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Bishop Hassan Dehqani Tafti[ List of Books by Bishop Hassan Dehqani Tafti | گفتگویی با اسقف حسن دهقانی تفتی و همسرشان مارگارت ]
1) Classical Poets from Ferdowsi onwards.
2) Modern Poets.
Classical Persian Poets:
a) An awareness of Christian thought in Persian PoetryThis is of course an enormous subject, and it is extremely difficult to analyse and to classify thoughts.
However, when you read a line, say in Mowlavi or in Sa'adi, and you see that almost eactly the same subject comes in the Gospels, you can't just close your eyes - they must have some connection with each other.
The relationship between Mysticism and Christianity is another interesting subject. There is no doubt of the fact that the figure of Christ and Christian thought had a great deal of influence in Mysticism. For example, Mowlavi has many poems in which one can trace Christian thought, e.g. the famous one about love:
Now this is very similar to the thought in Phil. 2:7 & 8 about Christ:
'He made himself nothing, assuming the nature of a slave.... humbled himself.'
In other words the king became a servant. That is a Christian thought.
Of course, there is no evidence that Mowlavi had Christ in mind, but it is not impossible to think that he had, because there is a contemporary of his Rokn u'Din Owhady who has a beautiful poem in which Christ is mentioned. The poem is all about the mystery of suffering. The English translation of it is by Professor Arberry.
This is clearly the idea of the Cross.
This thought was prevalent at the time of Mowlavi, so it is not impossible for him to have written that lovely poem about love and about suffering, having been influenced by Owhady's poem.
Then, of course, there is the famous line by Sa'adi - which most Persians know by heart. The Revd. Norman Sharp has translated it thus:
These lines bring to mind Ch. 12 of I Cor. particularly v.26 -
'If one organ suffers, they all suffer together .......
Then there is the condemnation of hypocrisy. You find so much of this in Persian poetry - especially in Hafiz, for example those beautiful lines translated by Norman Sharp:
The Gospels, of course, are full of this sort of thought. Christ condemned the Scribes and Pharisees and Saducees, the Mullahs of his day:
'Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, forye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers, ye pay tithe, but have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy and faith Woe unto you for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excessye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.'
Then in Khayam - that famous quatrain, translated by Mr. Sharp:
This again reminds us of the famous story of Christ and the woman taken in adultery recorded in St. John 8:1-12:
'They took her to Christ and said 'She has been taken in adultery. She must be stoned, and He said 'He that is without sin, let him first cast a stone at her.'
Of course all the Mullahs realised they were sinners and went away.