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un-translated writings

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:02 am
by Nowis
1) Have all the writings held at the BWC been read by scholars / Bahais or are their contents literally unknown and still lying in a big pile ?
2) Who decides what is next to be translated and made known to the Baha'i world and what is the basis for that ?
3) Could the un-translated writings contain new laws or standards of behaviour, or commandments of Baha'u'llah or are they merely letters / documents of historic interest but little consequence to the new world order of Baha'u'llah ?
4) Why are they till un-translated ? not enough interpreters ? there are too many of them ? the time isn't right ?

One person told me that possibly they contain references to world politics in the future and as such the time is not right to make the generally known, as it could draw the faith into unwelcome worldy disputes etc. This seems like a good and plausible reason

Any thoughts welcome, as I really would like to understand this and I think it would be good to have answers for people

Re: un-translated writings

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:33 am
by brettz9
As far as your questions #2 and #3, they are partly addressed I think in this general statement:

"...much of the unpublished and untranslated material consists of day-to-day correspondence and personal guidance and encouragement, which is less likely to be of general interest. The World Centre is actively pursuing a publication programme for the as yet unpublished major works of the Central Figures of the Faith and Shoghi Effendi."

(at )

(The above also has information on the number of Tablets and the ongoing work to identify, collect, and authenticate the original works.)

Re: un-translated writings

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:59 am
by brettz9
There is also the following words from the preface of the publication of Selections of the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha:

"The present compilation attempts a much wider selection than was made for those early volumes, and its perusal will give some indication of the vast range of subjects dealt with by the Master in His correspondence."

...which I think might hint to another goal so as to sample a variety of subjects. (Incidentally, I think the early volumes of 'Abdu'l-Baha while they are not always well translated and sometimes indeed more purely personal responses or on more obscure topics, I think there are nevertheless interesting ones which sometimes contain some very interesting tidbits of insight or information. Of course, one wouldn't expect any less from our Central Figures, even from the Tablets of lesser importance.)

Best wishes,

Re: un-translated writings

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:04 pm
by brettz9
You could also get some idea looking at the provisional translations on site here to see what content has not yet been translated authoritatively.

There are a couple of Tablets which had not been translated but I thought it important that we as Baha'is at least have some idea about our Writings' attitude toward the status of the last of the Imams from our parent religion, and a friend kindly helped translate one of the shorter ones: ... tence_qaim . But even with this, I can see that they are probably of lower priority to translate because they are historical questions which, in other contexts, Baha'u'llah said He was not eager to expound on, and moreover, which would probably not be of too wide of an interest in the English-speaking world (though still of some interest which is why I asked for that help).

Re: un-translated writings

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:26 pm
by Nowis
Thank you Brett - I ask because a few Baha'i I have met have a vague idea that some writings are kept back because it has been decided that we are "not ready" to hear them yet. I think this issue can play to the "conspiracy theorist" In us, so it would be nice to be informed enough
to refute this idea.

Re: un-translated writings

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:29 am
by MontanaDon
I have been told that some tablets will never be translated because they are in a jargon that nobody understands any more.
I have also been told other tablets are so ambiguous that an "official" translation will prob never be approved since there is no longer a living Guardian.

I have also heard that the Guardian said that everything we *need* is in "Gleanings".

Don C