THIS RETURNS TO MY SERIES OF POSTS ON MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY MENTOR BRUCE METZGER. EVENTUALLY, MANY POSTS FROM NOW, I’LL GET BACK TO THE ORIGINAL QUESTION: WHAT HE THOUGHT OF MY MOVE AWAY FROM THE FAITH. THAT’S WAY DOWN THE LINE.
I return to the early years of my relationship with Bruce Metzger. That graduate seminar that I took with him, my first semester in my PhD program, was exhilarating, and in some senses life changing. To be sure, most of the work we did for the seminar was difficult and detailed. Every week we had to translate from Greek or Latin an ancient “canon list” – that is, a list of books that this or that author thought should be considered canonical scripture – lists and discussions of canon from Origen, Eusebius, Codex Claramontanus, Athanasius, and so on. One of the students in the course, as it turns out, was a Greek orthodox priest studying for a PhD. He obviously knew Greek extremely well, better than any of us (except, of course, Metzger). At the beginning of each class, this student and Metzger would discuss each of the Greek texts we had translated for the week, specifically in order to correct the mistakes of the edition we were using when it came to the Greek accents! (Every Greek word has one or two accents on it, and these accents are to be made following rigorous and sometimes rather obscure rules….)
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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.