Friday, February 16, 2007

More on Metzger

Evangelical Textual Criticism is collecting tributes to Bruce Metzger, so far Iain Torrance, Princeton Theological Seminary and Mike Holmes. No doubt there will be many more to come. Here's an obituary from the LA Times:

Bruce Manning Metzger, 93; New Testament scholar helped edit, update Bible translations
By Mary Rourke, Times Staff Writer

The piece focuses on some of the gender inclusive language in the NRSV translation:
. . . . Soon after Metzger and his colleagues completed their work in 1989, he pointed out some of the changes in an interview with The Times.

The phrase, "Man shall not live by bread alone," from the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy and the New Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke, was adjusted to read, "One shall not live by bread alone."

"O men of little faith," in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, became "O you of little faith." The original Greek text did not use the word for man in that phrase, Metzger said. To insert it was "an unnecessary, restrictive" addition, he told The Times . . .
This reminds me of the one occasion I met Prof. Metzger. He came to lecture in Birmingham on the NRSV in 1996 and my colleague David Parker, a friend of Metzger's, introduced me -- and he was as delightful in person as everyone says he was. I remember one thing in particular from his lecture. When discussing the issue of gender inclusive translation, he explained the difficulties over translating sentences traditionally translated with male-specific language, like "Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear". Prof. Metzger explained that he had received a letter from someone strongly urging him to use the new gender inclusive pronoun "thon", thus "Whoever has ears to hear, let thon here." He said that he replied to her by saying that he would be willing to consider the use of "thon" as soon as it appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary.

No comments: