"The object of all good literature is to purge the soul of its petty troubles." ~ P.G. Wodehouse

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Apology to Saeed Hamid-Khani

It has been a while since posting, but I have been meaning to get to this one.

I wanted to formally apologize to Dr. Saeed Hamid-Khani for not making use of his published thesis in the writing of my own thesis on the Gospel of John. Hamid-Khani's thesis was published as: Revelation and Concealment ofChrist: Theological Inquiry into the Elusive Language of the Fourth Gospel (WUNT II/120; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000). It was examined by William Horbury and C.K. Barrett. John Philip M. Sweet was Hamid-Khani's supervisor. 

In the course of working on an essay related to the topic of "revelation" in the Gospel of John, I ran across the title of Hamid-Khani's book. I was able to get a copy through interlibrary loan and waded my way through the immense amount of work that the volume contains. The striking contribution of Hamid-Khani's thesis is his challenge to Rudolf Bultmann's claim that what is revealed in John's Gospel is an empty revelation formula, i.e. Jesus only reveals that he is the Revealer. Hamid-Khani argues that the elusive language of John's Gospel has content and that has a theological force in that it is tied to the Evangelist's use of the OT. For the Gospel, Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT. Those who do not believe this will find the Gospel's language elusive. Those who do believe will understand the truth. 

There is much more in Hamid-Khani's book, but I was surprised that I had never run across it before. A quick perusal of the bibliographies in the post-2000 edited volumes Gospel of John that I have on my shelf indicate that I am not alone. Hamid-Khani's book is not listed in Donahue, Life in Abundance: Studies of John's Gospel in Tribute to Raymond E. Brown, 2005; Lierman, Challenging Perspectives on the Gospel of John, 2006; Thatcher, What We Have Heard from the Beginning, 2007; or Bauckham and Mosser, The Gospel of John and Christian Theology, 2008. The title is also missing from Porter and Gabriel, Johannine Writings and Apocalyptic: An Annotated Bibliography, 2013, even in their section on "Revelation" (!).

A Google search of the book title presents records of the book on Google books, the various places it may be purchased (Amazon, Mohr Siebeck, etc.), various bibliography repositories, and the review by Josaphat Tam at RBECS, Academia.edu, and Facebook (see below). A search of the Review of Biblical Literature website reveals that the book was never reviewed for RBL. Cornelius Bennema acknowledges Hamid-Khani's book in his preface to The Power of Saving Wisdom, although only to say that the book came to him at a late stage. Hamid-Khani's book essentially disappeared...or never appeared. 

My sincere apologies to Saeed Hamid-Khani for not interacting with scholarship that I should have. This will be remedied as best I can in my current work on John, apocalyptic tradition, and revelation. 

A review of Hamid-Khani by Josaphat Tam may be found on the site "Reviews of Biblical and Early Christian Studies" (here).