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Autobiographical. Metzger and Me: Serving as his Teaching Assistant


In addition to studying with Bruce Metzger for seven years, four of them as his PhD student, I also served as his teaching assistant on a number of occasions. Teaching assistants normally help with the teaching of a large lecture course. Sometimes that means meeting with groups of students regularly – once a week – for a discussions section dealing with aspects of the course. And always it means helping with the grading, or – even more commonly – doing all the grading! The professor then lectures, gives assignments, directs the course – and the T.A. (= teaching assistant) does all the grunt work. It’s part of the training.

Metzger tended to have large courses for the MDiv students (Masters of Divinity is the basic degree for training to become a minister; MDiv students already have a college degree) – because so many of the students revered him and looked up to him as the “great man.”   He was a terrific lecturer – clear, organized, focused, insightful.   His colleagues, as I’ve mentioned, considered him old fashioned and theologically out of touch; but the students adored him.

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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.

Some Questions on the Greek
Autobiographical. Metzger and Me: My Dissertation Proposal



  1. Avatar
    dallaswolf  July 15, 2012

    Great stuff, Bart.

  2. Avatar
    Peter  July 16, 2012


    Please excuse the ‘random’ question, but I was just wondering how your undergraduate classes break down in terms of the sex of the students. I assumed that, say, 80-90% of your class would be male, but on reflection I realised I had no reason to think that! Also, has the ‘profile’ of your average student changed much since your first started teaching? e.g. are the students more knowledgable about the NT, more evangelical, or less hardworking[!] than your students in the 1980s?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  July 16, 2012

      Interesting! Why do you think the percentages go that way? I’d say about 60% of my classes are female. My sense is that students today are more interested in learning than my students were in the 1980s, when a lot of students simply saw college as a gateway to a good job.

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    Bill  July 16, 2012

    It is obvious that you love your work and you do a lot of it…and it shows on your blog.

    Now a ?…perhaps unrelated to the blog…you guys going to the Olympics?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  July 16, 2012

      Nope, not going to. The family has tickets to this and that, but they’re hard to come by, and when they were on the market, we weren’t sure we’d be there at the time. (Sarah did manage to see Nadal on Centre Court this year; but, regrettably, he lost….)

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    RonaldTaska  July 16, 2012

    I have found the Metzger essays to be very interesting. If you get a chance, could you tell us more about his theology and how he got there?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  July 16, 2012

      Yeah, I’ll probalby get there eventually!

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    jasha  July 16, 2012

    Wow, is this type of grading standard? If I’d known this I’d have put more effort into a good first page and worried a lot less about my conclusions section!

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  July 16, 2012

      Oh no — the conclusions matter too! They’re the key!

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