After all the tangents and side-tracks, I can return now to my reminiscences of my relationship with Bruce Metzger. Perhaps I should say a few things about his personality, as I perceived and experienced it.
I think everyone who knew him would say that he was a true Christian gentleman. He was respectful of all people, polite to a fault, and cordial. But he was not someone that anyone became intimate with. I am absolutely positive that I came to be closer to him than any PhD student he supervised in his 40 plus years teaching at Princeton Theological Seminary. He as much as told me so. I knew his wife and his two sons (a bit); he invited my family to Christmas dinner; for several weeks I lived with him and his wife in their home. But there was always a kind of distance to him as well. He never let down his hair. The best I can put it is that he was cordial rather than warm and intimate.
He was a shy man. You would not know that from his public persona, but in personal contact he was shy and was not all that easy to talk with. We had a joke about it among the graduate students. One of my friends was in his home turning in a late paper; they made some small talk; there was a silence; and out of the blue, Metzger pointed to a grandfather clock in the room and said, “I *made* that clock!” For years, whenever my friend and I would be talking and there was a pause, one of us would say, “I *made* that clock.”
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Bruce Metzger is the author of several books including The Early Versions of the New Testament and The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, And Restoration.