Talk:Susan S. Maneck

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No reason adduced as to why the article should be pulled

Article has been up since 2009. Why is it being pulled now after 5 years? --Wahid (talk) 13:25, 28 June 2014 (EDT)

The following was removed from the main page of this article by CMD Staff for further review:

Susan Stiles Maneck, is a member of the Baha'i Faith who holds a masters degree in Oriental Studies and a PhD in history. She is currently an associate professor of history at Jackson State University in Mississippi. [1] She is a faculty member of the Wilmette Institute, and is a major critic of Juan Cole. [1] [2]

In 1996, Maneck published a paper entitled "Wisdom and Dissimulation in the Baha'i Faith: The Use and meaning of Hikmat in the Baha'i writings", which examined "the use of the term hikmat (lit. wisdom) within the Bahá'í community over time especially as it referred to certain survival strategies developed in situations of danger, persecution, or insecurity within a hostile environment", along with the "compromises these strategies entailed and the consequences these had for the religion's future development."[2]

In her June 2009 paper, “Accusations Against Baha'is Within the Context of Islamic Heresiography”, presented at the CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions) conference in Utah, Maneck, cited a self-published, un-peer-reviewed work written by a then recent high school graduate named Adib Masumian in relation to certain “conspiracy theories circulating regarding the Baha’i Faith”, stating that “As if to prove that refuting such charges is child's play, an eighteen year old boy, Adib Masumian, has written a book doing so entitled Debunking the Myths (Lulu:2009.) Unfortunately such refutations cannot be made in the Iranian press where these charges are usually repeated.”[3]

Discussion of Academic Methodologies with the Universal House of Justice

In 1997 and 1998, Ms Maneck was engaged in a number of publicly available discussions with the Universal House of Justice regarding matters of institutional and doctrinal influence upon academic affairs.

"Letter Two, from Maneck to the Universal House of Justice
To: Bahai World Centre
Subject: Addendum to Sept. 21 letter
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997
Dear Universal House of Justice,
I am writing this letter as an addendum to the letter I sent you dated September 21, 1997. There was a question I still had in regards to your message to me dated 20 July 1997 which I did not ask because at the time I could not decide how best to articulate it in a befitting manner. You will recall that I had suggested that many of the difficulties had arisen because many Baha'i historians and Middle East specialists had exceeded the proper bounds of their calling as scholars by interfering in administrative affairs with their constant criticisms of the institutions. You responded by stating that there were far greater problems involved, referring to "the behavior of a very small group of Baha'is who . . . aggressively sought to promote their misconceptions of the Teachings among their fellow believers." You further refer to attempts "to alter the essential nature of Baha'u'llah's message."
While I recognize that in some cases certain Baha'is have done precisely that, these statements were troubling to me inasmuch as they raised questions in regards to the limits of tolerance within the Baha'i Faith. Specifically, as you are no doubt aware, Dr. ... has been vigorously insisting that the investigation which was launched by the International Teaching Center against himself and others was motivated by a desire to impose a rigid doctrinal conformity on Baha'i scholars which would be inconsistent with our ability to function as academics. I had argued, to the contrary, that the investigation was largely launched in reaction to what was seen as an attack on the Institutions themselves. For this reason your letter of 20 July created much confusion for me because it seemed to vindicate Dr. ...'s perception of these events.
My question is, to what extent does the House see these problems as issues of doctrinal heresy which must therefore be suppressed and to what extent are the Institutions empowered to do this? I am aware, for instance, of the verse in the Will and Testament which reads: "To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Centre of the Cause and the House of Justice." I note, however that the term for opinion here is rai which is one of the principles (usul) of Islamic jurisprudence. Given the juridical language of this entire section of the Will and Testament I would assume that `Abdu'l-Baha was speaking here largely of opinions in regard to matters of Baha'i law and practice rather than doctrine.
If the Universal House of Justice does regard the imposition of orthodoxy on the Baha'i community as within the purview of the authority of the Institutions I wonder if you could explain to me how this fits in with the tolerance which `Abdu'l-Baha calls for elsewhere within the Writings. I am thinking for instance of the passage in Kitab-I Bada'i al-Athar 1:294 where `Abdu'l-Baha insists that there must be no interference in beliefs or conscience. I also note that in another Tablet `Abdu'l-Baha states that so long as courtesy is maintained that in the Faith no one can rule over a persons conscience. He goes on to say that such freedom does not extend to matters of divine law. (Ma'idih-yi Asmani 5:17-18.) I also have in mind Baha'u'llah's Tablet to Bourjerdi where even over the vital issue of the station of the Manifestation, Baha'u'llah refuses to allow the imposition of rigid dogma.
Thank you for your careful consideration of the issues I raise and for your continued prayers at the Sacred Shrines.
Obediently yours,
Susan Maneck"[4]

Further correspondence and the reply given by Universal House of Justice can be found in at Official Correspondence-Methdologies

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Susan S. Maneck, A Bahai Perspective, accessed February 2, 2009.
  2. Wisdom and Dissimulation in the Baha'i Faith: The Use and meaning of Hikmat in the Baha'i writings, accessed, February 3, 2009.
  3. Accusations Against Baha'is Within the Context of Islamic Heresiography, Susan Maneck (Jackson State University), A paper presented at The 2009 CESNUR Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 11-13, 2009. Accessed, July 20, 2009.
  4. Official Correspondence with the Universal House of Justice, accessed January 3, 2010.

End Page Excerpt

--Review (talk) 15:08, 25 June 2014 (EDT)

Wisdom and dissimulation:The use and meaning of Hikmat in the Bahá’í writings and history

This article needs to be referenced in any article on Susan Maneck. I've put it in. --Wahid 22:36, 4 February 2009 (EST)