Distinctions with a difference: essays on myth, history, and scripture in honor of John N. Oswalt Bill T. Arnold Author
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The digital copies of this book are available for free at First Fruits website. place.asburyseminary.edu/firstfruits Preface As the years have passed I have found myself more conscious of the blessings that God in his graciousness has given to me in personal friendships with some very remarkable people. One of the most outstanding of these has been the one I have enjoyed with John and Karen Oswalt. I met John when he was an undergraduate at Taylor University. It was a context in which we were able to share in some intimacy our common personal faith in Christ. It established a friendship that has continued to the present day. Imagine my surprise when I found him sitting in my class in Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. After he finished his work at Asbury, John began his doctoral studies at Brandeis under the great Semitic professor, Cyrus H. Gordon, under whom I had done my own doctoral studies. Then we had a very close friendship as he gave himself to the students of Asbury Theological Seminary and Wesley Biblical Seminary. Over the years our friendship deepened, and I found in it so much to enrich my personal life and my understanding of the Biblical text. It became clear to me that John was coming to a remarkably rich understanding of the illative picture of the Messiah in the Old Testament. That meant that I was especially grateful when the editorial staff of the New International Commentary on the Old Testament decided to ask John to write the commentary on Isaiah for their commentary series. The result is his two volumes on Isaiah in which we may well have the best commentary ever written on this very important Biblical book. My suspicion is that John may know the Hebrew text of Isaiah as well as anyone in the history of biblical commentary. His understanding of the close relationship of the prophesy of Isaiah to the presentation of Christ in the New Testament gospels is intellectually and spiritually exceptional and leaves all who read him in his debt. John has had a success in the classroom. He has been a powerful influence on a large number of students in biblical studies in his generation. Because of these students, the church of tomorrow will be able to enlarge its understanding of the message which God has given in the biblical text. We would be remiss if we did not express our gratitude to John and Karen for the fact that they have given their lives that we might understand better the eternal Word of God, especially the Old Testament, as God's gift to us for our joy and for our salvation. The contributors to this Festschrift are helping us pay that debt. We thank them. Dennis F. Kinlaw Professor of Old Testament Languages and Literature Asbury Theological Seminary (1963-1968) President of Asbury College (1968-1981, 1986-1991)

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