SYMBOL AND SECRET: Qur'an Commentary in Bahá'u'lláh's Kitáb-i Íqán: Studies in the Bábí and Bahá'í Religions, Volume Seven

Symbol and Secret

By Christopher Buck

Here is the first full volume in English ever devoted to a study of the Kitáb-i Íqán, a book designated by the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith as "foremost among the priceless treasures cast forth from the billowing ocean of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation."

Christopher Buck, a Bahá'í scholar of Islamic Studies, brings his considerable talents to bear on Bahá'u'lláh's explanations of the symbolic language to be found in the Qur'an and in the Gospels. Through the power of this explanation, Bahá'u'lláh creates new meanings for these verses and lays the foundation for a new religion.

Buck offers us his research into the revelation of the Kitáb-i Íqán and the early history of its publication in India, at Bahá'u'lláh's command. He answers the attacks that non-Bahá'í critics have directed against it. He goes on to analyze the rhetorical techniques which Bahá'u'lláh uses in this work. And, finally, he illustrates for us how the Kitáb-i Íqán forms a bridge to a new Revelation. This is a masterful piece of scholarship. A "must-read" for all serious students of Bahá'í Scripture.

Retail price: $39.95, paperback (80-4)

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"This book … is the first academic booklength study in English devoted to a single work of Bahaullah. As such it represents an important milestone in the history of Bahai exegesis and the author and publisher deserve abundant praise for their courage and fortitude in producing Symbol and Secret. Christopher Buck displays an impressive command of the existing body of Bahai scholarship and a minute awareness of scholarly articles in obscure journals treating important points of Islamic and Christian doctrine.…
Buck’s analysis of Bahaullah’s appeal to Koran 33:44 promising attainment to the divine Presence on the Day of Resurrection (itself allegorically interpreted by Bahaullah as the advent day of a new prophet), as a counter-argument to the nearby verse (33:40) about the “Seal of the Prophets” is simply brilliant. … Symbol and Secret is a ground-breaking study, setting a standard for and describing the agenda of the exegesis of Bahai texts for some time to come." -- Frank Lewis, Bahá'í Studies Review (1996)

"This study is daring in that it is the first extended analysis of the Islamic context and content of Bahá'u'lláh's thought and writings. The rigour with which Buck has treated his topics is a model for anyone engaging in textual scholarship: his research is broad, his attention to detail thorough, and his coverage of the topics exhaustive. Finally, many of his conclusions, the light he throws on the Íqán and its content, and in places even his methods are frankly brilliant." -- Daniel Grolin, H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences (1999)