The Reverend Arnold Black Rhodes

Dec 31, 2002 02:25 PM EST

Friend and pastor to thousands of students and colleagues, the Reverend Dr. Arnold Black Rhodes was the beloved professor to more than 1,500 seminarians between 1944 and 1981. Recognized primarily for his teachings and research on the Old Testament, Rev. Rhodes testified his faith as a Pastor, Author, Editor, and professor during his life from 1914 to 1988; he died on August 2002.

Following his pastorates at the First Presbyterian Church in Lawrenceburg, Ky., and Hanover Presbyterian Church in Indiana, Dr. Rhodes came to Louisville Seminary as a professor of the Old Testament. During his tenure, he also served as curator of the Seminary's archeological museum.

Prior to his retirement from teaching in 1982, the Seminary established the A.B. Rhodes Professorship in Old Testament - the first fully endowed chair in the Seminary's history. Rhodes held the chair for one year as a professor, and then he held the position as professor emeritus until the time of his death.

As an author, Rhodes' best-known work was The Mighty Acts of God , which was published by John Knox Press in 1964 and served as the introductory volume to the denomination's popular Covenant Life curriculum. the Mighty Acts of God was a best seller for the Press for nearly 20 years, and by 1980 it was in its eleventh printing in English, and had been translated into Spanish.

"Mighty Acts was studied by literally thousands of church members for at least two decades," said Dr. March, who revised the book for Geneva Press in 2000.

Rhodes also served as the associate editor of The Layman's Bible Commentary , and wrote the Book of Psalms in that series in 1960.

"A.B. Rhodes is best known through his widely read book, The Mighty Acts of God , but his most enduring influence on American Protestantism is through the thousands of ministers who have come under the influence of his irenic personality and his confident belief in the Bible as an authentic revelation of God's will for humankind," said the Rev. C. Ellis Nelson of Austin, TX, who was president of Louisville Seminary when the Rhodes Chair was established.

He was a native of Rocky Point, NC, the oldest of five children. Raised in a rural setting, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with an A.B. in 1935 from Davidson College in Davidson, NC. He attended Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary from which he received a B.D. in 1941 and a Th.M. in 1942. After being ordained in the Presbyterian Church, he served two churches. He received a Th.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1947 and a Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Chicago in 1951. Both Centre and Davidson Colleges awarded him with honorary doctorates.

Dr. Rhodes is survived by his wife, Lela Nelson Rhodes,64, three daughters and their husbands, five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.

By Paulina C.