Author talk:`Abdu'l-Bahá

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Just made some grammatical corrections. For example, changing the tenses 'write' in the original sentence to 'wrote' which is the correct tense.

Excessive biography[edit]

The purpose of biographical notes in the heading here is to help in better understanding who the person is. More detailed biography belongs in Wikipedia.

The following have been removed as excessive.

His 'works' can be divided into six categories: 1) Those he wrote himself as books, such as A Traveller's Narrative to illustrate the Episode of the Bab, The Secret of Divine Civilization, and the Sermon on the Art of Governance, also translated as La Politique and as the Treatise on Politics. The last two of these he had published in his own lifetime, the first he gave to EG Browne and must have expected to be published.

2) Shorter letters to individuals and general messages which he wrote himself, often collected into books. Some of these, such as the Will and Testament and Tablets of the Divine Plan are very significant: they are distinguished from the first group since they were not published as books in `Abdu'l-Bahá's lifetime. Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá collects a sample of these. Many more have been published in Persian.

3) Works which he composed orally, later checking and correcting notes that were taken as he spoke. Some Answered Questions and Memorials of the Faithful are the best know of these to be translated, but there are several volumes of such corrected notes available in Persian.

4) Notes taken of his talks, either by a Persian note-taker, or a note-taker who recorded what an interpreter rendered, which `Abdu'l-Bahá did not check and correct. These are not considered by Baha'is scripture,to be and vary enormously in authenticity. There are few unapproved records of his speeches in Persian, since he actively discouraged their circulation without his correction and approval, but there are numerous reports that summarize what was said, in Persian. In English however, and to a lesser degree in French, there are several collections of these talks, based entirely or largely on notes recorded as an interpreter translated what `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke. The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Paris Talks and `Abdu'l-Bahá in London are the best known of these. This material was at first circulated in carbon copies or other informal forms, and was then copied into various printed compilations, being edited at the same time, with the result that different versions can be found in books such as those just mentioned, Divine Philosophy, Foundations of World Unity, Bahá'i Scriptures, and Bahá'i World Faith. The textual history and reliability of each reported talk has to be assessed individually; as a rule of thumb, the best versions are those published in the early numbers of Star of the West magazine, except where there are indications that a later version has been corrected by refering to parallel Persian notes of the same talk.

5) Diaries and memories of what `Abdu'l-Bahá did and what he said, either directly or speaking through an interpreter. Like the previous category, these differ widely in quality and are not Baha'i Scripture. Even those recorded without an interpreter as intermediary suffer the problem of relying on memory rather than notes taken on the spot.

6) Spurious works: as a result of the informal circulation of unbound copies of early translations of letters (category 2) and unapproved notes (category 4), it sometimes happened that a poem, prayer or piece of devotional writing that was being circulated in a similar form was put together with material from `Abdu'l-Bahá, and was later attributed to him. A few such cases have been found, all shorter pieces of a devotional character.