Westcott & Hort

On Resurrection Sunday our pastor preached on the text of Mark 16:1-8. Looking at my Bible, I was reminded how, according to the Greek translation of Westcott and Hort, the Gospel of Mark and chapter 16 end with verse 8. But for this gospel to end with the women trembling and afraid seems to me to be an unusual ending. Especially when the following verses include testimonies of those who had seen the risen Savior, and ultimately Mark’s version of the Great Commission by the Lord Jesus who appeared to the remaining eleven Disciples.

Of course, Westcott and Hort were an unusual pair to be translating the Word of God. Westcott did not believe that Genesis chapter 1 through 3 “gave a literal history.” Hort thought that Darwin’s theory of evolution was correct and stated that “my feeling is strong that the theory is unanswerable.” [Arthur Hort, The Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, Vol. I (New York: MacMillan and Co., 1896), p.416)] Hort also described the Received Text (upon which the King James Version is largely based) as “villainous.” (Ibid. – p. 211) In addition, according to Westcott’s son (Life of Westcott, Vol. I, p. 229), Westcott was involved in the occult, or spiritualism as he referred to it.

And yet, the academic scholars of their day, and today also, accept the work of these two men who did not really believe in the inerrancy of the Word of God. It appears that every new translation of the Bible since 1881 has been based upon the biased translation of the Greek as done by Westcott and Hort. This includes the Revised Version (RV) - 1881, the American Standard Version (ASV) - 1901, the New King James Version (NKJV) - 1982, the New American Standard Bible (NASB) - 1971, the New International Version (NIV) - 1978, and more too numerous to list.

As an example from just the four gospels, Westcott and Hort chose to omit the following verses:
Matthew 17:21, 18:11, 23:14, Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46, 15:28, 16:9-20, Luke 23:17, 24:40.

Because these newer Bibles are printed in paragraph format, rather than a verse by verse format, you do not notice the missing Scripture. But they are not there.

The basis for this “advanced and modern” translation are two Bibles described as “the most reliable early manuscripts;” the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaticus. These Bibles are of uncertain provenance, do not agree with each other, and the Sinaticus is incomplete. The Sinaticus has thousands of erasures and changes. Are these the hallmarks of a valid source? It is difficult to consider these Bibles as “reliable.”

Further, a Greek manuscript specialist, Constantine Simonides, claimed that he prepared the Sinaticus Bible in 1839 using ancient vellum that he obtained. He offered to prove that he prepared it by showing certain acrostics that he had placed in the work. His offer was refused. The Sinaticus was accepted as is. In my opinion, it was accepted because it fit the agenda of the scholars of that day.

Dr. David L. Brown, an American minister and collector of old Bibles, has inspected the Codex Sinaticus in the British Library. He reports that you can see where the last twelve verses of the Gospel of Mark “have been pumiced” (erased with abrasive volcanic rock)!

The King James Version of the Bible is a revision and not a translation. The first instruction of King James to the scholars was,

“The ordinary Bible, read in the church, commonly called the Bishop’s Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the original will permit.”
But the King James Version is based upon the Received Text, a collection of thousands of manuscripts and portions of manuscripts - not on two questionable texts.

All of our “modern translations” are the result of the Higher Criticism movement of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. I believe this is just another reason to think that the Day of the Lord Jesus is near. (Second Thessalonians 2:2) Hallelujah!

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