Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bruce Metzger On How He Started Teaching Greek

This little excerpt is taken from Reminiscences of an Octogenarian, written by Bruce Metzger. It explains how he started teaching Greek at Princeton:
"The academic year of 1938-39 proved to be an exceptionally busy one, for it was in the autumn of that year that I also began to teach elementary Greek at the Seminary. The opportunity to do so came about in a rather unexpected way. One day in the spring of 1938, some weeks prior to graduation, I happened to sit beside the president of the Seminary, John Mackay, while we were travelling on the train from Princeton to Princeton Junction. Entering into conversation, he invited me to serve as teaching fellow in Greek for the next academic year. Since there had never before been at the Seminary the post of teaching fellow, he needed to explain to me that, while I would be pursuing my own graduate studies, I would also be employed by the Seminary to teach entering students who required instruction in New Testament Greek grammar. Of course I gladly accepted the invitation. in the autumn of 1938, therefore, I began the first of my forty-six years of teaching at Princeton Theological Seminary."
By the way, Metzger adds a little about what his classroom was like. Check this out:
"The textbook used in the elementary Greek course was J. Gresham Machen's New Testament Greek for Beginners. In addition to the routine drill of conjugations and declinations, as well as exercises in translation from Greek to English and of English to Greek, it was my custom to introduce from time to time something altogether extraneous to the ordinary assignments in Greek grammar. For example, I might ask if anyone knew which is the shortest verse in the Greek New Testament (it is Luke 20:30 with twelve letters), or, what passage contains all the letters of the Greek alphabet (it is 1 Peter 3:19-20)."  
Speaking of Machen, stand by. I'm going to post something you might find interesting from my travels today. 

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