Bruce Metzger, an expert on Greek biblical manuscripts and professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, died of natural causes on Tuesday (2/13/07) at the age of 93.
He is best remembered for his work on the RSV translation of the Bible, and later the NRSV. His book: The Text of The New Testament: Its transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, was a standard work of study in seminaries for many years. I personally appreciated his candor and his presentation of what he believed to be the truth even if it wasn’t always convenient or even wanted. His works on the N.T. text and on apocryphal writings were studied by all scholars- left, right, and middle.
From all accounts, he was approachable and ever gracious to his students. Even though some of his views were thought to be controversial by some, he is said to have remained a faithful believer in orthodox Christianity to the end.
The following is one of his more famous quotes made during the 50’s when the RSV translation first came out and a ‘fundamentalist’ preacher ceremoniously burned several copies on the front lawn of a church:
“Well, we have come a long way since William Tyndale. Now, at least, they burn the translations rather than the translators!”
See: Ben Witherington’s article on Metzger. He had studied under him on several occasions and gives a particularly interesting and insightful view of this important Bible scholar.