David Allen Black (Dec 3, 2007) reminisces about the “fascinating advice Bruce Metzger gave to one of his doctoral candidates just prior to that student’s oral dissertation defense at Princeton. Apparently Metzger was fond of telling his students to say “I don’t remember” instead of “I don’t know” if they didn’t know the answer to a question.”
Black remembers that he had to use this advice during his own oral exams:
“On one occasion during the exam I did indeed have to admit “I don’t remember.” I had been asked by Professor Martin Anton Schmidt to repeat Oscar Cullmann’s famous couplet. The answer, of course, was “schon erfüllt, noch nicht vollendet.” I knew the answer but developed a bad case of stage fright. I couldn’t spit the answer out for the life of me. Here’s the funny thing. They knew the answer. I knew the answer. They knew I knew the answer. I knew I knew the answer. Why, everyone in the whole universe knew the answer to that simple query. It was perhaps the easiest question I was asked during the entire 3-hour session, and I was completely tongue tied. So I admitted, in a sheepish voice, “Ich hab’s vergessen.”
So, that brings us to the Quote of the Week:
noch nicht vollendet.
vollenden finish, complete
noch nicht not yet