Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bruce Metzger Dies

Bruce Metzger, who was perhaps the most widely renowned textual critic of the New Testament, passed away yesterday at the age of 93. Here is the AP obituary:

PRINCETON, New Jersey: Bruce Manning Metzger, professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary and an authority on Greek manuscripts of the Bible, has died. He was 93.

Metzger died Tuesday of natural causes, according to The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home in Princeton.

At the time of his death, he was the George L. Collord Professor Emeritus of New Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Metzger earned a bachelor's degree from Lebanon Valley College in 1935, a bachelor of theology degree from Princeton Seminary in 1938 and a doctorate in classics from Princeton University in 1942. He became an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church in 1939.

Metzger began his teaching career at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1938, where he stayed in the New Testament department for 46 years. During his time at the seminary, Metzger developed 25 courses on the English and Greek texts of books in the New Testament.

In 1986, Metzger was elected to the American Philosophical Society in the class devoted to the Humanities. In 1994, he was awarded the F.C. Burkitt Medal by the British Academy for his contributions to biblical studies.

Metzger would be most widely recognized by OCC students (especially students of Greek) for his book The Text of the New Testament, Oxford University Press, 1968, and for his Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek, and his A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament.

I have written earlier about Metzger's disciple, Bart Ehrman, who walked away from a conservative view of Scripture, I would think much to the dismay of Dr. Metzger himself. Ehrman's book, Misquoting Jesus claims to be earth-shattering, and new, but does not really present anything really new. I studied the essential characteristics of New Testament Textual Criticism as a freshman in college thirty six years ago. Our text was by J. Harold Greenlee, Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism. When I began reading Ehrman's book several months ago, I was distressed by what I interpreted as theological arrogance. It seems to me that he totally ignores conservative evangelical scholars with academic pedigrees at least as prestigious as his, as though they and their arguments don't even exist! I will likely finish Ehrman's book, but am distressed that many might read it, and conclude that there is no basis on which to put faith in the Biblical text, when there is much reason to do so. Ben Witherington, Daniel Wallace, and others have written reviews of Ehrman's book, and have done a much better job than I could do. I offer links to their reviews.

On a happier note, I found a a quiz on another site. It is called the Ultimate Bible Quiz. If you know much about the Bible, you ought to be able to score 100%!

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
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