February 15, 2007

Bruce Manning Metzger (1914-2007)

Sad news for the field of biblical textual studies:

Bruce Metzger, an expert on Greek biblical manuscripts, died Tuesday at the age of 93. The professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary died of natural causes.

Metzger was well known for his work in New Testament textual criticism. He served on the committee that produced the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament and wrote several books on textual criticism, including The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (1964, 1968, 1991) and Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Palaeography (1981). The British Academy made him a corresponding fellow in 1978, an honor that few American scholars receive.

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Metzger literally wrote the book on the Greek text of the New Testament. I've never read his more technical material - and probably wouldn't understand it anyway - but I've profited from his more popular works on the text of the New Testament, such as the aforementioned Text of the New Testament. The Church has lost a treasure.