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Chapter 8

Westcott and Hort

 

Bishop B.F. Westcott and Professor F.J.A. Hort were the most significant translators of the Revised Version, and since their theories of textual criticism continue to dominate the thinking of modern translators, we are at liberty to examine their personal convictions, for manifestly these have dictated their view of Scripture. That both men accepted gross apostasy is testified by their own writings.

Let us first refer to Dr. Hort. His attitude to the Textus Receptus is no secret. He himself wrote:

Think of that vile Textus Receptus. Life of Hort, vol. 1, 214, quoted in B.J.Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, 168

With this attitude to the Greek text, in defense of which many true Christians were prepared to yield their lives, we need not be perplexed as to why Hort engineered the discarding of the Textus Receptus as the basis for the Revised Version and replaced it essentially with the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus.

He did not accept as truth the very Book he led out in translating.

I am inclined to think that no such state as "Eden" (I mean the popular notion) ever existed, and that Adam’s fall in no degree differed from the fall of each of his descendants, as Coleridge justly argues. Letter written by Hort to John Ellerton, recorded in Life of Hort, vol. 1, 78, quoted in ibid., 157

How could the Holy Spirit enlighten a man who had such contempt for God’s Word?

Once again we are not left to doubt why Hort possessed no faith in the veracity of the early chapters of the Pentateuch; he was a convinced evolutionist. In his letter to fellow translator and Anglican minister John Ellerton, he wrote:

But the book which has most engaged me is Darwin. Whatever may be thought of it, it is a book that one is proud to be contemporary with. . . . My feeling is strong that the theory is unanswerable. If so, it opens up a new period. Letter to John Ellerton, dated April 3, 1860, Life of Hort, vol. 1, 416, quoted in ibid., 152

While we possess no evidence to support the suggestion that Dr. Hort was a Jesuit who had infiltrated the Anglican Church, one matter is certain: he could not have done a "better" work had he been one. That he was a Roman Catholic at heart is documented beyond dispute. The following five quotations from his own pen should convince the most skeptical.

I have been persuaded for many years that Mary-worship and "Jesus"-worship have very much in common in their causes and their results. Ibid.

I am very far from pretending to understand completely the oft-renewed vitality of Mariolatry. Ibid.

But this last error can hardly be expelled till Protestants unlearn the crazy horror of the idea of Priesthood. Ibid.

But you know I am a staunch sacerdotalist. Ibid.

I believe that Coleridge was quite right in saying that Christianity without a substantial church is vanity and disillusion; and I remember shocking you and Lightfoot not so long ago by expressing a belief that "Protestantism" is only parenthetical and temporary. Ibid., 155

It is proper to ask the rhetorical question, Could God use such a man, steeped in the pagan superstition of Roman Catholicism, to bring new light to the world concerning His Word?

Bishop Westcott, the Anglican Bishop of Durham, was no less of Catholic persuasion, as his own pen testifies.

After leaving the monastery, we shaped our course to a little oratory which we discovered on the summit of a neighboring hill. . . . Fortunately we found the door open. It is very small, with one kneeling-place; and behind a screen was a "Pieta" [a statue of the Virgin and the dead Christ] the size of life. . . . Had I been alone I could have knelt there for hours. Westcott wrote from France to his fiancée, 1847, Life of Westcott, vol 2, 50, quoted in Ibid.

I wish I could see to what forgotten truth Mariolatry bears witness. Westcott wrote to Archbishop Benson, November 17, 1865. Ibid.

He was just as condemnatory of the accuracy of the Word of God as was his colleague.

No one now, I suppose, holds that the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, give a literal history. I could never understand how any one reading them with open eyes could think they did. Westcott wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury on Old Testament criticism, March 4, 1890. Ibid., 157

Thus the two translators, whose work in textual criticism has dominated almost all translations made in the last century, are seen to be "cupboard" Roman Catholics, men who deny the inerrancy of Scripture and subscribe to the theory of evolution. It is a record of belief that should utterly destroy confidence in their work.

That they introduced not only the Western text dear to the Roman Catholic Church, but that they concurred in the introduction of subtle Roman Catholic teaching,1 should also surprise no one.

Further, their lack of belief in the Holy Book they chose to translate and their acceptance of the theory of evolution disqualify them as serious textual critics. Yet countless millions of Christians today are totally oblivious of these facts, and unwittingly study from Bibles whose translations have been influenced by the theories of these faithless men.

1 See chapter 17 entitled Subtle Catholicism. <BACK>


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