WESTCOTT  AND  HORT’S  GREEK  NEW  TESTAMENT......All Black Lettering is mine - Keith Hunt



"It is happened unto them according to the true proverb,—2 Peter ii. 22.

" Little children,—Keep yourselves from idols."—1 John v. 21.

…….. A Revision of the Authorized Version of the New Testament,1 purporting to have been executed by authority of the Convocation of the Southern Province, and declaring itself the exclusive property of our two ancient Universities, has recently (17th May, 1881) appeared; of which the essential feature proves to be, that it is founded on    ……

1 The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ translated out of the Greek: being the Version set forth A.D. 1611, compared with the most ancient Authorities, and Revised A.D. 1881. Printed for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, 1881.


entirely New Recension of the Greek Text 1. A claim is at the same time set up on behalf of the last-named production that it exhibits a closer approximation to the inspired Autographs than the world has hitherto seen. Not unreasonable therefore is the expectation entertained by its Authors that the ‘New English Version’ founded on this ‘New Greek Text’ is destined to supersede the ‘Authorized Version’ of 1611. Qum cum ita sint, it is clearly high time that every faithful man among us should bestir himself: and in particular that such as have made Greek Textual Criticism in any degree their study should address themselves to the investigation of the claims of this, the latest product of the combined Biblical learning of the Church and of the sects.

For it must be plain to all, that the issue which has been thus at last raised, is of the most serious character. The Authors of this new Revision of the Greek have either entitled themselves to the Church's profound reverence and abiding gratitude; or else they have laid themselves open to her gravest censure, and must experience at her hands nothing short of stern and well-merited rebuke. No middle course presents itself; since assuredly to construct a new Greek Text formed no part of the Instructions which the Revisionists received at the hands of the Convocation of the Southern Province. Rather were they warned against venturing on such an experiment; the fundamental principle of the entire undertaking having been declared at the outset to be—That


1 The New Testament in the Original Greek, according to the Text followed in the Authorized Version, together with the lariations adopted in the Revised Version. Edited for the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, by F. H. A. Scrivener, M.A., D.C.L., LL.D., Prebendary of Exeter and Vicar of Hendon.   Cambridge, 1881.

'H KAINH AIA0HKH. The Greek Testament, with the Readings adopted by the Revisers of the Authorized Version. [Edited by the Ven. Archdeacon Palmer, D.D.]   Oxford, 1881.

'a Revision of the Authorized Version' is desirable; and the terms of the original Resolution of Feb. 10th, 1870, being, that the removal of ' plain and clear errors' was alone contemplated,—'whether in the Greek Text originally adopted by the Translators, or in the Translation made from the same. Such were in fact the limits formally imposed by Convocation, (10th Feb. and 3rd, 5th May, 1870,) on the work of Revision. Only necessary changes were to be made. The first Rule of the Committee (25th May) was similar in character: viz.—

‘To introduce as few alterations as possible into the Text of the Authorized Version, consistently with faithfulness.’

But further, we were reconciled to the prospect of a Revised Greek Text, by noting that a limit was prescribed to the amount of licence which could by possibility result, by the insertion of a proviso, which however is now discovered to have been entirely disregarded by the Revisionists. The condition was enjoined upon them that whenever 'decidedly preponderating evidence' constrained their adoption of some change in the Text from which the Authorized Version was made, they should indicate such alteration in the margin. Will it be believed that, this notwithstanding, not one of the many alterations which have been introduced into the original Text is so commemorated? On the contrary: singular to relate, the Margin is disfigured throughout with ominous hints that, had 'Some ancient authorities’ ‘Many ancient authorities’ ‘Many very ancient authorities’ been attended to, a vast many more changes might, could, would, or should have been introduced into the Greek Text than have been actually adopted. And yet, this is precisely the kind of record which we ought to have been spared:—

(1) First,—Because it was plainly external to the province of the Revisionists to introduce any such details into their margin at all: their very function being, on the contrary, to investigate Textual questions in conclave, and to present the ordinary Reader with the result of their deliberations. Their business was to correct "plain and clear errors;” not, certainly, to invent a fresh crop of unheard-of doubts and difficulties.   This first.—Now,  ……..

(4) Especially do we deprecate the introduction into the margin of all this strange lore, because we insist on behalf of unlearned persons that they ought not to be molested with information which cannot, by possibility, be of the slightest service to them: with vague statements about  "ancient authorities,"—of the importance, or unimportance, of which they know absolutely nothing, nor indeed ever can know. Unlearned readers on taking the Revision into their hands, (i.e. at least 999 readers out of 1000,) will never be


1 On Revision,—pp. 215-6.


aware whether these (so-called) 'Various Readings' are to be scornfully scouted, as nothing else but ancient perversions of the Truth; or else are to be lovingly cherished, as 'alternative' [see the Revisers' Preface (iii. 1.)] exhibitions of the inspired Verity,—to their own abiding perplexity and infinite distress.

Undeniable at all events it is, that the effect which these ever-recurring announcements produce on the devout reader of Scripture is the reverse of edifying: is never helpful: is always bewildering. A man of ordinary acuteness can but exclaim,— ‘Yes, very likely. But what of it.’ My eye happens to alight on "Bethesda" (in S. John 5. 2); against which I find in the margin,—"Some ancient authorities read Bethsaida, others Bethzatha." Am I then to understand that in the judgment of the Revisionists it is uncertain which of those three names is right? Not so the expert, who is overheard to moralize concerning the phenomena of the case after a less ceremonious fashion:—"Bethsaida"! Yes, the old Latin and the Vulgate,2 countenanced by one manuscript of bad character, so reads. "Bethzatha"! Yes, the blunder is found in two manuscripts, both of bad character. Why do you not go on to tell us that another manuscript exhibits "Belzetha" 1—another (supported by Eusebius3 and [in one place] by Cyril4),"Bezatha"? Nay, why not say plainly that there are found to exist upwards of thirty blundering representations of this same word; but that "Bethesda"—(the reading of sixteen uncials and the whole body of the cursives, besides the Peschito and Cureton's Syriac, the Armenian, Georgian and Slavonic Versions,—Didymus,6 Chrysostom,6 and Cyril7),—is the only reasonable way of exhibiting it ? To


l. Tertullian, bis,

2. Hieron. Opp. ii. 177 e (see the note).

3. Apud Hieron. iii. 121.

4. 617 c (ed. Pusey).

5. P. 272. 

6. i 548 c; viii. 207 a.

7. iv. 205.


speak plainly, ‘Why encumber your margin with such a note at all?’ But we are moving forward too fast.

It can never be any question among scholars, that a fatal error was committed when a body of Divines, appointed to revise the Authorized English Version of the New Testament Scriptures, addressed themselves to the solution of an entirely different and far more intricate problem, namely the re-construction of the Greek Text ……..


1 A reference to the Journal of Convocation for a twelve-month after the proposal for a Revision of the Authorized Version was seriously entertained, will reveal more than it would be convenient in this place even to allude to.

2 We derive our information from the learned Congregationalist, Dr. Newth,—Lectures on Bible Revision (1881), p. 116.


 Enough has been said to make it plain why, in the ensuing pages, we propose to pursue a different course from that which has been adopted by Reviewers generally, since the memorable day (May 17th, 1881) when the work of the Revisionists was for the first time submitted to public scrutiny. The one point which, with rare exceptions, has ever since monopolized attention, has been the merits or demerits of their English rendering of certain Greek words and expressions. But there is clearly a question of prior interest and infinitely greater importance, which has to be settled first: namely, the merits or demerits of the changes which the same Scholars have taken upon themselves to introduce into the Greek Text until it has been ascertained that the result of their labours exhibits a decided improvement upon what before was read, it is clearly a mere waste of time to enquire into the merits of their work as Revisers of a Translation. But in fact it has to be proved that the Revisionists have restricted themselves to the removal of “plain and clear errors” from the commonly received Text. 

We are distressed to discover that, on the contrary, they have done something quite different. 

The treatment which the N. T. has experienced at the hands of the Revisionists recalls the fate of some ancient edifice which confessedly required to be painted, papered, scoured,—with a minimum of ‘masons’ and ‘carpenters’ work,—in order to be inhabited with comfort for the next hundred years: but those entrusted with the job were so ill-advised as to persuade themselves that it required to be to a great extent rebuilt. Accordingly, in an evil hour they set about removing foundations, and did so much structural mischief that in the end it became necessary to proceed against them for damages…….

(1) The Provision, then, which the Divine Author of Scripture is found to have made for the preservation in its integrity of His written Word, is of a peculiarly varied and highly complex description. First,—By causing that a vast multiplication of Copies should be required all down the ages, -—beginning at the earliest period, and continuing in an ever-increasing ratio until the actual invention of Printing,—He provided the most effectual security imaginable against fraud. True, that millions of the copies so produced have long since perished: but it is nevertheless a plain fact that there survive of the Gospels alone, upwards of one thousand copies to the present day.

(2) Next, Versions. The necessity of translating the Scriptures into divers languages for the use of different branches of the early Church, procured that many an authentic record has been preserved of the New Testament as it existed in the first few centuries of the Christian era. Thus, the Peschito Syriac and the old Latin version are believed to have been executed in the 2nd century. "It is no stretch of imagination" (wrote Bp. Ellicott in 1870,) "to suppose that portions of the Peschito might have been in the hands of S. John, or that the Old Latin represented the current views of the Roman Christians of the 2nd century."1 The two Egyptian translations are referred to the 3rd and 4th. The Vulgate (or revised Latin) and the Gothic are also claimed for the 4th: the Armenian, and possibly the Ethiopic, belong to the 5th.

(3) Lastly, the requirements of assailants and apologists alike, the business of Commentators, the needs of controversialists and teachers in every age, have resulted in a vast accumulation of additional evidence, of which it is scarcely possible to over-estimate the importance. For in this way it has come to pass that every famous Doctor of the Church in turn has quoted more or less largely from the sacred writings, and thus has borne testimony to the contents of the codices with which he was individually familiar. Patristic Citations accordingly are a third mighty safeguard of the integrity of the deposit.

To weigh these three instruments of Criticism—Copies, Versions, Fathers—one against another, is obviously 


1. On Revision, pp. 26-7.


impossible on the present occasion. Such a discussion would grow at once into a treatise.1 Certain explanatory details, together with a few words of caution, are as much as may be attempted.

I. And, first of all, the reader has need to be apprised (with reference to the first-named class of evidence) that most of our extant copies of the N.T. Scriptures are comparatively of recent date, ranging from the 10th to the 14th century of our era. That these are in every instance copies of yet older manuscripts, is self-evident; and that in the main they represent faithfully the sacred autographs themselves, no reasonable person doubts.2 Still, it is undeniable that


1. Dr. Scrivener's Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, 2nd edition, 1874 (pp. 607), may be confidently recommended to any one who desires to master the outlines of Textual Criticism under the guidance of a judicious, impartial, and thoroughly competent guide. A new and revised edition of this excellent treatise will appear shortly.

2. Studious readers are invited to enquire for Dr. Scrivener's Full and exact Collation of about Twenty Greek Manuscripts of the Holy Gospels (hitherto unexamined), deposited in the British Museum, the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth, &c, with a Critical Introduction. (Pp. Ixxiv. and 178.) 1853. The introductory matter deserves very attentive perusal.—With equal confidence we beg to recommend his Exact Transcript of the Codex Augiensis, a Graeco-Latin Manuscript of S. Pau’s Epistles, deposited in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge; to which is added a full Collation of Fifty Manuscripts, containing various portions of the Greek New Testament, in the Libraries of Cambridge, Parham, Leicester, Oxford, Lambeth, the British Museum, etc. With a Critical Introduction (which must also be carefully studied). (Pp. Ixxx. and 563.) 1859.—Learned readers can scarcely require to be told of the same learned scholar's Novum Testamentum Textus Stephanici, a.d. 1550. Accedunt variae Lectiones Editionum Bezse, Bezae, Elzeviri, , Lachmanni, Tischendorfli, Tregellesii. Curante F. H. A. Scrivener, A.M., D.C.L., LL.D. [I860.] Editio auctior et emendatior. 1877.— Those who merely wish for a short popular Introduction to the subject may be grateful to be told of Dr. Scrivener's Six Lectures on the Text of the N. T. and the Ancient MSS. which contain it, chiefly addressed to those who do not read Greek.   1875.


they an thus separated by about a thousand years from their inspired archetypes. Headers are reminded, in passing, that the little handful of copies on which we rely for the texts of Herodotus and Thucydides, of AEschylus and Sophocles, are removed from their originals by full 500 years more: and that, instead of a thousand, or half a thousand copies, we are dependent for the text of certain of these authors on as many copies as may be counted on the fingers of one hand. In truth, the security which the Text of the New Testament enjoys is altogether unique and extraordinary. To specify one single consideration, which has never yet attracted nearly the amount of attention it deserves,—‘Lectionaries’ abound, which establish the Text which has been publicly read in the churches of the East, from at least A.D. 400 until the time of the invention of printing.

But here an important consideration claims special attention. We allude to the result of increased acquaintance with certain of the oldest extant codices of the N. T. Two of these,—viz. a copy in the Vatican technically indicated by the letter B, and the recently-discovered Sinaitic codex, styled after the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet + [I’ll use the sign + for it on English keyboards - Keith Hunt],—are thought to belong to the 4th century. Two are assigned to the 5th, viz. the Alexandrian (a) in the British Museum, and the rescript codex preserved at Paris, designated C. One is probably of the 6th, viz. the codex Bezae (D) preserved at Cambridge. Singular to relate, the first, second, fourth, and fifth of these codices (B + C D), but especially B  and +, have within the last twenty years established a tyrannical ascendency over the imagination of the Critics, which can only be fitly spoken of as a blind superstition. It [seems to] matters nothing that all four are discovered on careful scrutiny to differ essentially, not only from ninety-nine out of a hundred of the whole body of extant MSS, besides, but even from one another.

This last circumstance, obviously fatal to their corporate pretensions, is unaccountably overlooked. 

And yet it admits of only one satisfactory explanation: viz. that in different degrees they all five, exhibit a fabricated text. 

Between the first two (B and +) there subsists an amount of sinister resemblance, which proves that they must have been derived at no very remote period from the same corrupt original. Tischendorf insists that they were partly written by the same scribe. Yet do they stand asunder in every page; as well as differ widely from the commonly received Text, with which they have been carefully collated. 

On being referred to this standard, in the Gospels alone, B is found to omit at least 2877 words: to add, 536: to substitute, 935: to transpose, 2098: to modify, 1132 (in all 7578) : —the corresponding figures for being severally 3455, 839, 1114, 2299, 1265 (in all 8972). 

And be it remembered that the omissions, additions, substitutions, transpositions, and modifications, are by no means the same in both. 

It is in fact easier to find two consecutive verses in which these two MSS. differ the one from the other, than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree.

But by far the most depraved text is that exhibited by codex D. 'No known manuscript contains so many bold and extensive interpolations. Its variations from the sacred Text are beyond all other example.'1 This, however, is not the result of its being the most recent of the five, but (singular to relate) is due to quite an opposite cause. It is thought (not without reason) to exhibit a 2nd-century text. ‘When we turn to the Acts of the


1 Scrivener's Plain Introduction,—p. 118.


Apostles,’ (says the learned editor of the codex in question, Dr. Scrivener,1)—

“We find ourselves confronted with a text, the like to which we have no experience of elsewhere. It is hardly an exaggeration to assert that codex D reproduces the Textus receptus much in the same way that one of the best Chaldee Targums does the Hebrew of the Old Testament: so wide are the variations in the diction, so constant and inveterate the practice of expounding the narrative by means of interpolations which seldom recommend themselves as genuine by even a semblance of internal probability.”

‘Vix dici potest’ (says Mill) ‘quam supra omnem modum licenter se gesserit, ac plane lasciverit Interpolator.’ Though a large portion of the Gospels is missing, in what remains (tested by the same standard) we find 3704 words omitted: no less than 2213 added, and 2121 substituted. The words transposed amount to 3471: and 1772 have been modified: the deflections from the Received Text thus amounting in all to 13,281.—Next to D, the most untrustworthy codex is +, which bears on its front a memorable note of the evil repute under which it has always laboured: viz. it is found that at least ten revisers between the 4th and the 12th centuries busied themselves with the task of correcting its many and extraordinary perversions of the truth of Scripture.2—Next in


1 Bezm Codex Cantabrigiensis: being an exact Copy, in ordinary Type, of the celebrated Uncial Qrmco-Latin Manuscript of the Four Gospels and acts of the Apostles, written early in the Sixth Century, and presented to the University of Cambridge by Theodore Beza, A.D. 1581. Edited, with a Critical Introduction, Annotations, and Facsimiles, by Frederick H. Scrivener, M.A., Rector of S. Gerrans, Cornwall. (Pp. lxiv. and 453.) Cambridge, 1864. No one who aspires to a competent acquaintance with Textual Criticism can afford to be without this book.

2 On the subject of codex + we beg (once for all) to refer scholars to Scrivener's Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the Received Text of the New Testament. To which is prefixed a Critical Introduction. [1863.] 2nd Edition, revised.  (Pp. lxxii. and 163.)  1867.


impurity comes B:—then, the fragmentary codex C : our own A being, beyond all doubt, disfigured by the fewest blemishes of any.

What precedes admits to some extent of further numerical illustration. It is discovered that in the 111 (out of 320) pages of an ordinary copy of the Greek Testament, in which alone these five manuscripts are collectively available for comparison in the Gospels,—the serious deflections of A from the Textus receptus amount in all to only 842 : whereas in C they amount to 1798: in B, to 2370: in +, to 3392: in D, to 4697. The readings peculiar to A within the same limits are 133 : those peculiar to C are 170. But those of B amount to 197: while + exhibits 443: and the readings peculiar to D (within the same limits), are no fewer than 1829.

We submit that these facts—which result from merely referring five manuscripts to one and the same common standard—are by no means calculated to inspire confidence in codices B, +, C, D :—codices, be it remembered, which come to us without a character, without a history, in fact without antecedents of any kind.

But let the learned chairman of the New Testament company of Revisionists (Bp. Ellicott) be heard on this subject. He is characterizing these same ‘old uncials,’ which it is just now the fashion—or rather, the craze—to hold up as oracular, and to which his lordship is as devotedly and blindly attached as any of his neighbours:—

‘The simplicity and dignified conciseness’ (he says) ‘of the Vatican manuscript (B): the greater expansiveness of our own Alexandrian (A): the partially mixed characteristics of the Sinaitic (+): the paraphrastic tone of the singular codex Bezae (B), are now brought home to the student.’1

Could ingenuity have devised severer satire than such a


1 Bishop Ellicott's Considerations on Revision, &c, (1870), p. 40.


description of four professing transcripts of a book; and that book, the everlasting Gospel itself ?— transcripts, be it observed in passing, on which it is just now the fashion to rely implicitly for the very orthography of proper names,—the spelling of common words,—the minutiae of grammar.

What (we ask) would be thought of four such ‘copies’ of Thucydides or of Shakspeare ? Imagine it gravely proposed, by the aid of four such conflicting documents, to re-adjust the text of the funeral oration of Pericles, or to re-edit 'Hamlet.’ Risum teneatis amici ? Why, some of the poet's most familiar lines would cease to be recognizable: e.g.  A,—‘Toby or not Toby; that is the question:’ B,—‘Tob or not, is the question:’ +,—‘To be a tub, or not to be a tub; the question is that:’ C,—‘The question is, to beat, or not to beat Toby?’: D (the 'singular codex’),—‘The only question is this: to beat that Toby, or to be a tub ?’

And yet—without by any means subscribing to the precise terms in which the judicious Prelate characterizes those ignes fatui which have so persistently and egregiously led his lordship and his colleagues astray—(for indeed one seems rather to be reading a description of four styles of composition, or of as many fashions in ladies' dress, than of four copies of the Gospel)—we have already furnished indirect proof that his estimate of the codices in question is in the main correct. Further acquaintance with them does but intensify the bad character which he has given them. Let no one suppose that we deny their extraordinary value,—their unrivalled critical interest,—nay, their actual use in helping to settle the truth of Scripture. What we are just now insisting upon is only the depraved text of codices + A B C D,—especially of + B D. And because this is a matter which lies at the root of the whole controversy, and because we cannot afford that there shall exist in our reader's mind the slightest doubt on this part of the subject, we shall be constrained once and again to trouble him with detailed specimens of the contents of +  B, &c, in proof of the justice of what we have been alleging. We venture to assure him, without a particle of hesitation, that + B D are three of the most scandalously corrupt copies extant:—exhibit the most shamefully mutilated texts which are anywhere to be met with:—have become, by whatever process (for their history is wholly unknown), the depositories of the largest amount of fabricated readings, ancient blunders, and intentional perversions of Truth,— which are discoverable in any known copies of the Word of God.

But in fact take a single page of any ordinary copy of the Greek Testament,—Bp. Lloyd's edition, suppose. Turn to page 184. It contains ten verses of S. Luke's Gospel, ch. 8. 35 to 44. Now, proceed to collate those ten verses. You will make the notable discovery that, within those narrow limits, by codex D alone the text has been depraved 53 times, resulting in no less than 103 corrupt readings, 93 of which are found only in D. The words omitted by D are 40; the words added are 4. Twenty-five words have been substituted for others, and 14 transposed. Variations of case, tense, &c, amount to 16; and the phrase of the Evangelist has been departed from 11 times. 

Happily, the other four 'old uncials' are here available. And it is found that (within the same limits, and referred to the same test,) A exhibits 3 omissions, 2 of which are peculiar to A.—B omits 12 words, 6 of which are peculiar to B: substitutes 3 words: transposes 4: and exhibits 6 lesser changes —2 of them being its own peculiar property.—+ has 5 readings (affecting 8 words) peculiar to itself. Its omissions are 7: its additions, 2: its substitutions, 4: 2 words are transposed; and it exhibits 4 lesser discrepancies.—C has 7 readings (affecting 15 words) peculiar to itself. Its omissions are 4: its additions, 7: its substitutions, 7: its words transposed, 7. It has 2 lesser discrepancies, and it alters the evangelist’s phrase 4 times. its additions, 7: its substitutions, 7 : its words transposed, 7. It has 2 lesser discrepancies, and it alters the Evangelist's phrase 4 times.

But (we shall be asked) what amount of agreement, in respect of 'Various Headings,' is discovered to subsist between these 5 codices ? For that, after all, is the practical question. 

We answer,—A has been already shown to stand alone twice: B, 6 times: +, 8 times: C, 15 times; D, 93 times.

We have further to state that A B stand together by themselves once: B +, 4 times: B C, 1: B D , 1: +  C, 1: C D, 1.— A + C conspire 1: B + C, 1: B + D, 1: A B + C , once (viz. in reading [Greek is given] - Keith Hunt] which Tischendorf admits to be a corrupt reading): B + C D, also once.—The 5 'old uncials' therefore (A B + D) combine, and again stand apart, with singular impartiality.

Lastly, they are never once found to be in accord in respect of any single 'various Reading.’

Will any one, after a candid survey of the premisses, deem us unreasonable, if we avow that such a specimen of the concordia discors which everywhere prevails between the oldest uncials, but which especially characterizes + B D, indisposes us greatly to suffer their unsupported authority to determine for us the Text of Scripture ?






Keith Hunt