So what about Westcott and Hort? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Okay, folks. I put this one off for a bit because I had tried to find the Westcott and Hort quotations, but I had no luck. Unfortunately, Johnson never gives primary sources and I don’t trust the sources he has, particularly Riplinger. If there is a reader out there who can provide more context, I welcome that. For now, the main source material can be found here.
In the last chapter, we learned ‘Codex Vaticanus’ and ‘Codex Sinaiticus’ are two manuscripts from the corrupted minority of Greek texts.
No. We saw that asserted.
‘Vaticanus’ was found in the Vatican library. ‘Sinaiticus’ was found in a Mt. Sinai trash can.
And the scroll of the law was found while cleaning the temple. Apparently, it had been abandoned. I suppose Johnson would have scrapped it then. Right?
We also know these 2 manuscripts form the basis for the Westcott and Hort Greek text. And, the corrupt Westcott and Hort Greek text forms the basis for ‘modern’ versions of the Bible.
In this chapter Westcott and Hort use the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts to make their ‘own’ Greek text. This they submit to a Bible translation committee. The result will be the “English Revised Version of 1881”. Later on, other ‘modern versions’ will follow the W&H text.
We pick up the history of the Bible, in England, in 1870.
Okay. Let’s go.
“In 1870, the Convention of the Church of England commissioned a revision of the Authorized Version” [S1P162].
A revision committee was assembled.
It’s too bad Johnson never stops to ask why. Did the Church of England abandon a belief in the perfection of the KJV, or did they just never have it to begin with?
The Revision Committee was instructed: “… NOT to deal with the underlying Greek text of the Authorized Version. They were instructed to do as follows: (1) to introduce AS FEW alterations as possible into the text of the King James Bible, and (2) to limit … the expression of any alterations TO THE LANGUAGE of the Authorized Version” [S1P163].
“Westcott and Hort had other plans. They had edited the corrupt Vatican and Sinaitic manuscripts … and produced their own Greek text. Wisely they had never published it” [S1P163].
Why wisely? Was it found to be better or worse? Johnson has never made a convincing case for worse.
“Westcott and Hort had been working together on their text since 1853; in 1870 they printed a tentative edition for private distribution only. This they circulated under pledge of secrecy within the company of New Testament revisers, of which they were members (of which came the Revised Version of 1881). It soon became evident that the New Testament committee was NOT going to be content merely to revise the Authorized Version, but was determined to revise the UNDERLYING Greek text radically” [S2P153-154].
All of this would need to be shown. We have the text that was used. We can see how well they did.
In November of 1870, Westcott said: “In a few minutes I go with Lightfoot to Westminster. More will come of these meetings, I think, than simply a revised version” [S1P162-163].
Gotta love the assumption that there’s some devious plan by Westcott in this.
Hort to Westcott: “This may sound like cowardice-I have a craving that our text should be cast upon the world before we deal with matters likely to brand us with suspicion” [S3P407-408]
Westcott to Hort: “… strike blindly … much evil would result from a public discussion” [S3P408].
Unfortunately, we are not told the context. Is there evil intent here? Johnson wants us to believe so, but he does not give us the context and what this is about. He never once considers going to the writings of Westcott and Hort and showing where they are in them, which is just not good research.
But considering his record so far, color me skeptical.
We’ll continue next time.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)