Archive for the ‘Arthur Fenton Hort’ Tag

Feast of Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort (July 27)   4 comments

Trinity College, Cambridge

Above:  Trinity College, Cambridge

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08091



Anglican Scholar, Bible Translator, and Bishop of Durham



Anglican Priest and Scholar


What we can do for another is the test of powers; what we can suffer is the test of love.

–Brooke Foss Westcott


With this post I add two men–a teacher and his pupil, later a partner in New Testament scholarship–to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  The name of Brooke Foss Westcott and date of July 27 come from the calendar of saints of The Church of England.  Fenton John Anthony Hort is here also because, as I read and took notes from the 1968 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, I found his name associated closely with that of Westcott, especially with regard to an influential edition of the Greek New Testament.  This pairing also makes sense because of the association of these men on many fundamentalist websites, where authors accuse them of a host of heresies and question their Christian faith.  That seems like a recommendation to me!


Brooke Foss Westcott, who entered the world at Birmingham, England, on January 12, 1825, came from a studious family.  His father, Frederick Brooke Westcott, was a lecturer in botany at Sydenham College Medical School.  Our saint, an excellent student, attended the King Edward VI School, Birmingham.  Next the studied at Trinity College, Cambridge.  After graduation he served as a fellow there from 1849 to 1852.  Three of his students became lifelong friends and partners in projects:

  1. Joseph Barber Lightfoot (1828-1889) became a patristic scholar, a New Testament scholar, a translator of the Revised Version of the New Testament (1881), and the Bishop of Durham (1879-1889).
  2. Edward White Benson (1829-1896) became a New Testament scholar, a translator of the Revised Version of the New Testament (1881), and the Archbishop of Canterbury (1883-1896).
  3. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892) became a priest, a patristic scholar, a Biblical scholar, and, with Westcott, editor of the influential New Testament in the Original Greek (1881), 28 years in the making.  This work, while in development, had served as the basis of the Revised Version of the New Testament (1881).  The New Testament in Greek (1881) also functioned as the foundation of The Twentieth Century New Testament (1904).


Hort, born on April 23, 1828, was a native of Dublin, Ireland.  He descended from Dissenters, but he grew up as an Evangelical Anglican.  Hort attended Rugby School then Trinity College, Cambridge.  At the latter institution he became a liberal Anglican.  In 1854 Hort, Lightfoot, and John Eyton Bickersteth Mayor (1825-1910) founded The Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology (Volumes I, II, III, and IV).  Hort, ordained in 1856, married Fanny Dyson Holland the following year and began a 15-year-long pastorate (1857-1872) at St. Ippolyts, near Hitchin, Hertforshire, and as well as Cambridge.  The technical description was that he had a “college living” there.  In 1870 he joined to project (led by Westcott) to prepare the Revised Version of the New Testament (1881).


Westcott became a priest and scholar.  In 1851 James Prince Lee (1804-1869), Bishop of Manchester, ordained him.  (Lee had been Westcott’s headmaster at Birmingham.)  From 1852 to 1869 our saint served as the Assistant Master of Harrow School.  He became the Resident Canon of Peterborough in 1869.  Westcott retained that title until 1884, serving also as the Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge from 1871 to 1890.  Lightfoot had been a candidate for that position, but he withdrew in favor of his old friend.  In 1890 our saint succeeded Lightfoot as Bishop of Durham, serving until 1901.  Westcott also acted on his social conscience, serving as the first President of the Christian Social Union from 1889 to 1901 and mediating the settlement of the Durham coal strike of 1892.

Westcott, who promoted foreign missions, married Sarah Louise Mary Whithard (1830-1901) in 1852.  They had ten children.  Four sons became missionaries to India.  Frederick Brooke Westcott (1857-1918), named after his grandfather, became a priest, educator, and Pauline scholar.  His published works included the following:

  1. The Epistle to the Hebrews:  An Experiment in Conservative Revision (1912),
  2. St. Paul and Justification:  Being an Exposition of the Teaching in the Epistles to Rome and Galatia (1913), and
  3. A Letter to Asia:  Being a Paraphrase and Brief Exposition of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Believers at Colossae (1914).

Another son, Arthur Westcott, wrote Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, D.D. D.C.L., Sometime Bishop of Durham (1903)–Volumes I and II.

Bishop Westcott died at Durham on July 27, 1901.  He was 76 years old.

Westcott’s published works included the following:

  1. An Introduction to the Study of the Gospels (first edition, 1851; second edition, 1860; American edition, 1866; third edition, 1866; fourth edition, 1872; fifth edition, 1875, sixth edition, 1881; revised edition, 1900);
  2. A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament (first edition, 1855; second edition, 1866, third edition, 1870; fourth edition, 1875, fifth edition, 1881);
  3. Characteristics of the Gospel Miracles:  Sermons Preached Before the University of Cambridge, with Notes (1859);
  4. Introduction to the Study of the Gospels; with Historical and Explanatory Notes (1862);
  5. The Bible and the Church:  A Popular Account of the Collection and Reception of the Holy Scriptures in the Christian Churches (1864); second edition, 1866; third edition, 1870; revised edition, 1879;
  6. The Gospel of the Resurrection:  Thoughts on Its Relation to Reason and History (first edition, 1865; second edition, 1867; third edition, 1874; fourth edition, 1879; fifth edition, 1884);
  7. A General View of the History of the English Bible (first edition, 1868; second edition, 1872; third edition, 1905);
  8. The Christian Life, Manifold and One:  Six Sermons Preached in Peterborough Cathedral (1869);
  9. On Some Points in the Religious Office of the Universities (1873);
  10. Steps in the Christian Life (1880);
  11. The Revelation of the Risen Lord (1881);
  12. The Gospel According to St. John (1881);
  13. The Revelation of the Risen Lord (1881);
  14. The Historic Faith:  Short Lectures on the Apostles’ Creed (first edition, 1882; second edition, 1883; third edition, 1885; fourth edition, 1890)
  15. The Revelation of the Father:  Short Lectures on the Titles of the Lord in the Gospel of St. John (1884);
  16. Some Thoughts from the Ordinal (1884);
  17. The Epistles of St. John:  The Greek Text (first edition, 1883; second edition, 1885; third edition, 1892);
  18. Christus Consummator:  Some Aspects of the Work and Person of Christ in Relation to Modern Thought (first edition, 1886; second edition, 1887; third edition, 1890);
  19. Social Aspects of Christianity (first edition, 1887; second edition, 1888; third edition, 1900);
  20. Victory of the Cross:  Sermons Preached During Holy Week, 1888, in Hereford Cathedral (1888);
  21. From Strength to Strength:  Three Sermons on Stages in a Consecrated Life (1890);
  22. Thoughts of Revelation and Life:  Being Selections from the Writings of Brooke Foss Westcott (1891);
  23. Essays in the History of Religious Thought in the West (1891);
  24. The Gospel of Life:  Thoughts Introductory to the Study of Christian Doctrine (first edition, 1892; second edition, 1895);
  25. Theou Synergoi:  Harrow School Chapel, January 16, 17, 1892 (1892);
  26. The Incarnation and the Common Life (1893);
  27. Some Lessons of the Revised Version of the New Testament (1897);
  28. Christian Aspects of Life (1897);
  29. An Appreciation of the Late Christina Georgina Rossetti (1899); and
  30. Lessons from Work (1901).

Posthumously published works included the following:

  1. Words of Faith and Hope (1902),
  2. Common Prayers for Family Use (1903),
  3. Village Sermons (1906),
  4. Socialism (1907), and
  5. The Two Empires:  The Church and the World (1909).


Hort was a scholar to the end.  He was lecturer in divinity at Cambridge from 1872 to 1878, the Hulsean Professor of Divinity there until 1887, then the Lady Margaret Reader in Divinity there until 1892.  And, as I have written, he and Westcott collaborated on the influential New Testament in the Original Greek (1881) for 28 years.  Hort died at Cambridge on November 30, 1892.  He was 64 years old.  A son, botanist Sir Arthur Fenton Hort (1864-1902), wrote Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort (1896)–Volumes I and II.

Hort’s published works included the following:

  1. Two Dissertations (1876), and
  2. Hebrews (1876).

Posthumously published works included the following:

  1. Judaistic Christianity:  A Course of Lectures (1894);
  2. Six Lectures on the Ante-Nicene Fathers (1895);
  3. Proloegomena to St. Paul’s Epistles to the Romans and the Ephesians (1895);
  4. The Christian Ecclesia:  A Course of Lectures on the Early History and Conceptions of the Ecclesia, and Four Sermons (1907);
  5. Village Sermons (First Series, 1897; Second Series, 1904);
  6. The Way, the Truth, the Life (1897);
  7. The First Epistle of St. Peter I:1-II:17; the Greek Text, with Introductory Lecture; the Greek Text with Introductory Lecture, Commentary, and Additional Notes (1898);
  8. Cambridge and Other Sermons (1898);
  9. Notes Introductory to the Study of the Clementine Recognitions:  A Course of Lectures (1901);
  10. Miscellanies, Book VII:  The Greek Text (1902);
  11. The Apocalypse of St. John I-III:  The Greek Text with Introduction, Commentary, and Additional Notes (1908); and
  12. The Epistle of St. James:  The Greek Text, with Introduction, Commentary as Far as Chapter IV, Verse 7, and Additional Notes (1909).


Perhaps the greatest literary legacy of Westcott and Hort is the Revised Version of the Bible (New Testament, 1881; Old Testament, 1885; Apocrypha, 1894).  The American counterpart was the American Standard Version (1901), predecessor of the Revised Standard Version (New Testament, 1946; Old Testament, 1952; Apocrypha, 1957) and its successors as well as of the New American Standard Bible (New Testament, 1963; Old Testament, 1971; Updated Edition, 1995).  When I hear scripture in church, I hear the New Revised Standard Version (1989).  When I lead a discussion of the lectionary readings during Sunday School, I usually have a copy of the Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition (2002) on hand.

Merci beaucoup, Westcott and Hort!







O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Brooke Foss Westcott, Fenton John Anthony Hort, and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34