I owe an immense debt to my professors at Bob Jones University. I am especially grateful to the members of my committee. Dr. Terry Rude, my first advisor in seminary as well as the first chairman of my committee, modeled a meticulous attention to the details of Scripture and a great love of our Savior. Dr. Robert Bell, who was also my father’s dissertation chairman, ably guided me to the completion of this project. His passion for Christ-honoring excellence and the exacting standards which he consequently maintains have repeatedly spurred me to excel. To the other members of my committee, Dr. Michael Barrett, Dr. Randy Jaeggli, Dr. Ken Casillas, and Dr. Dave Shumate, who counseled, commented, and critiqued my work in one form or another, I am grateful.
I am also grateful to Dr. Ron Horton who provided direction and focus to my literary analysis both in person and through his invaluable Companion to College English. Dr. Caren Silvester unselfishly proofread large portions of the dissertation, offering many helpful stylistic suggestions. Dr. Tom Ragle, a former Oxford don and personal friend from my time in China, kindly read the entire dissertation and encouraged me throughout. My parents, Drs. Allan and Nadine Brown, and my brother, Nathan Brown, read virtually every chapter as well as many rough drafts, frequently providing substantive suggestions. Special thanks are due to Dolly Wong. In addition to proofreading individual chapters and the entire dissertation, her frequent skepticism about the viability of my ideas challenged me to hone my arguments and refine my presentation.
I also wish to acknowledge Mrs. Pat LeMaster of the J. S. Mack Library, whose untiring help in obtaining interlibrary loan materials has been deeply appreciated. My dear wife, Marianne, entered this process at the half-way mark. She graciously indexed the Scripture references throughout the dissertation and endured the long hours and occasional loneliness necessitated by the project without complaint. She is truly an ly!j^-tv#a@. Thanks is also due to Dr. Steve Buckley and Dr. Gladie Stroup of the Office of Extended Education who encouraged and supported me with a flexible work schedule.
Finally, none of this would have been possible apart from the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ. He has sustained me both physically and spiritually over the last three and a half years, and, more importantly, deepened my appreciation of the beauty of His character as revealed in the Book of Ezra. To Him be all the glory and praise.