The Dangers of Silence and the Practice of Responsible Apologetics

By Jack McLean

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #18
Trent Park Campus: London, England
August 21–24, 1998
(see list of papers from #18)

    Until the publication of "Des information als Methode" ("Disinformation as Method") (1995) by Udo Schaefer, Nicola Towfiqh and Ulrich Gollmer, the monograph of Bahá'í and "covenant breaker" Frederico Ficicchia's German language edition of The Bahá'í Faith — Religion of the Future? History, Teachings and Organisation, A Critical Inquiry (1981), despite its serious distortions, had been given a positive reception in some academic theological circles in Germany as an authoritative and "standard work" on the Bahá'í Faith. This paper has two main foci: (1) to report and to reflect upon the "the dangers of silence"; i.e. how Ficicchia's book, during the fifteen years following its publication, gained entry into German academic circles as a respectable and authoritative work on the Bahá'í Faith, and (2) to examine the role of apologetics in Bahá'í scholarship which itself is in danger of being perceived as a less than rigorous or sub-scholarly mode of discourse.

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