Revelation and Concealment of Christ: A Theological Inquiry Into the Elusive Language of the Fourth Gospel
The elusive disposition of John's language has been noted by biblical scholars throughout the history of New Testament studies. The Fourth Gospel is seen as so simple to grasp and yet often pointing beyond itself and beckoning the reader to read deeper. Various socio-linguistic studies have explained this feature as the reflection of the sectarian tendencies in the Johannine Christianity. In his study Saeed Hamid-Khani questions these approaches as inadequate. In turn, he examines John's language within an exegetical and theological framework. He argues that the 'Sitz im Leben' of Johannine language was an environment in which the Hebrew Scriptures were the dominant conceptual force for both the Jews and the Christians. In this context he argues that the essential function of John's enigmatic language is wedded to the Evangelist's purpose in writing the Gospel; namely a steadfast focus upon setting forth that Jesus is the Christ according to the witness of Israel's Scriptures. It is here in these echoes and thematic allusions to the Scriptures that we find the answer to the function and significance of John's unique language; i.e. Jesus is the Messiah, the Saviour of the world, and He is the visible image of the invisible God, the embodiment of the self-revelation of God according to the Scriptures. However, these truths are concealed from undiscerning and only revealed by the spirit of God to those who are born of God.
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