Making the Crooked Straight A Contribution to Baha"i Apologetics by Udo Schaefer

Cover of: Making the Crooked Straight | Udo Schaefer

Published by George Ronald in Oxford, United Kingdom .

Written in English

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Subjects:

  • Baha"i,
  • Baha" i,
  • Religion - World Religions

About the Edition

CONTENTS



FOREWORD, by J.A. McLean xiii

PREFACE TO THE GERMAN EDITION (1995) xxi

PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION (2000) xxiii

INTRODUCTION 1



PART I: METHODOLOGY



CHAPTER 1 OVERVIEW 15

I. The limits of religious knowledge 15

II. ‘Critical literature’ 18

III. The renegade as researcher 27

IV. The origins of the conflict 30



CHAPTER 2 ON FICICCHIA’S METHODOLOGY 36

I. Opportunism—the supreme principle of the Bahá’í Faith? 37

II. Ficicchia’s standpoint 40

III. Ficicchia’s portraits of the founding figures 56

1. The Báb 56

2. Bahá’u’lláh 58

IV. Ficicchia’s portrait of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 73

V. The portrait of Shoghi Effendi 90

VI. Ficicchia’s distorted image of the Bahá’í community 102

VII. Ficicchia’s semantics 119

VIII. The Bahá’ís—sectarian escapists and dangerous extremists?126

1. On the charge of ‘unworldly isolation’ 126

2. On the charge of subversion 135



PART II: COMMUNITY AND DOCTRINE



CHAPTER 3 FICICCHIA’S PORTRAIT OF THE COMMUNITY

AND ITS ORDER 141

I. The background: the Protestant concept of law 142

II. Ficicchia’s critique of the order of the Bahá’í community and its foundations 149

1. The Universal House of Justice — not foreseen by Bahá’u’lláh? 149

2. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s testament—disputed? 152

3. The Guardianship—a dictatorship? 154

4. On the alleged ‘doctrinal legislation’ by the Universal House of Justice 158

5. The community: a ‘steward of the grace’? 160

6. Shoghi Effendi charged with having prevented the establishment of the Universal House of Justice 164

7. On the subject of infallibility 166

8. Freedom to teach—teaching authority 194

9. Prepublication review—a censorship? 209

10. Forbidden books? 213

11. Freedom of expression prohibited? 214

12. Criticism prohibited? 219

13. Covenant-breaking and excommunication 224

14. ‘Tricks’ and ‘the pressure of the plan’

in missionary activities? 238

15. ‘Complete renunciation of Christian beliefs’? 243

16. The community—anti-democratic, centralist, secular? 245

17. Ficicchia’s (mis)judgement of the Bahá’í community 254



CHAPTER 4 FICICCHIA’S PRESENTATION OF BAHÁ’Í DOCTRINE 260

I. On the concept of revelation 260

II. On the station of Bahá’u’lláh 262

III. On the Bahá’í doctrine of grace 267

IV. On the Bahá’í concept of human nature 273

V. On claims to absoluteness and exclusiveness 276

VI. Emphatically rationalist, hostile to science, and esoteric, all at once? 289

VII. On the concept of liberty 301



CHAPTER 5 FICICCHIA’S PORTRAYAL OF BAHÁ’Í LAW 317

I. The Law: A provocation 317

II. Suppression and dissimulation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas? 322

III. Difficulties of publication 329

1. Previous publications and translations 331

2. On the Royal Asiatic Society’s English-language edition of 1961 334

3. Problems of producing an authentic translation 337

4. On the nature of divine legislation 338

IV. Specific issues 352

1. Taqíyya—a law of Bahá’u’lláh? 352

2. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas—a sketchy ‘framework’? 362

3. The sacred texts—falsified, interpolated? 369

V. Some corrections regarding the content of particular laws 385

1. On ritual daily prayer 385

2. On the cut of the hair 390

3. Bahá’í holy days and the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár 393

VI. Corrections of other distortions 396

1. On the dogmatic foundation of the law 396

2. On the balance between justice and love 398

3. A casuist system of ethics? 403

4. A rigorous religious law? 409

VII. On the nature of the law of God 411



CHAPTER 6 BAHÁ’Í POLITICAL THOUGHT 418

I. The Bahá’í community: authoritarian and antidemocratic? 420

1. The Bahá’í Faith—‘political Mahdism’? 421

2. A ‘claim to total power’ or fulfilment of

eschatological prophecy? 424

3. The need for peace 427

4. A centralist global state? 432

5. The eschatological realm of peace 435

6. Claim to power or service to humanity? 440

7. ‘Total possession taken of the individual’? 444

II. Bahá’u’lláh—royalist and hostile to liberty? 446

1. Bahá’u’lláh’s statements concerning kingship 448

2. A power political alliance between church and state? 451

3. Non-violent neutrality or partisanship? 453

4. Universalism versus nationalism 454

5. Justified ‘opposition’ or persecution of a non-violent religious minority? 457

III. On the way to a new type of politics 464

1. The concept of politics in Bahá’í scripture 465

2. Loyalty to state authority 468

3. Bahá’í elections: a non-partisan form of democratic appointment of government 470

4. A new model for political decision-making 473

5. Responsibility for the world we live in 476



PART III: HISTORICAL ISSUES



CHAPTER 7 PROBLEMS OF RESEARCH IN THE FIELD OF RELIGIOUS HISTORY 481



CHAPTER 8 FICICCHIA’S SOURCES 492

I. Kitáb-i-Nuqt.atu’l-Káf and Táríkh-i-Jadíd 496

1. Kitáb-i-Nuqt.atu’l-Káf 500

2. Táríkh-i-Jadíd 513

II. Hasht Bihisht 522



CHAPTER 9 FICICCHIA’S EUROPEAN SOURCES 529

I. The orientalist Edward Granville Browne 529

II. The Protestant minister Hermann Römer 546

1. Römer’s presentation: its structure and influence on later works 551

2. Römer’s portrayal of Bábí and Bahá’í history 554

3. Römer’s interpretation of Bábí/Bahá’í doctrine 559



CHAPTER 10 SOME ASPECTS OF BÁBÍ AND BAHÁ’Í HISTORY 571

I. Mahdi claim and messianic secret 571

1. Ficicchia’s sources 572

2. The messianic secret 579

3. The religious and political background 579

4. The eschatological expectations of heterodox Shí‘a Islam 583

5. The Báb’s claim 586

II. Bahá’u’lláh’s claims 598

1. The prophecy concerning the advent of Man yuz.hiruhu’lláh 601

2. Two alleged proofs of the supremacy of Mírzá Yahyá in Baghdád 605

3. On the dating of Bahá’u’lláh’s declaration 610

III. Mírzá Yahyá Azal 618

IV. Mírzá Yahyá as head of the Bábís and opponent of Bahá’u’lláh 631

V. The cases of murder and attempted murder 650

1. The murder of Dayyán 652

2. The murder of three Azalís in ‘Akká 657

3. The attempted murders committed by Mírzá Yahyá in Edirne 667

VI. On the question of schism 671



CHAPTER 11 THE WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ 674

I. The forgery theory 678

II. The religious and historical background 680

III. On the content of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament 687

IV. The appointment of Shoghi Effendi as ‘Guardian of the Faith’—a historical overview 705

V. The inventor of the forgery theory and her epigones 724

VI. The arguments concerning style and content 735

VII. The graphological assessment 744

VIII. The ideological reasons for rejecting the Will and Testament 753

IX. On the logical structure and stringency of the arguments 763

X. Conclusion 774



CONCLUSION 777



APPENDIX 785



BIBLIOGRAPHY 794



INDEX OF NAMES 827



GENERAL INDEX 836

Book details

Classifications
LC ClassificationsBP365 .S355 2002
The Physical Object
FormatHardcover
Paginationxxiv, 862 p.
Number of Pages862
ID Numbers
Open LibraryOL11609763M
ISBN 100853984433
ISBN 109780853984436

Download Making the Crooked Straight

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George Ronald, OxfordHard Cover, pages, ISBN ; In co-authorship with Nicola Towfigh and Ulrich Gollmer. This book was written in response to a pseudo-academic monograph on the Bahá'í Faith by an embittered ex-Bahá'í, Francesco Ficicchia, claiming to.

Prior to the publication of Desinformation als Methode (Disinformation as Method) by Olms Verlag inthe original German version of Making the Crooked Straight, Ficicchia's book had succeeded in being touted as the "standard work" (Standardwerk) on the Bahá'í Faith in Germany.

Prior to the publication of Desinformation als Methode (Disinformation as Method) by Olms Verlag inthe original German version of Making the Crooked Straight, Ficicchia’s book had succeeded in being touted as the “standard work” (Standardwerk) on the Bahá’í Faith in Germany. Making the Crooked Straight: A Contribution to Baha'i Apologetics [excerpt], by Udo Schaefer and Nicola Towfigh ().

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