Dubious Doctrines & Puzzling Positions, Part 1

Westcott & Hort, it must be acknowledged, held some odd positions on Scripture…

To start, neither Westcott nor Hort believed the Bible to be worthy of any treatment beyond that of any other historical work, with Hort being quoted as saying, “For ourselves, we dare not introduce considerations which could not reasonably be applied to other ancient texts, supposing them to have documentary attestation of equal amount, variety and antiquity.”¹  Now, while that position could, under certain circumstances, be a reasonable one to hold, the state of other positions held by Westcott & Hort should raise much concern for the believer. History records that each were adamantly opposed to many of the core doctrines and truths of the Bible, including both a denial of the authority of the Book of Genesis and the infallibility of the Word of God. Consider their own words on those matters:

On a Denial of the Authority of Genesis, each is noted as having said this:

Hort: “I am inclined to think that no such state as ‘Eden’ (I mean the popular notion) ever existed…”²

Wescott: “No one now, I suppose, holds that the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, give a literal history – I could never understand how anyone reading them with open eyes could think they did…”³

On the Inerrancy of Scripture, the two had this to say:

Hort: “But I am not able to go as far as you in asserting the absolute infallibility of a canonical writing.“4

Wescott: “For I too must disclaim setting forth infallibility in the front of my convictions. All I hold is, that the more I learn, the more I am convinced that fresh doubts come from my own ignorance, and that at present I find the presumption in favor of the absolute truth – I reject the word infallibility – of Holy Scripture overwhelming.” 5

Furthermore, both were influenced by the early Greek theologian Origen – and others of his ilk – who, in favor of gnostic heresies of their day, denied the deity of Christ. Now, all considered, compare their words on the Scriptures with those of Erasmus, who in the preface of his Greek New Testament said, “These holy pages will summon up the living image of His mind. They will give you Christ Himself, talking, healing, dying, rising, the whole Christ in a word; they will give Him to you in an intimacy so close that He would be less visible to you if He stood before your eyes.”6   

However adept Hort & Westcott may have been in regard to their linguistic scholarhood, these men – clearly in opposition to Erasmus – each held beliefs about the Scriptures that should cast a heavy shadow over anything their translation may have inspired. Like it or not, those beliefs were really just the tip of the heretical iceberg…


  1. Hills, Edward, “Believing Bible Study,” The Christian Research Press, Des Moines,1967, p. 122
  2. Hort, Arthur Fenton, “Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort,” Vol I, New York,1896, p. 78
  3. Westcott, Arthur, “Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott,” Vol II, New York,1903, p. 69
  4. Hort, Arthur Fenton, “The Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort,” Vol. I, pg 422
  5. Westcott, Arthur, “Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott,” New York, 1903, Vol.1, pg 207
  6. Robertson, A.T., “An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament,” Boardman, 1925, p. 54


“Dubious Doctrines…” continues next time…

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One thought on “Dubious Doctrines & Puzzling Positions, Part 1

  1. considering these men as infidels is to speak lightly of their Gnostic heresies.
    Any sincere man seeking to know the truth of Gods word should flee from any literary work based on their blasphemous translations.


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