A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Literature Review

Although no Bahá’í work may be published without approval, it is not mandatory to print an approval notice in any publication.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


At this early stage of the Cause all works by Bahá’ís which deal with the Faith, whether in the form of books, pamphlets, translations, poems, songs, radio and television scripts, films, recordings, etc. must be approved before submission for publication, whether to a Bahá’í or non-Bahá’í publisher.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


Bahá’í authors may submit their works for review to any National Spiritual Assembly, and may send their works, once approved, to any publisher they like, Bahá’í or non-Bahá’í, at home or abroad. It should be remembered, however, that the approval should be given by the National Spiritual Assembly of the country where the work is to be first published. And in the case of a non-Bahá’í publisher the author should insist on use of the system of transliteration at present used by the Faith for languages employing the Roman alphabet.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


Bahá’í publications reviewed and published in one country may be sold or offered for sale anywhere in the world. This includes the right of the publisher or the author to promote the sale of the publication in any legitimate manner including the right to advise the Bahá’ís in any country of its contents, price and availability. It does not include the right to insist that National Spiritual Assemblies, their Publishing Trusts or Publishing Committees stock, promote or advertise the publication or offer it for sale. If any National Spiritual Assembly feels that a book would be damaging to the Faith in its country, it may present this fact to the publisher and author and ask them not to promote it in that particular country.
(NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


Bahá’í publishers, when accepting a work for publication, will make their own arrangements with the author on all such matters as accuracy of quotations, documentation, grammar and spelling, dates and even the rewriting of passages which the publisher may consider need improving, or he may ask the author to write additional material or to delete part of the original manuscript. Although such matters are entirely between the author and publisher, any addition, deletion or changes which affect the meaning must be submitted for review with the relative context.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


Bahá’í publishers may not publish any work about the Faith until it has been approved by the National Spiritual Assembly of the country where it is to be published. Approval of a work imposes no obligation upon any Bahá’í publisher to publish it.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


Formal electronic publications, such as electronic books and articles in online journals, are to be submitted to the National Spiritual Assembly to undergo a process of review before they are made widely available, in the same manner as the long-standing procedure for review applied to printed works.
More generally, there is no list of detailed rules to guide believers who are striving to contribute in various ways to the Bahá’í presence on the Web … Naturally, any website developed by a Bahá’í would avoid presenting inaccurate descriptions of the Faith and would take care to uphold its dignity. While responsibility for providing authoritative information about the Faith, its history, and the activities of its community of adherents clearly falls to the institutions, a growing number of individual believers are finding spaces in which they can appropriately offer insights drawn from their understanding of the teachings on a wide range of issues, thus enriching the Faith’s presence online. In this connection, the House of Justice hopes that National Spiritual Assemblies will become increasingly adept at assisting the friends to appreciate the difference between those areas of activity which are the preserve of the institutions; those in which efforts, while belonging to individuals, may proceed only under the close supervision of the institutions—certain endeavours concerned with defending the rights of the Bahá’í community, for example—and those, usually modest in scope and scale, in which believers may pursue their own initiatives as a contribution to the overall progress of the Faith.
We hope that this guidance will be of assistance to those friends who are making efforts to contribute to a Bahá’í presence on the Web and the National Spiritual Assembly and its Review Panel would be happy to assist the friends further in this, if required.
(Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom, 6 May 2012)


I need not enlarge at the present moment upon what I have stated in the past, that … the present restrictions imposed on the publication of Bahá’í literature will be definitely abolished.
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 9)


In 1982 the Universal House of Justice appointed a panel of reviewers “… in order to facilitate and organize the publishing of Bahá’í literature in the Persian Language.” In a letter dated July 26, 1982 to a number of National Spiritual Assemblies contemplating such publications, they were directed that “Publications will be permissible only when [at least two] members of the panel have agreed what changes, if any, should be made, and have informed you that they agree to its publication.” The members of the panel reside in various countries. Therefore, the coordination of the work has been assigned to the Persian/American Affairs Office. All manuscripts are to be forwarded to that office at the Bahá’í National Center.
(Letter from the Universal House of Justice, dated September 4, 1981, to a National Spiritual Assembly)


In general the function of a reviewing committee is to say whether the work submitted gives an acceptable presentation of the Cause or not.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


It is hoped that there will be great cooperation among those publishing Bahá’í literature, and Publishing Trusts are encouraged to supply to believers, to book trade and libraries, all Bahá’í publications from any country.
(NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


It is hoped that Bahá’í authors will provide a constant stream of new works. Introductory books, commentaries, dissertations on various aspects of the Revelation, text books, histories, reviews, audio-visual materials are all needed to stimulate study of the Faith and to promote the vital teaching work.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


It is recommended that Reviewing Committees be small, composed of two or three believers with adequate education and knowledge of the Cause. It is essential that works submitted be dealt with promptly. The standards to be upheld by reviewers are the following: (a) conformity with the Teachings, (b) accuracy, (c) dignity in presentation. The Spiritual Assembly, on the basis of its Reviewing Committee’s report, gives or withholds approval of the work.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


Let Bahá’í scholars look upon their fellow Bahá’ís with trust and affection, not with disdain as to their qualifications and suspicion as to their motives. Let them regard them as devoted Bahá’ís striving to perform a service which the policies of the Faith require of them. And let them not hesitate to discuss openly with such reviewers the points which they raise. If it appears that a National Spiritual Assembly does not permit such open discussion, let them appeal to the Universal House of Justice for clarification of the situation. It is well understood by the Universal House of Justice that in some cases the process of review works inefficiently and with problems. These deficiencies could be overcome if the scholars themselves would collaborate with the process and openly raise questions about its functioning, rather than fostering an atmosphere of antagonism and mutual mistrust.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1992 Dec 10, Issues Related to Study Compilation)


Materials prepared for wide distribution beyond the locality of origin, including jewelry, needlework, paintings and so on, must be reviewed by the National Spiritual Assembly before they are produced or published. The essential principle is the preservation of a dignified and accurate presentation of the Faith.
(Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, August 19, 1951, in Bahá’í News, #253, March 1952, p. 1)


Spiritual Assemblies [have the] responsibility to protect the dignity of the Faith and uphold the proper standard of reverence in the use of its Sacred Scriptures. Thus, if an Assembly sees that one of the friends is making use of any of the Holy Texts in an unbefitting manner, it should remonstrate with him and, if necessary, require him to stop doing so.
(Letter from the Universal House of Justice, dated September 4, 1981, to a National Spiritual Assembly)


The National Spiritual Assembly is responsible for the reviewing of material intended for nationwide publication. The Local Spiritual Assembly reviews material intended for publication or distribution within its own community.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


[The National Spiritual Assembly] … shall supervise the publication and distribution of Bahá’í literature, the reviewing of all writings pertaining to the Bahá’í Cause.
(Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, p. 13)


The function of reviewing is, essentially, to check the author’s exposition of the Bahá’í Faith and its teachings, which may include verification of any quotations from the Bahá’í writings. This function should not be confused with evaluation of the literary merit of a work or of its value as a publication, which are normally the prerogative of the publisher… .
(Letter from the Universal House of Justice, dated March 11, 1965)


The medium of a novel offers a great deal of latitude for an author to elaborate ideas and areas of thought hitherto unexplored. You should be careful, however, not to ... give interpretations that may not be correct if the Faith and its Teachings are to be explicit in the novel. If, on the other hand, there is no clear connection to the Faith in the novel, you would be free to use your imagination in exploring any ideas which have as their source the principles of the Faith.
(Universal House of Justice, The Importance of the Arts in Promoting the Faith)


They must supervise in these days when the Cause is still in its infancy all Bahá’í publications and translations, and provide in general for a dignified and accurate presentation of all Bahá’í literature and its distribution to the general public. These rank among the most outstanding obligations of the members of every Spiritual Assembly.
(Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, pp. 37-39)


Whatever “house styles” Publishing Trusts and other Bahá’í publishers may adopt, transliteration of oriental terms into languages using the Roman alphabet must at present be according to the system chosen by the Guardian and described in volumes of “The Bahá’í World”.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


While a National Spiritual Assembly intending to publish Bahá’í literature is encouraged to accept the review of another National Spiritual Assembly, it is not required to do so and has the right to review any work prior to authorizing its publication or republication by its own Publishing Trust or publisher in its area of jurisdiction. This does not apply to works by Hands of the Cause, which are reviewed in the Holy Land. A National Spiritual Assembly which receives for approval a manuscript from outside its area of jurisdiction should inquire whether it has already been submitted for review elsewhere, and in the case of its having been refused approval, the reasons for such refusal.
(Memorandum on Bahá’í Publishing from the Universal House of Justice, dated Ridvan 1971)


While most Bahá’í literature is published by the National Spiritual Assembly, Local Assemblies and individuals also can publish materials for use on the local level. Material which relates directly to the work of the Faith in a particular locality or which suits specific local needs is appropriate for local publication. Such materials can be distributed only within the area of jurisdiction of the Local Assembly. All such publications must be reviewed by the Local Spiritual Assembly.
(NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)