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The Preservation of the Baha'i Sacred Writings

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Abstract:

The Baha'i Faith is in a unique position compared to other religions in that it possesses numerous original writings of its central figures, Baha'u'llah, the Bab and Abdul-Baha. These original writings are a source of guidance and inspiration to over five million Baha'is around the world. They are also critical to the spiritual and administrative development of the worldwide Baha'i community. Possession of original writings such as these carries a dual responsibility, the delicate balancing of preserving and providing access to them. During his lifetime, Baha'u'llah addressed the issues of preservation of and access to his writings. He stated, for example, general principles on the way his writings should be preserved, and gave practical advice on how to handle his tablets and documents. Preserving this body of original writings will ensure their availability in the future, and allow historians and scholars to delve into past, present and future religio-historical developments of the Baha'i Faith. This paper reviews modern preservation and conservation theory and compares them with Baha'u'llah's statements on preservation. Examples of current conservation and restoration practices at the Baha'i World Centre are also presented.

Keywords: Baha'i scripture; conservation; cultural heritage; manuscripts; original immaculacy; preservation; pristine quality

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/bsr.15.133_7

Affiliations: George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, Conservation Department.

Publication date: 2009-05-01

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  • Baha'i Studies Review is an academic journal dealing with all aspects of the study of the Baha'i Faith. All papers submitted are subject to a peer review process.
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