I often get asked about my relationship with my Doktor Vater Bruce Metzger, an unbelievably knowledgeable textual scholar and Bible translator. In response I’ve started re-posting some recollections I have. I was his final PhD student and, I daresay, had a closer relationship with him than probably any other. In this post I talk about the most famous anecdote about him that floated around Princeton for decades.
As with all great men, Metzger was widely talked about among those who knew and revered him. There were lots of stories told about Metzger at Princeton Seminary. Someone should probably collect and publish them. I was especially interested in the stories, since I came to Princeton in order to study with him. Most of the stories were meant to be funny, and we always wondered which, if any of them, were “true” (in the sense that they really happened).
Far and away the most commonly told and best known story was the one I heard when I first arrived at the seminary in 1978. It is the story of Metzger and the Squirrel.
Before telling the story and explicating it a bit, I need to stress that it is hard to
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