October 2, 2022

The Style of the Persian Bayan

by Interfaith

Back from a short break! 

@mrym, would you mind sharing what your experience of reading the Bab’s Persian Bayan is like? Would you say the use of the Persian language in this 19th century text is similar to how it is used today in Iran? I am wondering if your experience with the Persian text is similar to how a modern English speaker would feel reading Henry David Thoreau or other 19th century English writers?

Then again, some of these questions are completely inadequate. One must put “Persian” in quotations here. I am under the impression that it would be impossible to properly translate the Persian Bayan into English without losing its artistic value. To really capture its artistic value, one would have to know both Persian and Arabic, for, according to what I have read, in the Persian Bayan the Bab used Arabic for nouns and adjectives, whereas he used Persian for verbs, pronouns, and particles. Furthermore, the Persian Bayan is arranged according to Arabic syntax. In other words, you can keep the same word order, translate it into Arabic, and it would be rendered eloquent to an Arabic speaker. I find this concept to be fascinating!

“If a person knowledgeable of Arabic, but unfamiliar with the Writings, reads an Arabic translation of the Persian of the Báb (without altering the syntax), he would deem it eloquent. However, a Persian unfamiliar with the Writings would not be able to understand the Persian Writings of the Báb. Therefore, we can conclude that the Persian writings of the Báb are outwardly Persian but inwardly Arabic. This is not farfetched, as the Báb seems to allude to it in the Ṣaḥífa `Adliyya (p. 4), where He says that “Arabic truths” (ḥaqíqat `arabiyyat) have flowed from His “Persian verses” (áyát-i `ajamiyyih). Behmardi also remarks that the Báb‟s penchant for Arabic nouns and adjectives in His Persian writings is also evident in the Guardian‟s Lawh-i Qarn.”

behmardi_stylistic_analysis.pdf (bahai-library.com)

(Discussion in ‘Baha’i‘ started by AhanuSep 24, 2022)

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