> "Buck concludes his essay by arguing that while it may not be possible
> to add specific names to the list of officially acknowledged prophets
> still Baha'i authorities might consider affirming the principle that
> Messengers of God have appeared in the Americas. It strikes me that
> Chris Buck is focusing on a non-existent problem."
> This is simply contrary to fact. And here's the test: Where, in the
> authoritative Writings of the Central Figures, or in the letters of the
> Guardian or the House, is this principle enunciated? The
> answer--nowhere (at least not in specific terms).

Dear Chris,

There are two places where this principle is enunciated, one would be the
Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Baha which you cite, the other would be the Qur'anic
principle that "there is no people to whom a prophet has not been sent."
> Beyond some very general statements (universalisms) focused on the
> mists of antiquity (such as citing a hadith to the effect that there
> were 128,000 prophets or that the Qur'an says that God has sent a
> Warner unto every nation), there are explicit pronouncements *against*
> adding any names of possible Manifestations of God not attested to in
> the Qur'an or Bible (besides the Baha'i Writings themselves). These
> statements are quite familiar to this audience.

Yes, that is because there is currently no one with the authority to name
names. I personally think we are better off with such 'universalism' so that
we don't have to choose between one traditional hero or other.

Dr. Maneck also states:
> "While according to Buck one might think this would preclude Baha'i
> 'officials' from adding to this list as well in practice at least one
> House member and a Counsellor have done precisely that in speeches
> given on various occasions."
> Precisely! But they were not speaking in an *official* capacity.

Yep. And I personally think that is the way it should be. The House of
Justice does not have the authority to decide who is or who is not a
Manifestations. But individuals, even those serving in the highest
capacities certainly have the right to express their personal opinions on
this matter.

Therefore, rather than speaking officially, Dr. Ruhe was
> expressing a purely personal conviction--and this example supports my
> thesis of a body of "popular" Baha'i belief that does stand in tension
> with officiial pronouncements.

I don't see it as a tension. I personally believe Quetzecoatyl was a
Manifestation, but I don't think anyone has the authority to make any
pronouncement about that.

> After his Balyuzi lecture, on behalf of the Association for Baha'i
> Studies, Dr. Ruhe personally presented me the "Award for Excellence in
> Baha'i Studies" (university category) for my unpublished paper, "Native
> Messengers of God in Canada? A Test Case for Baha'i Universalism,"
> republished in abridged form in _Reason and Revelation_. Yet the paper
> was too controversial for Baha'i publication in Canada. The strongest
> opponent against its publication was Counselor Jacqueline Left Hand
> Bull, now a member of the US-NSA. having spoken with her on two
> occasions about this, it is my understanding that she does not believe
> that the Baha'i Writings, whether in principle or in fact, support the
> thesis that Manifestations of God were sent to indigenous peoples.

I doubt very much if she would state that she does not believe that any
Manifestations were ever sent to indigenous peoples. My guess is that  she
have had some of the same objections to your article as I do.
> Notwithstanding, Ms. Delahunt and the late Patricia Locke presented a
> session on Native American wisdom teachers at the 1993 Centenary of the
> World's Parliament of Religions (or so I've heard), and Ms. Delahunt
> herself (on television and later in print) has testified to her
> personal belief that Baha'u'llah is the return of White Buffalo Calf
> Woman. Again--and I cannot stress this point enough--Ms. Delahunt was
> *not* speaking on behalf of the Counselors, the NSA or the House.

And in my opinion, that is the way it should be.

> "He states somewhat misleadingly that there are 'explicit Baha'i
> strictures against adding actual names of Manifestations of God who are
> not attributed to in the Abrahamic tradition, most notably in the
> Qur'an" and argues that because "the Qur'an is seen as universal
> scripture" in thereby acts as "prophetological constraint" on
> Manifestations not mentioned there."
> Well, this material comes straight out of statements from the Guardian
> and the House as rationale *against* adding names of Manifestations not
> attested to in the Baha'i Writings, the Qur'an, or the Bible.

Saying they have to named in the Baha'i Writings is quite different from
insistenting they have to be named in the Qur'an and be part of the
Abrahamic tradition.

there is somewhat of a contraction in that the names of the Buddha,
Krishna and Zoroaster were added, as I have already pointed out (in
some detail) in a previous article, "A Unique Eschatological Interface:
Baha'u'llah and Cross-Cultural Messianism," _In Iran_, ed. Peter Smith
(Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1986), 157-79, online at
<bahai-library.org/articles/eschatological.html>. But this
contradiction arises for historical reasons that I won't go into now,
 as I have already pointed out (in
> some detail) in a previous article, "A Unique Eschatological Interface:
> Baha'u'llah and Cross-Cultural Messianism," _In Iran_, ed. Peter Smith
> (Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1986), 157-79, online at
> <bahai-library.org/articles/eschatological.html>. But this
> contradiction arises for historical reasons that I won't go into now,"

It's  not a contradiction, Chris. The Central Figures named as
Manifestations those They were asked about, and didn't name those who They
were not. Yes, it arises for historical reasons. Revelation is embedded in
history. It does mean others were not Manifestations, it just means we can't
say one way or the other, at least not officially.
> Even Native Canadian and American Indian Baha'is are divided on this

> issue. So I have not created a "straw man" on this issue, and if Dr.
> Maneck was ever in doubt about this problem, she could have
> investigated the matter a little further before dismissing it as a
> non-issue. Simply referring to a couple of statements made by a former
> House member and a former Counselor, while evidence of a popular Baha'i
> belief, do not rise to the level of official statements.

I'm not saying those are official statements, Chris. I'm saying they don't
*have* to be and I don't think it is a problem that they are not. I think it
*would* be a problem, however, if the Institutions took it upon themselves
to go around deciding which figures they were going to accept as
Manifestations and which they were not.
as Dr. Maneck
> asserts. But to assert is not to prove, and my reviewer still hasn't
> produced an official Baha'i statement to confound or explode my thesis,
> which still stands.

An official statement that confounds and explodes what thesis? That
Degananwida is a Manifestation of God? It is not their business to decide

I think you have ignored the central thrust of my review of your article
Chris, and this is an issue which has come up in connection with many of
your articles on Shah Bahram, etc. Can a historian utilizing academic
methods determine who is or who is not a Manifestation of God? Or is this
not an unacademic question?

warmest, Susan

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