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A Text-Critical Dissertation

The point of this short thread dealing with my graduate training is to explain why it is that lots – probably most – New Testament scholars do not consider textual critics to be competent in a wide range of fields normally associated with New Testament scholarship.  I know that must seem very strange to outsiders, but it’s the case.  Textual critics are often thought of as a rather strange group of technicians without broad competency in the areas that other New Testament scholars are interested in – for example, the Jewish environment or the Greco-Roman worlds from which the New Testament emerged, the historical Jesus, the interpretation of and historical problems associated with the Gospels, the life and letters of the apostle Paul, the theology of the different NT writers, and on and on. The reason for this is that to be competently trained in textual criticism is a long and hard process and it’s very difficult to do that *and* to learn all the other things that most other NT scholars are competent and [...]

2020-12-29T01:07:27-05:00October 11th, 2014|Bart’s Biography, New Testament Manuscripts|

Autobiographical. Metzger and Me: Finishing the Dissertation

SOME MORE ON MY RELATIONSHIP WITH BRUCE METZGER, ON FINISHING THE DISSERTATION Different dissertation advisors have different approaches to supervising a dissertation. Some are extremely hands on, to the point of working over every thought and every sentence. Not too many are like that, because if they were, they would never do anything else with their life. Plus, the idea is for the student to figure it out and get good at it. That takes some trial and error. Other advisors go for the big picture and like to talk over the big ideas. Others basically don’t give a rip how the dissertation is coming along – they want to see it at the end, and when it’s done, they’ll tell the student whether it’s good enough or not. Others … well, there are lots of other approaches. Sometime I’ll explain mine, which is not quite any of the above. Metzger took an approach that other students may have found frustrating, but that was absolutely perfect for me.  He basically let me do my own [...]

2020-12-29T00:56:04-05:00August 14th, 2012|Bart’s Biography, Book Discussions, Reader’s Questions|

Autobiographical. Me and Metzger: More on the Dissertation

THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF MY POSTS OF MY RELATIONSHIP WITH BRUCE METZGER, MY MENTOR As I started thinking about how to write up this second post on my dissertation (the first post was posted some days ago), I remembered one of my clearest pieces of advice that I ever gave to myself, many years ago now, based, already then, on substantial experience.  Never , ever, NEVER ask a graduate student what s/he is writing the dissertation on.   They invariably will tell you, and it will take a half hour, and your eyes will glaze over in 30 seconds.   So just don’t do it.   With that principle in mind, I think I had better not go into all the ins and outs of the dissertation. I’ll just go into some of them…. FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, LOG IN AS A MEMBER. If you don't belong yet, now's your chance! The reason it is so painful listening to someone’s story about their dissertation is that by their very nature dissertations tend to [...]

2020-05-11T13:52:14-04:00August 12th, 2012|Bart’s Biography, Reader’s Questions|

Autobiographical. Metzger and Me: The Dissertation

THIS POST RESUMES MY RECOLLECTIONS OF MY INTERACTIONS WITH BRUCE METZGER, MY MENTOR. 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, [...]

2020-12-29T01:04:50-05:00August 8th, 2012|Bart’s Biography, Reader’s Questions|
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