xvi + 329 pp.
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Text and Community
Essays in Memory of Bruce M. Metzger (vol. 1)
Edited by J. Harold Ellens
Bruce Manning Metzger, New Testament professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, died in February 2007 at the age of 93. This volume in his honour was already in preparation, and has become of necessity a memorial volume rather than the Festschrift that was intended.
Metzger has been called the greatest American New Testament critic and biblical translator of the twentieth century. Among his writings most commonly cited are his classic studies The Text of the New Testament, its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration (1964) and The Early Versions of the New Testament, their Origin, Transmission, and Limitations (1977). He was also Chair of the Committee of Translators for the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (published 1990).
The first of these two wide-ranging and often innovative volumes created in his honour, subtitled Interpretation of the Text for the Community, falls into two parts: The Nature of the Bible: Manuscripts, Texts, and Translation (e.g. an ancient papyrus biblical fragment, biblical exegesis in the third world), and Understanding the Bible: Hermeneutics (e.g. biblical interpretation in Paul in its cultural context).
The second volume, on Implementation of the Text in the Community, has as its two parts, The Church and the Bible: Pulpit and Parish (e.g. pastoral care and the Bible) and The Academy, Science, Culture, Society, and the Bible (e.g. psychological method and the historical Jesus, Jungian and Freudian perspectives on gender in the Gospel of John).
J. Harold Ellens is Research Scholar, Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Overall, the volume is an enjoyable read and helpfully illustrates the diversity of biblical study. It would be useful in a graduate course on hermeneutics. Karl A. Kuhn, Catholic Biblical Quarterly.