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