The Danger of Westcott and Hort

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
After much research in textual criticism and seeing the recent post asking for help with the critical text and encouragements to read Wescott and Hort, I didn’t want to distract from that thread so created this one only to show many very very serious errors of W/H. Whether it is denying the historicity of Gen. 1-3 or agreeing with Darwin completely, universalism, and various other views…these men show themselves to be often opposed to Christ and the Gospel. The works of these men should never be trusted when discussing textual criticism.

The first is shorter and gives a good summary of the problems of W/H in their own words: https://www.Jesus-is-savior.com/Bible/westcott_and_hort_exposed.htm

The second is a much longer researched paper into W/H examining their writings: https://faithsaves.net/wp-content/u...gical-Heresies-of-Westcott-and-Hort-Waite.pdf

Finally, a seminary in Singapore brings their view of W/H’s work: https://www.febc.edu.sg/v15/article/def_the_inside_story_of_westcott_and_hort
 

Before

Puritan Board Freshman
Hold on, I'm going to pop some popcorn; this should could be good.
 
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Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Is Jesus not the saviour?
Sure I agree with that, but not that John Calvin was a heretic: https://www.Jesus-is-savior.com/False Doctrines/Calvinism/john_calvin_exposed.htm Or more relevant to the OP, that the KJV itself is inerrant and inspired: https://www.Jesus-is-savior.com/Bible/KJB/inspired.htm

The OP may be interested to know they also have problems with young earth creationism since he included that on his list of things Wescott and Hort did: https://www.Jesus-is-savior.com/Evolution Hoax/science_of_creation.htm
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Sure I agree with that, but not that John Calvin was a heretic: https://www.Jesus-is-savior.com/False Doctrines/Calvinism/john_calvin_exposed.htm Or more relevant to the OP, that the KJV itself is inerrant and inspired: https://www.Jesus-is-savior.com/Bible/KJB/inspired.htm

The OP may be interested to know they also have problems with young earth creationism since he included that on his list of things Wescott and Hort did: https://www.Jesus-is-savior.com/Evolution Hoax/science_of_creation.htm

Are the quotes ascribed to Westcott and Hort accurate or not? If not then fine but if accurate what does it matter what website they are posted on? And what does it matter if the website promotes the view that the KJV is an inspired translation? What matters is if Westcott and Hort were or were not heretics. And applying your own logic, if they were then anything they wrote or produced should be repudiated.
 
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Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I’m honestly a little shocked anyone on Puritan Board would ever cite this website approvingly for anything.
It is given as a short summary. Not an endorsement of views. If the quotes are accurate, then it is damning on W/H. Feel free to ignore and move on to link #2. Since most people don’t want to read a 50 pg paper, link 1 was provided.
 

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
Even while men with some detestable beliefs may have been among the first to systematize CT methodology, their work has been scrutinized and accepted, albeit with considerable refinement, by many orthodox believing scholars. I can sympathize if one still has objective problems with some of the methodology behind CT, but the constant mantra against W&H with points like "they worshiped Mary" is ad hominem. King James VI, the notorious Puritan hater, was the "authority" behind the KJV - so what? Scholarship stands or falls on its own merits, or lack thereof.
 
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JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
Even while men with some detestable beliefs may have been among the first to systematize CT methodology, their work has been scrutinized and accepted, albeit with considerable refinement, by many orthodox believing scholars. I can sympathize if one still has objective problems with some of the methodology behind CT, but the constant mantra against W&H with points like "they worshiped Mary" is ad hominem. King James VI, the notorious Puritan hater, was the "authority" behind the KJV - so what? Scholarship stands or falls on its own merits, or lack thereof.
Exactly right. W&H were Greek & Hebrew scholars who performed a translation based on a voluminous number of texts. Whatever their individual feelings toward some of the issues listed in the attacks against them, the translation they made was celebrated, at the time, by the paramount theologians, and scholars, of their day ... and many since then.

Of course the CT has come a long way since then, but the foundation of it is still in agreement with W&H's work (correct me if I'm wrong) So I could list A.E. Robertson, Benjamin B. Warfield, and scads of others who wrote favorably of the W&H text, but the bottom line is ... if you are reading anything but a KJV, NKJV, or Geneva Bible you are reading a CT based text.

Is that the 'broad way that leads to destruction' ? I don't think so. One more thing, after getting on this board some years ago, and seeing the demonizing of these two men, I went online and searched for biographical information on them. I was amazed at the endless links to sites that were filled with ad hominem attacks and little else.

Years ago one individual who enthusiastically attacked them on this board at that time joined in, and when I asked if he had ever read anything by Westcott he replied .... 'well, no, but I've read about him.'

Read Westcott's commentary on the Gospel of John before you draw conclusions on whether he was a heretic, or a pagan.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I don’t like this view, someone who holds this view said other (unrelated) things which are false, therefore I can disregard this view as likely false.
I think the critique is fair of the website in question. It possible it presents accurate information on W&H, but if you look at the materials on the site, the guy is off his rocker. He essentially would call everything we believe in on this board (reformed biblical theology) demonic and from Satan. We should find better sources of information.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Are the quotes ascribed to Westcott and Hort accurate or not? If not then fine but if accurate what does it matter what website they are posted on?
It is given as a short summary. Not an endorsement of views. If the quotes are accurate, then it is damning on W/H.
I don’t like this view, someone who holds this view said other (unrelated) things which are false, therefore I can disregard this view as likely false.
But isn’t this exactly what this thread is doing? If Westcott’s and Hort’s statements about the text are correct, then it shouldn’t matter what else they believed, right?

For the record, I’m not CT. But I do insist upon equal weights and measures, which my side of this discussion tends to abandon. This thread is a case in point, in my opinion.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
I don't take much stock in Wescott and Hortt, anymore than I suppose a KJV user would of Erasmus. Erasmus was also a flawed man. I wouldn't go as far as Martin Luther who called him "the vilest miscreant that ever disgraced the earth" and said "whenever I pray, I pray for a curse upon Erasmus." Nevertheless, Erasmus had a hugely important role in the Reformation in compiling the early editions of the Textus Receptus which was relied upon heavily for the KJV and other Reformation-era translations. The work also continued after Erasmus with sounder men like Beza.

It was sound orthodox men like B.B. Warfield and how they synthesized the related issues that convinced me of my position on textual issues, even though in the history of textual criticism and translations there have been orthodox, godly men and heretics alike. I'd argue that the problem goes back much further than Erasmus and W&H, as the earliest scholar to do work in the field was none other than Origin!
 

Before

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't take much stock in Wescott and Hortt, anymore than I suppose a KJV user would of Erasmus. Erasmus was also a flawed man. I wouldn't go as far as Martin Luther who called him "the vilest miscreant that ever disgraced the earth" and said "whenever I pray, I pray for a curse upon Erasmus." Nevertheless, Erasmus had a hugely important role in the Reformation in compiling the early editions of the Textus Receptus which was relied upon heavily for the KJV and other Reformation-era translations. The work also continued after Erasmus with sounder men like Beza.
What's a bit ironic is that Tolle Lege Press has put out in the past a 'Luther version' of the 1599 Geneva Bible. ISBN-13 : 978-1938139352 :
 
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Aspiring Homesteader

Puritan Board Freshman
I find the whole realm of textual criticism and CT vs TR difficult to grasp, and even more difficult to make an informed judgment about.

When things like this thread topic come up, or different TR arguments based on rhetoric or moral pronouncements, it’s even harder.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
But isn’t this exactly what this thread is doing? If Westcott’s and Hort’s statements about the text are correct, then it shouldn’t matter what else they believed, right?

For the record, I’m not CT. But I do insist upon equal weights and measures, which my side of this discussion tends to abandon. This thread is a case in point, in my opinion.
Hi Taylor, you are absolutely right (the parts in bold I mean, I don't agree that your side engages in this practice more than CT advocates do). I do think there is a fine distinction to be drawn between a situation where someone's errors touch on the point being discussed, and a situation where someone who has errors is quoting someone else to show what they believed. I think the former situation is applicable to Westcott and Hort and this topic, but in reality I'm not familiar enough with all their views to insist so (I didn't read much of that page, it offended my eyes). So I'm happy to leave it there for my part - in any case, Westcott and Hort being heretics is not the only (or even main) argument against the CT.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't agree that your side engages in this practice more than CT advocates do…
It is rather broadly recognized—and it has certainly been almost my universal experience—that one side of this debate more consistently engages in ad hominem while protecting their own from the same tactics. There are happy exceptions (e.g., Jeff Riddle, Christian McShaffrey, Brett Mahlen) who are thankfully growing in number (Pastor Christian in particular has been very helpful for me personally; I am thankful to know and work with him), but I think it is rather undeniable that historically this debate has been unbalanced, unfair, and unmeasured primarily on one side.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
But isn’t this exactly what this thread is doing? If Westcott’s and Hort’s statements about the text are correct, then it shouldn’t matter what else they believed, right?

For the record, I’m not CT. But I do insist upon equal weights and measures, which my side of this discussion tends to abandon. This thread is a case in point, in my opinion.

Well first of all this thread was begun in response to a work by Westcott and Hort being recommended. It wasn't begun in order to argue that because Westcott and Hort were heretics therefore the whole textual criticism movement is heretical. I would agree that such a simplistic argument would be indulging in a double standard.

However, secondly, it is certainly significant that two of the pioneers of the modern textual criticism/critical text movement were heretics. And further, their philosophy and indeed their version of the NT continue to influence Bible translations to this day.

All this doesn't prove modern textual criticism to be error but it is to point out that what we see today has its origins in the work of heretics and that should be of great concern to us.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
I think the critique is fair of the website in question. It possible it presents accurate information on W&H, but if you look at the materials on the site, the guy is off his rocker. He essentially would call everything we believe in on this board (reformed biblical theology) demonic and from Satan. We should find better sources of information.

Is the problem with the website his opinions or the accuracy of the information? If he believes the KJV is an inspired translation and that Calvin was a heretic then one disagrees with him absolutely. But these are opinions. Is he falsely attributing quotes to individuals? Is he lying about individuals? Is he presenting lies and fabrications as truth? That is a very different thing. If he is doing the latter then one would be correct in doubting quotes attributed to these two individual men found on his site (unless the sources he cites for the quotes prove the quotes to be true); if it is merely the former then certainly one wouldn't waste one's time in reading through the website thoroughly but if it is a convenient resource for certain information then there is no reason not to make use of it.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Is the problem with the website his opinions or the accuracy of the information? If he believes the KJV is an inspired translation and that Calvin was a heretic then one disagrees with him absolutely. But these are opinions. Is he falsely attributing quotes to individuals? Is he lying about individuals? Is he presenting lies and fabrications as truth? That is a very different thing. If he is doing the latter then one would be correct in doubting quotes attributed to these two individual men found on his site (unless the sources he cites for the quotes prove the quotes to be true); if it is merely the former then certainly one wouldn't waste one's time in reading through the website thoroughly but if it is a convenient resource for certain information then there is no reason not to make use of it.
As far as I can tell it is the later. Again, it is more than Calvin. The man is unhinged. Go to the website and just do a quick survey.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
It is rather broadly recognized—and it has certainly been almost my universal experience—that one side of this debate more consistently engages in ad hominem while protecting their own from the same tactics. There are happy exceptions (e.g., Jeff Riddle, Christian McShaffrey, Brett Mahlen) who are thankfully growing in number (Pastor Christian in particular has been very helpful for me personally; I am thankful to know and work with him), but I think it is rather undeniable that historically this debate has been unbalanced, unfair, and unmeasured primarily on one side.
I am going to see these 3 individuals today at the kept pure in all ages conference. I don't think I will be convinced of the TR position, but I am willing to learn and looking forward to the fellowship. Currently, I hold to a view similar to pastor Lane.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
That's also what the OP is doing.

This is just not true. As I said above: the original post of this thread was limited to the work of Westcott and Hort. It was not a criticism of the textual criticism movement or the critical text of the Bible used for translations today, simply from their association with Westcott and Hort (it actually wasn't a criticism of those things at all). In another thread a book by W&H was recommended and this thread was started (as said in the OP in order to prevent the other thread from being derailed) to warn against reading work specifically by those two men.

If criticism of W&H is considered identical to criticism of textual criticism and the critical text then I would suggest that says more about the weaknesses of TC/CT than it does about the motives or arguments of those of us in this thread critiquing W&H.
 
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alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
As far as I can tell it is the later. Again, it is more than Calvin. The man is unhinged. Go to the website and just do a quick survey.

One need only look at the appearance of the home page to see that. But one page was linked in support of an argument so I don't see the problem in making use of it.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
I don't take much stock in Wescott and Hortt, anymore than I suppose a KJV user would of Erasmus. Erasmus was also a flawed man. I wouldn't go as far as Martin Luther who called him "the vilest miscreant that ever disgraced the earth" and said "whenever I pray, I pray for a curse upon Erasmus." Nevertheless, Erasmus had a hugely important role in the Reformation in compiling the early editions of the Textus Receptus which was relied upon heavily for the KJV and other Reformation-era translations. The work also continued after Erasmus with sounder men like Beza.

It was sound orthodox men like B.B. Warfield and how they synthesized the related issues that convinced me of my position on textual issues, even though in the history of textual criticism and translations there have been orthodox, godly men and heretics alike. I'd argue that the problem goes back much further than Erasmus and W&H, as the earliest scholar to do work in the field was none other than Origin!

This is a fair argument. I would only repeat that this particular thread was started to critique W&H and not textual criticism generally merely because of their very important role within it.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
One need only look at the appearance of the home page to see that. But one page was linked in support of an argument so I don't see the problem in making use of it.
If you would like to criticize W&H, but all means go right ahead. I don't believe text criticism stands or falls based on them and what they believed. My only concern was that using the website in question makes you lose credibility. My whole point was, there are better sources to use for criticism rather than a seemingly crazy person's personal site whether the information is true or false. It is likely you could get the quote or information from several other places that don't link to that particular website. I am not saying just because the information is on that site, it means its incorrect. Just saying, that would not be the source I would start with if I am trying to persuade someone of a particular view.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
This is just not true. As I said above: the original post of this thread was limited to the work of Westcott and Hort. It was not a criticism of the textual criticism movement or the critical text of the Bible used for translations today, simply from their association with Westcott and Hort (it actually wasn't a criticism of those things at all). In another thread a book by W&H was recommended and this thread was started (as said in the OP in order to prevent the other thread from being derailed) to warn against reading work specifically by those two men.

If criticism of W&H is considered identical to criticism of textual criticism and the critical text then I would suggest that says more about the weaknesses of TC/CT than it does about the motives or arguments of those of us in this thread critiquing W&H.

I said nothing about whether it was okay to criticize textual criticism. My point, as also made by others, is that one of the pages merely attacked the men themselves and not the issue of their role in textual criticism.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
I said nothing about whether it was okay to criticize textual criticism. My point, as also made by others, is that one of the pages merely attacked the men themselves and not the issue of their role in textual criticism.

In post #14 you suggested that the OP was criticising textual criticism by criticising W&H and thus was using the same argument against TC which we were saying shouldn't be used against the website. My point is that this comparison doesn't stand up because the OP wasn't talking about TC but only about W&H.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
In post #14 you suggested that the OP was criticising textual criticism by criticising W&H and thus was using the same argument against TC which we were saying shouldn't be used against the website. My point is that this comparison doesn't stand up because the OP wasn't talking about TC but only about W&H.

I see. You're right. The posts was mainly about the bad things W&H believed. Even if that is true, it is irrelevant to the truth or falsity of their work elsewhere (which is why we grant the Papist Erasmus a pass).
 
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