Quotes of Westcott and Hort

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by BrianT, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT
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    Several quotes were posted lately from Westcott and Hort. It has been my experience that much more often than not, such quotes are altered and/or taken out of context, in an attempt to discredit Westcott and Hort (which sort of is irrelevant, for the issue is about the text, not so much the persons behind them - as well I am left to wonder if the people who have produced the quotes have done any similar investigation into the beliefs of the KJV translators...)

    As I previously noted, I am still trying to secure copies of "Life and Letters" for each of Westcott and Hort, so I am unable to directly address those quotes at this time, except to make some observations. Here are the quotes that were posted:

    Besides lacking context, I am extremely suspicious of quotes that include "..." (thank Gail Riplinger for causing this suspicion). One comment off the top of my head is that despite the quote above, Hort was likely more tolerant of "Evangelicals" than the KJV translators were. [​IMG]

    As will be demonstrated with the next quote, without context I have no reason to believe this is a complete sentence, let alone Westcott's belief. When/if I obtain a copy of this book, I will verify.

    This quote comes from the very first page of the preface, where he explains why he's writing this book. The quote above is NOT a complete sentence in the context, but has been altered by capitalizing "Our" to make it appear that this is Westcott's claim, rather than him discussing (and rebutting) someone else's claim. Whoever originally "dug out" and altered this quote did so dishonestly, for to find the quote they would have had to read the surrounding text, which makes it clear he is talking about what *others* have said, not what he himself believes. Here is the quote in context, with the sub-quote in bold:

    "My object in the present Essay has been to deal with the New Testament as a whole, and that on purely historical grounds. The separate books of which it is composed are considered not individually, but as claiming to be parts of the Apostolic heritage of Christians. And thus reserving for another occasion the inquire into their mutual relations and essential unity, I have endavoured to connect the history of the New Testament Canon with the growth and consolidation of the Catholic Church, and to point out the relation existing between the amount of evidence for the authenticity of its component parts, and the whole mass of Christian literature. However imperfectly this design has been carried out, I cannot but hope that such a method of inquiry will convey both the truest notion of the connexion of the written Word with the living body of Christ, and the surest conviction of its divine authority. Hitherto the co-existence of several types of Apostolic doctrine in the first age and of various parties in Christendom for several generations afterwards has been quoted to prove that our Bible as well as our Faith is a mere compromise. But while I acknowledge most willingly the great merit of the Tübingen School in pointing out with marked distinctness the characteristics of the diffferent books of the New Testament, and their connexion with special sides of Christian doctrine and with various eras in the Christian Church, it seems to me almost inexplicable that they should not have found in those writings the explanation instead of the result of the divisions which are are traceable to the Apostolic times."

    Ibid of what? What book? What page? This appears to be from "Life and Letters", from a letter Westcott wrote to Archbishop Benson, November 17, 1865. But note what he is actually saying here: he is not saying he believes Mariolatry is correct (and other writings of his affirm he believes it is wrong), he is expressing his wondering about why it developed, what truth was twisted and/or forgotten to allow Mariolatry to evolve. I wonder this as well.

    The "Romanish" view of what? Of baptism? Of eschatology? Of fashion? And again, whatever issue he is discussing here, I'm sure the KJV translators would agree with him. [​IMG]

    No, I didn't forget you, aefting. [​IMG] You asked about:

    I looked at this quote a little, I didn't have time to study it thoroughly. At least this quote does not seem to be out of context like the others. [​IMG] I'm not sure if this quote proves they believed the original writers could have penned error, or if they are just listing what people in general might "speculate" (from first sentence) is the cause of some corruptions. I will look at this in more detail this evening.

    If anyone has other quotes they would like me to examine, again I do not yet have "Life and Letters" for either of them, but I do have most (80%?) of their other books, so any quotes from those other books I should be able to provide info about.

    Brian
     
  2. LarryN

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    The denunciation/vilification of W & H is definitely something relatively recent. Old-time conservatives & fundamentalists such as R.V. Clearwaters and J.G. Machen quoted them favorably, and a man who is an icon to many fundamentalists, John R. Rice, quotes W favorably in his 1969 book "Our God-Breathed Book, The Bible". Dr. Rice mentions at one point late in the book that W's commentaries were on the shelf in his study, and that he referred to them in his studies!
     
  3. BrianT

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    Agreed. Thanks for the great, interesting examples. Here's a couple more:

    Scofield (many KJV-only supporters use the "Old Scofield KJV") said this in the preface of the "Old Scofield KJV" (emphasis added):

    Also, Spurgeon said of Westcott and his book "Introduction to the Study of the Gospels":

     
  4. Surfer5

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    No, its not. Witness the fact that Westcott & Hort were castigated in 560 pages of the Revision Revised by Burgon in 1883. Scrivener condemned the R.V. (W&H).


    Surfer
     
  5. Surfer5

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    Here is the context. Please take your time in viewing this. Do you think there is context now ?


    http://www.geocities.com/churchillfive/Page18.html

    I found this rather disturbing...

    :(
     
  6. BrianT

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    Here is the context. Please take your time in viewing the context. Do you have enough context now ?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Awesome, thanks. Yes, the context is great. And also reveals yet another manipulated quote. Note what what *actually* said (emphasis added):

    As I guessed earlier, the quote as originally presented was not the complete sentence. In addition, the 'parenthesis' aspect of "I reject the word infallibility" was removed and made to appear as though "of Holy Scripture" was the remainder of the thought. Skip over the parenthesis, and Wescott is *affirming* "the absolute truth of Holy Scripture". Any "difficulties" and "doubts" he sees in scripture "come from my own ignorance" - i.e. when he sees a problem, he recognizes and admits that the problem is with *him*, not with Scripture. The "infallibility" he is rejecting is *his own infallibility* in having all the answers. How can he reject the infallibility of Scripture and *affirm* the "absolute truth" of Scripture in the same sentence? He talking about two different things: the absolute truth of Scripture, and the rejection of infallibility of his own understanding of those absolutely true Scriptures.

    This evening I will endeavor to provide specific quotes that shows Westcott *affirms* the "infallibility" of scripture.
     
  7. LarryN

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    No, its not. Witness the fact that Westcott & Hort were castigated in 560 pages of the Revision Revised by Burgon in 1883. Scrivener condemned the R.V. (W&H).


    Surfer
    </font>[/QUOTE]Response: Scrivener 'condemned' the R.V.? He had some differences with their (W & H's) conclusions, but his criticisms were largely muted by the various MS discoveries in the following few years of the 19th century. I've not run across any outright condemnation, taken in actual context.

    As for the Burgon work cited, I'm admittedly not familiar with it first-hand, but I'd be skeptical of any 'castigation', likewise taken in actual context.
     
  8. Surfer5

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    IF we presume that your interpretation is correct, the only way would be that Within the Bible are the words of an "Authentic text", which Westcott perceives to actually be the correct one.

    So "his" Bible would be within "THE" Bible. The issue of what his Bible is...remains to be clarified.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. BrianT

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    There is a fair amount of "castignation" of their *methods*, but I'll have to double-check tonight to see if there is any castignation of them personally. I won't do a thorough check, because the book is a whopping 600 pages of difficult reading. [​IMG]

    Um, what??? I don't understand your point, nor what relevance it has to the quote under discussion. Can you clarify?

    Also, no comments on the previous quotes I discussed above, especially the "Our Bible as well as our Faith is a mere compromise" one?
     
  10. Surfer5

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    Ok how about the statement, and the context at:

    http://www.geocities.com/churchillfive/Page52.html


    What say you now ??

    [​IMG]
     
  11. LarryN

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    Ok how about the statement, and the context at:

    http://www.geocities.com/churchillfive/Page52.html


    What say you now ??

    [​IMG]
    </font>[/QUOTE]Well, on the face of it, without actually looking at the quote or context, I'd say that he's expressing the normal, occasional doubts experienced by many a sinner saved by grace.
    The Apostle Thomas needed to feel the nail prints in his Master's hands before he'd accept the resurection (Thomas demanded not only to see but also to feel the evidence, and he lived with & experienced Jesus in the flesh!).
    Nowhere does scripture condemn Christians for expressing some doubts- that is our human (sinful nature) instinct that Westcott alludes to.
     
  12. Surfer5

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    Well, I will look forward to your post in the other thread on Westcott & Genesis.

    In order for you to be right, you would have to be right all of the time in all of the quotes about Westcott & Hort. In order however to prove that W & H had serious problems with the text or the deity of Christ, all that would be needed would be one quote (provided it is accurate, of course).

    To disprove W or H would be a challenge. But to attempt to demonstrate their genuine orthodoxy seems to me to be a much bigger challenge.

    From your own above quote of Westcott, this sounds like he was trying to prove a connection between the NT Canon and the Catholic Church. That would not be an orthodox protestant position.
     
  13. BrianT

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    Ok how about the statement, and the context at:

    http://www.geocities.com/churchillfive/Page52.html


    What say you now ??

    [​IMG]
    </font>[/QUOTE]What say I now? I say this: it is growing very tiresome to address these quotes, and have you dismiss my comments and questions without responses of your own. Nevertheless, I do not see what the problem is here. He is simply saying that whenever he reads of a miracle, his *instincts* want to make him skeptical, and make him want to find evidence. He does not go on to say that he allows this instinctive reaction to dominate how he views the miracle, instead of suppressing that natural instict and simply accepting the miracle by faith. He simply describes an initial reaction - he does not say he goes by that initial reaction. BTW, that is what FAITH is: believing something *despite* not having the "evidence in account of it", for where there is proof, there is no room (nor need) for faith.

    BTW, what year was this quote from? It only says "Aug 11". A man's views on miracles can change quite drastically over several decades.
     
  14. BrianT

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    Well, I will look forward to your post in the other thread on Westcott & Genesis.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I'll get to it when I get time. But is it so hard for you to admit that the "Our Bible as well as our Faith is a mere compromise" is completely out of context, and that Wescott was talking about what *others* say, to which he was addressing??? Come on, Surfer5.

    Right about what? I'm simply showing where oft-repeated "quotes" about them are altered and/or ripped out of context in an attempt to malign them. It is not my intent, nor desire, to defend every single statement they ever made. I will defend their orthodoxy on the key doctrines though.

    Yes, and such a quote does not seem to exist, or it would have been put forth by now.

    No, it's easy. Very easy. Read "The Historic Faith" by Westcott. I've put chapter 4 of this book (the chapter that deals with Christ and his deity) online here: http://www.tegarttech.com/wh/historicfaith_iv.html

    Sure it would. There were no Protestants at the time of canonization. ;)
     
  15. Surfer5

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    Aren't you glad that you are getting practice - for the rest of your life, on dealing with Westcott & Hort ? You are the one who says that he is likes Westcott & Hort. I presume you did not designate yourself as one of their defenders because you disliked them.

    And you most likely will have to be familiar with their work, their books, their lives, their friends, etc. Of course no one is obligating you to do this. It only depends on the extent to which they viewpoint can be successfully represented, and how much of that information you
    wish to aquaint yourself with.

    I am having to do the very same thing. Some days I am even sick & tired of doing it, but I am doing it much of the time (or trying to).

    You think that I have not responded, but yesterday you were telling me that you thought that I had probably not even read their work.

    (Have we begun to lay that issue to rest ?)

    Now you see today, that I am responding to what you wrote yesterday. So just because you do not get an instant response - does not mean that you are not being responded to.

    You are the one who seemed to think that some of these quotes were taken out of context (and some of them may have been misunderstood).

    So that brings up the issue of which quotes were taken out of context and which ones were not. At least, rather than leave you to fend on your own, I did supply you and others with the primary data themselves...so they could make up their own mind.

    But just because you can point out that a few of those quotes were misunderstood does not change what Westcott & Hort wrote themselves in the rest of their work. Is it my fault that they wrote several books ?

    I am hardly trying to drown you in minutia. The issue of what W & H wrote is relevant. The issue of whether you are giving them the benefit of the doubt when they do not deserve it - is relevant also [you probably would make the same argument to me vice-versa]. IN addition you have about 20 people who will jump in to affirm your POV. I think I may have 3 or 4. So my work seems like its a good amount as well...

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Surfer5

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    Give me a few minutes...I will get back to you...
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    Ok how about the statement, and the context at:

    http://www.geocities.com/churchillfive/Page52.html


    What say you now ??

    [​IMG]
    </font>[/QUOTE]The only Westcott work I have is his commentary on Hebrews where he affirms the reality of divine miracles in his comments on 2:4: "The passage is of deep interest as shewing the unquestioned reality of miraculous gifts in the early Church: and the way in which they were regarded as coordinate with other exhibitions of divine power."

    So it seems clear that Westcott affirmed the "reality of divine miracles." I think we all at times have thought of the improbability of divine miracles. The disciples themselves were inflicted with such thinkign when they doubted whether five loaves and two fish were sufficient to feed all those people. They even doubted the promise of the resurrection. So if Westcott's problem is the wonderment at divine miracles, he is in pretty good company ... at least it seems so based on what Scripture reveals to us.
     
  18. BrianT

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    I realize this. I just find it a little bothersome when you raise *new* issues before even dealing with the *existing* issues. Maybe you are comfortable carrying on 47 different conversations at the same time with the same person, but I am not.

    And for this I am grateful. It is rare to have someone do this, usually people just copy-paste a few quotes they read somewhere, then run away whenever someone responds.

    ??? I'm just trying to reveal the truth about quotes ripped out of context.

    When I first began looking into W/H, I *didn't* give them the benefit of the doubt - I was simply after what was the *truth* about what they wrote, I just wanted to prove or disprove *for myself* what others were saying they said.
     
  19. Surfer5

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    I think he should have come out against the Tubingen School, if he was really against them.

    I tend to agree that the initial quote does not look - from this quote itself, as though he is directly saying that the Christian faith itself is a "mere compromise". However, that is because he seems to be saying that the Tubingen school has done this for him, which raises the question: If he had a problem with the Tubingen school, why would he not take a strong stand against it ?

    But in order to accept any of this, a person would have to be familiar with the German Textual Critics from Tubingen and what they wrote.

    So I provisionally accept that the quote was not as clear as it should have been to make the point that was being asserted about that quote. But I think that the totality of the statement makes the same argument.

    BTW, if he would have come out clearly, directly and strongly against the Tubingen School, we would not be having this discussion here, because it would have been much more obvious to both of us, where he would have stood - on that issue.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Scott J

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    Does that mean that what the KJV translators wrote, said, believed, and did are relevant? Better yet, how about Erasmus? Would his beliefs be relevant... not only to the TR but say to the works of Hodges and Farstaad?

    W & H did textual work. Others that followed them used similar methods. It is this later work that you seemingly want to impugn based on the supposed heretical views of W & H.
     

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