Bruce M. Metzger, emeritus professor of the New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, died Feb. 13, 2007, in Princeton, of respiratory failure. He was 93.
Metzger received a bachelor’s degree in Latin and Greek from Lebanon Valley College in 1935, and a bachelor’s in 1938 with a master’s in 1939 from Princeton Theological Seminary. He was then ordained a Presbyterian minister. In 1942, he earned a Ph.D. in classics from Princeton. Metzger joined the Theological Seminary’s faculty in 1940, and in 1964 became the George L. Collard Professor of New Testament Language and Literature. He retired in 1984.
An eminent authority on translating the New Testament from the original Greek, he was best known for directing 30 scholars for over a decade on the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, a widely used modern edition that eliminated such archaic language as “thee,” “thou,” and “hast,” and many “he’s.” Introduced in 1990, this edition replaced the Revised Standard Version of 1952.
As scholar and translator, Metzger was a very prolific author of books on the Bible. Along with Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, he knew Coptic, Syriac, Russian, German, Spanish, French, and Dutch, among others.
He is survived by his wife, Isobel, whom he married in 1944, and two sons.