given *after* this article was published (and reviewed) twice. Are you really not getting the point? You are entirely on your own with your objections to this article. No-one has supported you on this list, and the reviews and publications and the banquet are all indications that people who know, don't share your objections. The article has in fact been published two more times, in German and English, in a book "making the crooked straight" - and when the German edition was published, the Universal House of Justice gave it a special mention in its Ridvan message. See
http://bahai.org.uk/journal/main/j1100/j1100i.htm
Eventually you might just think that maybe the problem is with you ??

his actual thesis which can only be proven by disproving the clear and expressed Holy Text denoting that ALL these Institutions decisions are unerring and of God.


ahah ! Is this your objection? But that is simple, and is covered in his footnote 94. The same thing was said in the Will and Testament about the decisions of the Guardian, yet the Guardian said that infallibility did not cover what he said about economics, science etc. One supposes that the Guardian knew what he was talking about, and was not disproving the clear Holy Text?

Once again, I think if you studied what Shoghi Effendi has written on this subject, and do not focus solely on the Will and Testament, you will find Schaefer's article easier to understand. You may still not agree with him, but at the moment I think you are not understanding him, because you do not know enough about the Bahai teachings on infallibility. Scahefer says at the outset that

As Shoghi Effendi himself has clarified the extent of his infallibility as Guardian and formulated its immanent limitations, the focus of this article is on the Universal House of Justice: does its infallibility operate unlimitedly with the result that absolutely every decision is covered by it? Or, if this question is to be answered in the negative, what exactly is the scope of its infallibility?


In 'Making the crooked straight" he does cover that previous material, because the book is written for a non-Bahai audience. If you get the book, (published by George Ronald) just go to "infallibility" in the index, and it will lead you to all the sources and arguments

Keyvan
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Postby Keyvan » Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:01 am

Sen McGlinn wrote:The point about the banquet is that it was given *after* this article was published (and reviewed) twice. Are you really not getting the point? You are entirely on your own with your objections to this article. No-one has supported you on this list, and the reviews and publications and the banquet are all indications that people who know, don't share your objections. The article has in fact been published two more times, in German and English, in a book "making the crooked straight" - and when the German edition was published, the Universal House of Justice gave it a special mention in its Ridvan message. See
http://bahai.org.uk/journal/main/j1100/j1100i.htm
Eventually you might just think that maybe the problem is with you ??

his actual thesis which can only be proven by disproving the clear and expressed Holy Text denoting that ALL these Institutions decisions are unerring and of God.


ahah ! Is this your objection? But that is simple, and is covered in his footnote 94. The same thing was said in the Will and Testament about the decisions of the Guardian, yet the Guardian said that infallibility did not cover what he said about economics, science etc. One supposes that the Guardian knew what he was talking about, and was not disproving the clear Holy Text?

Once again, I think if you studied what Shoghi Effendi has written on this subject, and do not focus solely on the Will and Testament, you will find Schaefer's article easier to understand. You may still not agree with him, but at the moment I think you are not understanding him, because you do not know enough about the Bahai teachings on infallibility. Scahefer says at the outset that

As Shoghi Effendi himself has clarified the extent of his infallibility as Guardian and formulated its immanent limitations, the focus of this article is on the Universal House of Justice: does its infallibility operate unlimitedly with the result that absolutely every decision is covered by it? Or, if this question is to be answered in the negative, what exactly is the scope of its infallibility?


In 'Making the crooked straight" he does cover that previous material, because the book is written for a non-Bahai audience. If you get the book, (published by George Ronald) just go to "infallibility" in the index, and it will lead you to all the sources and arguments




first, the article is full of quotations as previously defining the scope of Infallibility and authority of the institutions, this making up the majority of his article. the next part is his personal opinion. do you honestly believe that approval of a text is a blessing of infallible interpretation of a single person? no. its the opinion of one man and claims it to be so. in turn that has become celebrated (by those who can use it) as actual jurisprudence, hence why kalimat is its publisher.

next, see this is why you need to quote things. you taking words out of context. on a letter on behalf of the Guardian it was explained that all things not relating to the Cause of God, Shoghi Effendi was subject to fallibility.

this is NOT the institution of Guardianship, thats Shoghi Effendi, there is a difference.

with the Universal House of Justice, this is not an issue since the collective decisions of the body only form within the function of the Institution.

people have been trying to twist the former as to apply to the latter so to be able to personally make conscious choices to segment the words of the Universal House of Justice into categories of things that can be followed and not followed.

why do you think it was kalimat that published this? i had personally communicated with the guy that runs it, and in our exchange what he posited as prerequisite for what he believes makes it okay to self-righteously criticize the decisions of the Universal House of Justice was the thesis of that bogus article.


1050. Infallibility of the Guardian is Not for Individual Believers to Limit or to Judge

"Shoghi Effendi was asked several times during his ministry to define the sphere of his operation and his infallibility. The replies he gave and which were written on his behalf are most illuminating. He explains that he is not an infallible authority on subjects such as economics and science, nor does he go into technical matters since his infallibility is confined to 'matters which are related strictly to the Cause'. He further points out that 'he is not, like the Prophet, omniscient at will', that his 'infallibility covers interpretation of the Revealed Word and its application', and that he is also 'infallible in the protection of the Faith'. Furthermore, in one of the letters, the following guideline is set forth:

"'... It is not for individual believers to limit the sphere of the Guardian's authority, or to judge when they have to obey the Guardian and when they are free to reject his judgment. Such an attitude would evidently lead to confusion and to schism. The Guardian being the appointed interpreter of the Teachings, it is his responsibility to state what matters which, affecting the interests of the Faith, demand on the part of the believers, complete and unqualified obedience to his instructions.'"

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to and individual believer, August 22, 1977)

(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 310)

--

please do not try to patronize me. its foolish as you have not engaged me enough to realize that that is completely inappropriate for someone of my understanding. likewise, i have not patronized you, though if i were more juvenile and less tactful i probably would have.



anyway, yes schaefer makes mention of Shoghi Effendi defining His own sphere, and then goes on limit and judge by his own opinion the Infallibility of the Universal House of Justice.

look at the quote above. do you think that such a quote would be applicable to one Institution and not the Other?

once again you have not addressed the fact that the Universal House of Justice like the Guardian, within their INSTITUTIONAL action (mentioned only because the Guardian is a person underneath it), are UNERRING. Schaeffer attemtped to limit that, though his argument was not built for the reasons i mentioned in a previous post.


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