It was David Orton, then with E.J. Brill, who muted the idea of a collection of essays on the Bible in Africa during a visit I made to their Leiden office in 1995. My thanks to him for the initial idea, entrusting the project to me, and for ongoing support and sensitivity to the African context.
When I accepted the commission I knew that I could not do this project on my own. I hoped that Musa Dube, with whom I had already worked on a similar project, would have completed her PhD at Vanderbilt and would be back in Botswana in time to join me as co-editor. My special thanks to Musa for making the project her own and for a sustained period of collaboration.
A project of this size and located on this continent has had to endure many difficulties, but through them all, including the death of my wife's father here in South Africa, Anniek Meinders-Durksz from E.J. Brill has been wonderfully understanding and supportive.
Throughout the project I have received the support of the staff of the Institute for the Study of the Bible, in whose name this project began. Thanks to them and to Solomuzi Mabuza and Sam Tshehla for assisting in the early days with correspondence, filing, and finding. Thanks too to Lou Levine for converting file formats and presenting me with texts I could read, and to Alastair Nixon for providing scans and photographs of the African art. A special thanks to Billy Meyer who has conscientiously (and creatively) worked through all the essays in the last days of the project to ensure reasonable consistency and clarity.
I wish too to acknowledge the funding I have received from the University of Natal Research Fund and from the National Research Foundation (South Africa). Without their financial support much of this would have not been possible, though they are not responsible for any of the content.
Finally, my and Musa's thanks to all those who have supported the project through various forms of participation. We hope this project will lead to further collaboration among us.