Al-Kitāb Al-Aqdas: Elder & Miller TranslationPosted: February 28, 2018
Posted from Reddit.com
There was a post made here a while back asking about if this translation of the Bahá’í The Most Holy Book — perhaps the most honest and relibable translation — was available online or if someone could upload it. I looked, and I was unable to find this entire translation online with the introduction and all the notes. I was only able to find assorted quotations and analyses, and I also found this which is a multilinear translation of the Aqdas with the authorized Haifan Bahá’í translation, Haddad’s translation, and the Elder & Miller translation. The E & M translation however wasn’t available as a full document, so I took the liberty tonight of pasting each passage and organizing them all into a PDF for convenience’s sake.
You can view it here:
I hope this is useful for you all.
The differences between it and the authorized translation I read when I was a Bahá’í were quite shocking.
When/If I get my hands on the physical copy of this translation, I’ll post one with the introduction and the notes.
Please point out any mistakes I made in my transcription, and I will fix them as soon as I can.
What I particularly like about the Elder & Miller translation is that it uses contemporary English. The 1992 translation commissioned by Universal House of Justice unnecessarily uses words like “hath,” “heareth,” “thy,” and “ye” in an attempt to mimic the tone of the King James Version of the Bible.
How do the Bahá’ís reckon that two differing translations of the same text can be authoritative lol? Thank you for sharing this.
Selections from the Writings of the Báb was compiled and published in 1976 by the Universal House of Justice, sixteen years before the Universal House of Justice published the full Kitáb-i-Aqdas in 1992.
The use of alternate wording is likely the result of a new committee with new authority.
What is further odd is that for a definitive, religious text, the translation to other languages was conducted through the English version and not the original Arabic. This is a practice justified with some dubious reasoning.
Speaking of SWB I noticed this very interesting passage when I was copying this translation:
These are the stipulations of God. Do not transgress them because of your own passions. Follow what you are commanded to do by the Rising-place of Explanation (al- Bayan)
From this is it is clear that Bahá did not abrogate Bayán and that with whatever he did not specifically override of Bayán it is incumbent for Bahá’ís to follow the Bayán where Bahá is unspecific. This is further demonstrated by the fact that Bahá’s laws are essentially a rehash of the Bayán, and he also states in a 1862 letter:
I swear by God that if any one of the People of the Bayan were to mention that the Book [i.e. Bayan] is abrogated, may God smash the mouth of the speaker and the calumniator, and by him who holds my soul and myself in his hands one letter from the Bayan is the most loved with me than all that are in the heavens and on the earth
In a letter to Sayyid Ibrahim he says:
Consider bygone ages and reflect upon what god had inflicted on their peoples for having contended amongst themselves, for having turned aside from His Countenance, for having strayed away from His path, for having done wrong to His Cause, and for having associated any creature with the Sovereign of His Unity, for which they were of the perished. Have you ever heard religion of god to exist before it is confirmed, or commandment of god to be abrogated before it becomes manifest? ….. Nay, by my lord, the lord of heavens, no one can abrogate one letter from that which has been revealed in the Bayan …..
Bahá’í translations neglect often to shed light on the original Arabic/Persian that is in the texts. In the authorized translation it reads, concealing the meaning:
These, verily, are the Laws of God; transgress them not at the prompting of your base and selfish desires. Observe ye the injunctions laid upon you by Him Who is the Dawning-place of Utterance
How then can Bahá’ís follow what their leader told them to follow, the Bayán, if it is not available for them in other languages such as English, except in “selections” which don’t even encompass all the laws revealed in it?!