Now that I have successfully passed my doctoral defense (YAHOO!!!), I wanted to share the preface to my dissertation. I remember when I was writing this back in January, thinking that it felt like I was writing an Oscar acceptance speech. While I didn't receive an Academy Award, I truly must acknowledge all those friends and family who supported me throughout this long journey, and this is just a small way to do so. So read on for my Oscar acceptance speech. And to all of you who have walked this road with me, encouraged me, and supported me--THANK YOU!
Though my fingers typed the words contained in these pages, a work of this size could never be completed in isolation. Some words of gratitude must be expressed to those who supported me in this lengthy endeavor.
Professors Paul Wolfe and Paul Hoskins, my supervisory committee, challenged me to explore the Apocalypse, to refine my thinking, and to nuance my words. Professors George Klein and Mark Taylor provided encouragement and guidance, and Professors James Leo Garrett, Curtis Vaughan, Norma Hedin, and Bert Dominy inspired me to reach for this dream. Additionally, Professor Francis Watson’s direction at the University of Aberdeen was invaluable.
I have been blessed with some amazing friendships, which at times were my sole source of sanity during this process (Genny, Rachel, Amy, and Amanda). I am especially grateful for the Holmes family for welcoming me into their home and being a second family to me when I felt alone. Also, I could not have survived without the support of my fellow “theologicans” (Amie, Laurie, Lo, Carrie, Carolyn, and Kristianna), who motivated me to press on when I was ready to quit and “become a professional scrapbooker.” Additionally, the continued prayers and unconditional love from my church family at Wedgwood Baptist Church have helped me endure—I am so thankful that “once a Wedgie, always a Wedgie.”
Lastly, nobody has sacrificed or cheered more throughout this project than my parents and brother. Their challenging questions, encouraging words, loving nudges (and occasional pushes), and constant love mean more to me than I can ever say.
And above all, this work would be naught without the Lamb, who bought me with his blood and adopted me into his family by his grace. “To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev 1:6).
Barbara Ann Isbell