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Illuminating the Layers: A Guide to Bahá'í Interpretive Texts

The passing of Baha'u'llah ended a period of nearly 50 years of continuous and progressive revelation as the twin prophets unveiled to mankind a priceless heritage of hundreds of tablets, books, poems, treatises and commentaries. Following this period (from 1844-1892) came the incomparable ministry of Abdu'l-Baha, styled by Baha'u'llah "the Master". His interpretations and explanations unfolded further to the world the endless gifts of an unprecedented dispensation. The passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha was followed by the ministry of Shoghi Effendi, who further unfolded the implications of Baha'u'llah's anticipated World Order. A radical order in which Justice was to be made the purpose and scope of collective power. This later period was the period of interpretation, not revelation. It was the fulfillment of the prophecy that the "day will not be followed by night". Now that the administrative order has been established, divine authority has carried forward, but not the sphere of interpretation. As explained by Shoghi Effend: “...it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Bahá’u’lláh has not expressly revealed.”

What Defines Bahá'í Interpretive Texts?

Who Holds the Authority to Interpret Bahá'í Writings?

How Do Interpretive Texts Relate to Bahá'í Revelation?

Are Bahá'í Interpretive Texts Considered Infallible?

What Is the Significance of Bahá'í Interpretive Texts?

Do Interpretive Texts Cover All Aspects of Bahá'í Law?

How Are Disputes on Interpretation Resolved Post-Shoghi Effendi?

Can Bahá'ís Offer Personal Interpretations of Holy Texts?

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