Fenton John Anthony Hort
English New Testament scholar
Fenton John Anthony Hort (23 April 1828 – 30 November 1892) was an Irish theologian and editor, with Brooke Westcott of a critical edition of The New Testament in the Original Greek.
Fenton John Anthony Hort was born in Dublin, Ireland. He was educated at Rugby, and then Trinity College, Cambridge, becoming a fellow in 1852. He became Huslean Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. He taught most of his life there and became closely associated with two other famous Cambridge scholars, J. B.Lightfoot and B. E Westcott. There is little doubt that Hort was the greatest genius in the Cambridge school.
Hort is most known for his work in New Testament textual criticism and for purporting the theory that Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus (along with a few other early manuscripts) represented a text that most closely replicated the original writing. Hort called this text the Neutral Text (According to his studies, the Neutral Text described certain manuscripts that had the least amount of textual corruption ) This is the text that Hort, together with his friend B. F. Westcott, relied upon for compiling their edition called The New Testament in the Original Greek-a work they took twenty- eight years to complete.
Hort, with his friends B. F. Westcott and J. B. Lightfoot, had planned to collaborate in writing a commentary on all the books of the New Testament, but they did not realize their collective goal. Lightfoot completed commentaries on some Pauline Epistles; Westcott completed his work on Hebrews, John, and the Epistles of John; but Hort did not complete any books before he died because he was occupied with producing the English Revised Version and was known to be a perfectionist. However, after his death, it was discovered that he had written on James and 1 Peter. A dozen of Hort's works were published posthumously; some of these works incude Judaistic Christianity (1894,) The Christian Ecclesia (1897), and his Hulsean Lectures of 1871, which dealt with philosophical theology.
Hort's most influential work was his Introduction to The New Testament in the Original Greek (1882), wherein Hort detailed the critical principles that he and Westcott followed in making their edition of the Greek New Testament. Another monograph, Two Dissertations (1876), defends the reading "only God" in John 1:18, a reading that appears in the earliest Greek manuscripts.
Hort was more than a brilliant scholar- he was also an involved churchman. He was particularly interested in social issues and supported the work of E D. Maurice and Charles Kingsley, both leaders in the British social gospel movement. Nevertheless, Kingsley's own theological position was conservative.
Works by Fenton John Anthony Hort
Fenton John Anthony Hort and his friend B. E. Westcott compiled the texts used for almost every modern translation of the Bible. Hort was perhaps the greatest New Testament scholar of his time. In 1888 and 1889, he gave a series of lectures on early Christianity. Throughout, Hort uses the Greek word “ecclesia” in order to avoid contemporary cultural associations with the word “church.” His lectures explore what the ecclesia meant to its first members. To this day, the scholar’s insights have helped people understand more about life in the early church.
After publishing the incredibly influential New Testament in the Original Greek in 1881, Hort collaborated with his friends B. F. Westcott and J. B. Lightfoot in order to write a commentary on each of the Greek New Testament books. Unfortunately, the three friends left their commentary unfinished, although several fragments and manuscripts were published posthumously. This fragment contains verse-by-verse commentary on the Epistle of James up to chapter four, verse seven. Because Hort deals with the ancient Greek text directly rather than in translation, his commentary is of an academic nature. It reflects its author’s scholarship and brilliance, as does virtually all of Hort’s work with the Greek language.
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