Steve during an appraisal of newly arrived Ethiopic manuscripts at the George Fox University Portland Center Library

Steve Delamarter is Professor of Old Testament Studies and co-chair of the Society of Biblical Literature section on the Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible. In the 2008–2009 school year, I was a student in his introductory Hebrew and exegetical Hebrew classes. He invited me to serve as one of his three teaching assistants for these classes the following year.

Steve also was my interviewer for my candidacy assessment. George Fox Evangelical Seminary has two interviews over the course of the student’s time there. The first is a personality profile that helps the seminary and the student identify how the student might do well and and where the student might struggle in seminary in order to craft a plan for success. The second is the interview based on a reflection paper written by the student that assesses the student’s progress up to that point in order to refine the plan, if needed. It was in this interview that I began to express my doubts about my Oneness Pentecostal environment. Steve assured me that if I decided to make the move back into the broader Christian movement there was no rush and he encouraged me to explore other denominations. His advice gave me the ability to be comfortable with my Oneness environment while at the same not feel guilty about exploring other groups who believed in and lived for Christ.

What I most appreciated about Steve was his ability to be blend both teaching and academics, challenging and helping us to think and learn. Steve would often share with us his findings on the Ethiopic manuscripts, on which I believe he holds the research monopoly. He came up with wild mnemonics for Hebrew paradigms that even two years later I remember them with great clarity. Steve introduced us to textual criticism, showing us ambiguities in the Hebrew texts that needed thoughtful attention. He showed us insights to making sense of these ambiguities by comparing the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts of the Tanak. Yet, he was not afraid to express his reservations about modern textual criticism—reservations that arose out of his collaborations with the Ethiopians and out of learning about their view of Scripture. From this, I learned that the Western world, although it may hold the monopoly at this point on biblical studies, does not hold the only way to view sacred Scripture. Most importantly, Steve always knew how to engage the class in little ways that made a big difference in our learning.

To Steve, thank you for your belief in me that has inspired me to nurture my love for Hebrew and biblical languages.