Andrews University Presents Festschrift to George Knight, Prolific Adventist Author
The chapel of the Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary was recently packed with guests, faculty, staff and students for the presentation of a Festschrift to George Knight, professor of church history, emeritus. The recently released book, Adventist Maverick: A Celebration of George Knight’s Contribution to Adventist Thought, was presented to Knight in honor of his distinguished teaching, research, editorial and publishing career. The volume, published by Pacific Press Publishing Association, is a collection of writings by 19 colleagues and students, edited by Woodrow W. Whidden and Gilbert Valentine.
Reflecting on the methodology Knight used, President Niels-Erik Andreasen said, “He [Knight] has written a good many books about early Adventist history, and he told me once that he wrote these books the same way the pioneers wrote their books, using pen and paper… That is a mark of distinction!”
Festschrift tributes were given by Gilbert Valentine, chair of the Department of Administration and Leadership, La Sierra University; Jerry Moon, chair of the Department of Church History, Andrews University; and Woodrow Whidden, professor of religion, emeritus, Andrews University. Brian Strayer, professor of history, also gave a tribute to the late Gary Land, whose scholarly contributions in the area of Adventist church history are notable.
Valentine began by noting the impact of Knight’s scholarship, “It’s not an exaggeration to say that apart from Ellen White, Professor George Knight is probably the most prolific author the Adventist church has seen… [he] has become one of the most influential voices in the contemporary Adventist church.”
Jane Thayer, associate professor of religious education, emerita, shared Moon’s tribute, which focused on Knight’s teaching role. Moon wrote, “Forty plus years of distinguished teaching and publishing have made George Knight a magisterial figure in Adventist education. He has taught in Adventist colleges and seminaries all over North America and literally from Australia to Zimbabwe.” In 2003 Knight was the first recipient of the Daniel A. Augsburger Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as the Teacher of the Year Award.
Whidden spoke of Knight’s role as an editor. In this category of literary productivity are doctoral dissertations (he directed 13), the Bible Amplifier Commentary Series, the Adventist Pioneer Series of biographies, and the Ellen White Encyclopedia, which he launched, plus countless informal manuscript reviews.
In his short response, Knight spoke of the need for perspective and humility after listening to what had been said. He put the focus on Jesus Christ, stating, “That’s why we’re here today.” He said, “I was an Adventist for 14 years before I became a Christian. My life…has been dedicated to helping other people understand who Jesus is… Let’s never forget who we are in relationship to Jesus Christ and what he has done for us.”
The entire presentation may be viewed at andrews.edu/go/youtube.