In my reflections on my relationship with Bruce Metzger, my mentor through both my Masters and PhD degrees, I come now to a question I sometimes get asked. Metzger himself was a devout and pious Christian, an ordained Presbyterian minister, and unusually committed to his faith. When I first met him I was an evangelical; I changed over the years; I eventually left the faith. How did Metzger respond?
After all that I’ve written in these posts, I’m afraid the direct answer will be a bit of a disappointment. The answer is: I don’t know.
Metzger and I never talked about either my faith or his. He was my teacher and I was his student, and we talked almost exclusively about scholarship: New Testament studies, the history of earliest Christianity, the textual tradition of the New Testament. We did not have a pastoral relationship but an academic one. I don’t know if Metzger ever had a pastoral relationship with any of his students, but I somewhat doubt it. He was their teacher, not their pastor or counselor.
I know this seems weird to outsiders, since, well, isn’t faith the point? Well, it’s
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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.