The Relationship between Content and Context in the Kitab-i-Aqdas
By Habib Riazati
Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #5 (English)
Bahá'í National Center: Wilmette, Illinois, US
March 31 - April 2, 1995.
Presented Sunday, 9:15-10:00
Universality of the laws of the Aqdas in spite of the varying contexts in which they are expressed. Also, the matter of the infallibility of the Manifestations and the historical circumstances of the revelation of specific universal laws.
Outline of Talk
1. The Universality of all the laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
A. The contents ("message") is universal while the context in which the message is set
might not and need not be universal.
B. Contexts are variable while content could be constant.
2. The universal aspect of the content is an aspect of infallibility
B. Cultural diversity and various ethical systems
C. The possible features of a universal code of law in the world of humanity
i. Kant's empirical theory
ii. Hegel's dialectical approach
iii. The role of science in the infallibility of a given law
a. Is there such a thing as "infallibility" for a human thinker?
b. Philosophers, scientists, and Manifestations
1. Space and time
2. Limits in4x)sed on them
3. Infallibility factor in them
c. Relative infallibility, which is a function of time and the situation, is a
fact of life.
d. Infallibility in religion
1. What does it mean?
2. What are the ranges of infallibility?
3. What are the positive impacts of believing in infallibility?
D. The direct relationship between the infallibility of a Manifestation and the universality of a given law.
3. Some examples of relationship between content and context
A. The public baths in Persia (context) and using clean water (content)
B. Dowry, which exists in almost all cultures
iii. Western countries
A. Relationship between context and culture
B. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a charter that creates diversity of contexts while preserving
universality of contents
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