Bruce Metzger, my mentor in graduate school, for both my Master’s degree and my PhD, has been invoked a number of times in recent comments on the blog. I thought it might be interesting to repost a few reminiscences I made about my work with him. These come from posts that appeared six years ago — when most of you weren’t on the blog. They will all be on my dissertation.
When I entered my PhD program at Princeton Theological Seminary, I knew already that I wanted to specialize in the study of the Greek manuscript tradition of the New Testament. As I indicated in my earlier posts, that’s why I went there, because Metzger was the country’s leading expert in this field, and one could argue the leading expert in the world (some Germans would contest the point!).
While doing my Master’s thesis for Metzger I read widely in the secondary literature on textual criticism, and came to be highly influenced by a scholar named Gordon Fee. Fee is an interesting and important figure. As it turns out, he is a very committed Pentecostal Christian, who preaches and evangelizes. But when he’s not doing that, he’s doing scholarship, and he’s an amazing scholar. He is also the author of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth and Discovering Biblical Equality, among other works. At the time of my master’s work, he was one of the top textual critics in the country, right behind Metzger (the generation, or so, behind him).
One of the things Fee had worked on was the Patristic evidence for the New Testament. These are the quotations of the New Testament by the ancient church fathers. Fee convincingly showed that these quotations were extremely important for reconstructing the original text of the New Testament and determining places where the text had been changed over the centuries. This is because …
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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.