Pastor D. A. Waite, Th.D., Ph.D.

History of the Book

In January 1978, the author published this study in a mimeograph format. In that form, it was thirty-eight pages in length, including the Table of Contents. Then, in May 1979, due to various requests for the material, the material was put in a booklet form. Finally, in June 1998, we enlarged the print from about nine point to ten point type and included an Index of Words and Phrases as well as a Scripture Index to make it more useful to the readers. This book has already been read by many thousands of readers in many parts of the world.

Regardless of what side one takes concerning the Westcott and Hort textual criticism of the Traditional Greek Text which underlies our Authorized (King James) Version of 1611, I believe it is of the utmost importance to see once and for all that the leaders in the textual revolution which unseated the Traditional Received Greek Text from its place of undisputed prominence for over fifteen centuries, were not, as most of the evangelical and fundamentalist world today believes, fundamentalists, or even orthodox in many of their beliefs. It is my personal belief that this heterodoxy on their part blinded their intellects, and prejudiced them adversely and unfairly in their textual theories of the Greek New Testament.

For proof of the above conclusion, we offer the following original study of 125 direct quotations from over 1,291 pages as contained in five books by both Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort. The symbol for poison has been used throughout this book.

Bishop B. E Westcott (1825—1901)  

Professor F. J. A. Hort (1828—1892)

Two Liberal Anglican Ministers

Chapter I

Background Information

Before beginning the analysis of the Theological Heresies ofWestcott andHort, I want to cover a few introductory matters which form a part of the background information for this study.

A. Why study Westcott and Hort's theological heresies? You might be asking the question, "Why should we study the theological heresies of Westcott and Hort?" This is a good question. First of all, it must be understood that Bishop Brooke Foss Westcott and Professor Fenton John Anthony Hort were the prime movers in the construction of an elaborate, yet fictitious, system of New Testament Greek Textual Criticism leading to an abandonment of the Received New Testament Greek Text in favor of a Revised New Testament Greek Text. This text, in turn, formed the basis for the 1881 English Revised Version (E.R.V.).

If these two Anglican churchmen are found to have espoused various and sundry theological heresies, then, most assuredly, those fundamentalists and even neo-evangelicals today should know about it, especially those who have accepted all or part of the Westcott and Hort system of manuscript authority. This system is a worship of two documents, the Vatican ("B") and the Sinai ("Aleph"). It makes use of an introspective subjectivism in dealing with the verbally and plenarily inspired and hence inerr ant and infallible Word of God.

If, however, it can be shown that Westcott and Hort were fundamentalists and Bible-believers without so much as a taint of heresy or of apostasy, then this is a different matter. If a fundamentalist is following a heretic, he should know about it, should he not? So, there is an informational reason for such a study at the very least.

B. What if Westcott and Hort had theological heresies, so what? Since Westcott and Hort are both quite largely venerated as the idols of the New Testament textual criticism world, and since these two men (principally Hort, however) were the inventors of a doctored Greek text made up largely from their worship of the Vatican ("B") and the Sinai ("Aleph") manuscripts, this gives these two men great prominence in the New Testament Greek field. Now it is to be recognized that many N.T textual critics today have discarded some of the Westcott-Hort fabric of error. This does not, however, take away the importance historically of these men in building enough of a fire under the Received Text (Textus Receptus) on which the King James Version, was built to the extent of seeking to replace that text with their own Minority Greek Text. The motives of men who handle the Word of God are most important—especially, when they have taken the "scholarly" world practically by storm since their 1881 Greek New Testament was published both in Greek, and in the E.R.V. form. If they believed doctrines which the Bible does not teach, and hence if they have held heresies in their theology, then their motives must be taken into consideration. Westcott and Hort threw out over ninety-nine percent (over fifty-two hundred) of the extant Greek manuscripts and evidence for the Greek New Testament in favor of retaining less than one percent (about forty-five manuscripts) of that extant evidence. They had a major stress on two manuscripts, the Vatican ("B") and the Sinai ("Aleph"). Whenever these two are in conflict, as they are in over three thousand places in the Gospels alone, Westcott and Hort always exalted the Vatican ("B"). This has been documented in Herman Hoskier's Codex B and Its'Allies.

Though it is impossible to examine motives in a definitive manner, one thing is certain: if a man is a heretic in his views of theology, he is not particularly interested in handing a Bible-believing theological fundamentalist a Bible that backs up that fundamentalist theology. In fact, he is not even interested in promulgating a text which is the closest to the original autographs. He doesn't really care about the exact wording, spelling, and phrasing of the Bible, because he denies that the Bible was verbally inspired and inerrant and infallible in the original writings. A man's theology determines how he deals with God's Word.

C. Westcott and Hort's heresies contrast with John Burgon's soundness. There is a marked contrast with the theological heresies of Westcott and Hort and the theological soundness of Dean John William Burgon—the great Anglican author, scholar, and champion of the Traditional Text, or Received Text, and opponent of the phony Westcott and Hort text of the Greek New Testament. A picture of Dean Burgon, a conservative Anglican minister, is found on page 4 with the
dates of his life. By way of contrast, the pictures of Bishop Westcott and Professor Hort, two liberal Anglican ministers, are found on page 6.


D. The quotations from Which Bible? which first promposed this search for the heresies of Westcott and Hort. The book which first caused me to think about the theological heresies of Westcott and Hort was Which Bible? It is now in the fifth edition, 350 pages, indexed. I first read this in the first edition of 1970. Some of the major heresies were quoted by me in my article, "In Defense of the New Testament Majority Greek Text." In that pamphlet reprint, I wrote:

2. Views of Westcott and Hort, Defenders of the Minority Text. By way of contrast, however, the chief historical defenders of the Minority Text were B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort (2,a, (1), p. 173). Though also Anglicans like Burgon, living around the same time as he, they held a far inferior view of the Bible and its doctrines. The erroneous views affected adversely their entire outlook on textual criticism of the Bible.

a. Westcott's Views. Westcott denied the historicity of Genesis 1 to 3. He wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury, March 4, 1890: "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" (2,b, (1), 1st ed., p.191). According to Benjamin Wilkinson, Westcott (as well as Hort) denied the substitutionary atonement of Christ. He wrote:

"Both rejected the atonement of the substitution of Christ for the sinner, or vicarious atonement; both denied that the death of Christ counted for anything as an atoning factor. They emphasized atonement through Incarnation" (2,b (l), 1st ed. p. 192).

b. Hort's Views. Hort, for example, concurred with Charles Darwin's false evolutionary theory. He wrote on April 3, 1860, "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" (2,b,(l), 1st ed., p. 189). Hort denied a literal Eden and a real Fall of man. He wrote:

"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" (2,b,(l), 1st ed., p. 191).

Hort called Christ's substitutionary atonement "immoral." Writing to Westcott, he said:

"I entirely agree-—-correcting one word-—-with what you there say on the atonement, having for many years believed that 'the absolute union of the Christian (or rather, of man) with Christ Himself is the spiritual truth of which the popular doctrine of substitution is an immoral and material counterfeit. . . . Certainly nothing could be more unscrip-tural than the modern limiting of Christ's bearing our sins and sufferings to His death; but indeed that is only one aspect of an almost universal heresy.'" (2,b,(l), 1st ed., p. 192). {op. eft, pp. 8-9).

In brief form, then, we find that other writers concurred with my own thinking that Westcott and Hort were indeed believers in various heresies. Because of this evidence, I decided to look for further evidence of the heresies of Westcott and Hort from their own books (if I could find any in print).

E. The books by Westcott and Hort that were used in this study The following books were examined as the basis of this report.

1. Three books by Brooke Foss Westcott.

a. The Gospel According to St. John: The Authorized Version with Introduction and Notes (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1881 originally, but 1975 reprint. 307 pages)

b. The Epistle to the Hebrews: The Greek Text with Notes and Essays (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1889 originally, but 1974 reprinted, 504 pp.)

c. The Epistles of St. John: The Greek Text, with Notes and Addenda (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1883 originally, but 1974 reprinted, 248 pp.)

2. Two books by Fenton John Anthony Hort

a. The First Epistle of St. Peter 1:2-2:17: The Greek Text
with Introductory Lecture, Commentary, and Addition-
al Notes (James & Klock Publishing Company, Min
neapolis, Minnesota, 1898 originally, but 1976 re
printed. 188 pp.)

b. The Apocalypse of St. John 1-3: The Greek Text with Introduction, Commentary, and Additional Notes
(James & Klock Publishing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1908 originally, but 1976 reprinted.  47 PP.)

3. Short references to these five books for space-saving

To save space in this report, I'll use the following abbreviations for references to these five volumes:

a. Westcott's Gospel of John = "Westcott—John"

b. Westcott's Hebrews = "Westcott—Hebrews"

c. Westcott's 1,2, & 3 John = "Westcott—1-3 John"

d. Hort's 1 Peter = "Hort—1 Peter"

e. Hort's Revelation = "Hort—Revelation"

F. Plan of treatment in this study will be by theological categories and headings. Rather than taking up each man or each book, I've chosen instead to take up the traditional and usual theological divisions and comment on the various heresies or deviations from truth that either of the two men have made in any of these divisions. The outline will therefore be the divisions as follows:


Theology Proper

Anthropology and Hamartiology

Demonology (or Satanology)






Some of these theological headings have more under them than others, because of the various comments made by West-cott or Hort on these themes in their five books which have been analyzed. The comments will be as brief as possible, yet they will be clear.

G. What will be included in this theological analysis? There will be out-and-out heresies mentioned; there will be serious omissions of truth that should have been taught in a given verse, but were not; and there will be obscure things which are said without clarity by either Westcott or Hort so as to put a question mark as to where these men stand on vital issues in the Christian faith.