Festschrift is the German word for ‘celebratory writing’, and usually refers to a collection of essays done in honor or memory of one’s colleague or friend or Doctor Father who has made some noteworthy contribution to their particular academic discipline. Usually, such an honor happens at or after a person retires, and definitely after their body of work has been assessed and has had affect. Usually, as well this is a surprise honor pulled off by former doctoral students wanting to honor their Doktor-vater. Since: 1) I am a mere fledgling of 61 years, and 2) since I’ve only just had my first Asbury doctoral student graduate with his PhD, and since 3) I am not planning on retiring or ceasing to write for some time to come, the Lord willing, it came as a total shock last Sunday when my doctoral student Michael Halcomb (I suspect the main instigator of this volume) presented me with a Festschrift entitled Kingdom Rhetoric. The volume has ten essays, five by my NT colleagues at Asbury— David Bauer, Craig Keener, Fred Long, Joe Dongell, Ruth Anne Reese, and five by my doctoral students Brian Kidwell (now Dr. Brian), Michael Halcomb, Judi Odor, Sue Liubinskas, and Jason Myers. The essays range over the entire NT canon (as have my publications) and so we have a couple on the Synoptics, on John, on Acts, on Paul, and on the General Epistles… something for everyone. It is edited by Michael and just out from Wipf and Stock. I will remark on two features of this volume. Firstly, note the cover above…. I am thankful that that pile of books includes none of mine. Notice that some of the books are flying away. I found this cover very humorous as a commentary on my work… ‘of the making of books, there is no end….’ Thanks to Chris Spinks and the Wipf and Stock crowd for having a sense of humor! Secondly, when Michael announced that all proceeds from the book will go to the Christy Witherington scholarship fund…. I was very moved. Christy would be very happy about that (see the blog post for this past Aug. 14th—- she loved books).
Here I take a moment to say to all my doctoral students how very proud I am of them and especial thanks to Michael for being the catalyst for this. It takes a lot to surprise me these days…. but I honestly didn’t see this one coming.