08 December 2006

Fenton John

This was sent to me by a good friend. It made me chuckle aloud and is too amusing not to pass along.

At one point during our discussion, I was trying to remember the names of the two nineteenth century Englishmen who produced what some believe to be the first modern major* Greek New Testament which formed the foundation upon which all subsequent textual criticism of the twentieth century was built.

The names I was trying to think of were Westcott and Hort, the authors of The New Testament in the Original Greek (1881). More precisely, the authors were Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) and Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892). It seems that the twenty-three year-old Hort (or Fenton or Fenton John, if one wishes to be informal) was the driving force, drawing poor Westcott, his fellow Cambridge scholar, into that massive, career-long project. After Westcott and Hort, some scholars are of the opinion that all textual criticism that follows is simply derivative; that Nestlé and the Alands only have expanded and extended the work begun by Westcott and Hort. Such was the impact of the young Fenton John.**

Was this excursus worth it? Probably not, but I always leave the reader to judge for himself.

From the Northwest Command Center of Obscure, Silly and Totally Useless Information.

* Sounds a lot like "the very model of a modern major general" from Gilbert and Sullivan?

** One wonders whether a German named "Lobegott", after Lobegott Friedrich Constantine von Tischendorf, another New Testament textual critic, would have the same impact as a the English "Fenton", but now these musings are becoming more esoteric than Dennis Miller's monologues.

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