The Evidence Westcott and Hort Offer 
is Extremely Weak.

 
     Westcott and Hort admit that it was the unanimous judgment of the whole 
Christian church of the fourth century that the traditional text is preferred 
to their coveted codex B (which was copied during the fourth century).  In 
view of this admitted fact, one would expect them to supply weighty evidence 
indeed.  At this point the reader would expect to be buried in academic 
references, bombarded with arcane facts impossible to sort out.  But, surprise! 
The entire theory comes down to one simple claim summarized in the 
little word "conflation".  That's right, "con fla tion n. : BLEND FUSION; esp:  
a composite reading or text.(Webster's Dictionary)"  According to Westcott and 
Hort, you can tell that all ancient Christian witnesses are wrong, and the 
Christian faith is a sham, because traditional Greek text appears, on the face 
of it, to them, to be a blended text.

     What Westcott and Hort deny is that anyone can weigh this claim by 
looking at the evidence they offer.  I lay this challenge to you:  If you can 
decipher the explanation in this section you will have elevated yourself to 
the favored class of the elite scholars.  For only elite scholars, according 
to Westcott and Hort, alone are able to understand such matters.
     What, pray tell, do they say the traditional text was blended from?  
They're not really sure.  They say that there were two kinds of text welded 
together, and they have given names to the kinds, but they can't actually 
produce the two texts; these must have been thrown away long ago by those who 
were claiming to rid the world of corrupt manuscripts.  How convenient.  This 
makes it cumbersome to prove the theory wrong, for a theory must be more than 
mush before it can be demonstrated wrong.  The duty of proof lies with the 
revisers of all previous Christian history (Westcott and Hort).  If the source 
texts cannot be produced for examination, then how do we know they really 
existed?  While they don't claim to have exact copies of the postulated text 
types, they have reasonable approximations.  Reasonable enough, one must hope, 
to at least articulate the claim.  Of course, it is impossible for Westcott 
and Hort to tell just how close an approximation these are to the originals 
since they assume the originals are lost.

     They call the two kinds of text "neutral" (meaning that which doesn't 
differ very much from B and ALEPH) and "western" (meaning that which doesn't 
differ very much from a codex known as D (or Bezae)).  The reader by now is 
familiar with the character of codices ALEPH and B which are Gnostic 
corruptions, but what is the pedigree of D?  It is not a manuscript from the 
third or fourth century, but it is from the sixth century.  It is not a 
Gnostic corruption, however, but a text corrupted for some other reason, 
because the changes do not correlate with Gnostic false doctrines.  We know it 
is corrupted because it differs wildly from the traditional text.  By counting 
text phenomena, it differs from the traditional text of Luke in 4753 places 
out of only 19,941 words.  This amounts to about one modification for every 
four words.  A credible hypothesis is that the text is a re-translation of a 
Latin manuscript back into Greek.  There is nothing novel about producing 
rabidly depraved manuscripts; these have been available to those interested in 
such things since the second century.  What is new, is to say that the 
traditional text was fabricated from two manuscripts previously counted as 
corruptions.

     So according to their view, the traditional Greek text, which existed in 
the fourth century, is a mixture of two source texts.  One of these sources is 
like Codex B (which was copied in the fourth century) and the other is like 
Codex D (a sixth century manuscript).  How could a fourth century document be 
a blend of a fourth century document and a sixth century document?  This is 
where the concept of conflation is used.  They claim that the evidence of 
looking at D, ALEPH and B is so compelling that the traditional text is a 
harmonization of these divergent texts that there must have been two sources 
texts that were blended to form the traditional text.

     What evidence do they offer that was so compelling to them?  Out of the 
entire New Testament, after searching for 30 years for evidence that would 
justify their irrational fondness for codex B they have found but eight verses 
of the traditional text that appear to them to have been fused.  They say that 
since ALEPH and B agree in omitting the same part of these eight verses, and D 
omits a different part, therefore the traditional text must have been a 
harmonization of the two which fused the material found in each.  To someone 
who wishes to believe the unanimous witness of the church fathers living in 
the fourth century, this sounds remarkably like independent omission by one 
Gnostic copyist of codex B in the fourth century who was hostile to the faith, 
and by a second copyist (or latin-to-greek translator) 200 years later.  In 
Luke and Mark, B omits 1 of every 21 words, ALEPH omits 1 of every 19 words, 
and D omits 1 of every 13 words.  A reliable copyist of the same era (Codex A) 
omits only one in 91 words.  What would be unexpected about three unreliable 
witnesses omitting different words in 8 verses of Luke and Mark?  For their 
major premise to even merit consideration they must show that fusion is 
possible and more credible than independent deletion.  

     Let the reader judge for himself.  Of the eight verses they mention, 
four of them fail entirely to exhibit the desired phenomena because D contains 
a paraphrase of the traditional text.  This takes care of examples in Mark 
6:33, Mark 8:26, Luke 9:10, and Luke 11:54.  Since D is a paraphrase of the 
traditional text, these four verses witness that the traditional text must 
have come first.  Can anyone conceive of a harmonizing copyist inventing 
details that lie behind a paraphrase?  The fifth case they offer is Luke 
12:18, but here ALEPH and B diverge, and so this case must be discarded as 
contradictory to the theory.  Finally we are left but three verses in the 
entire New Testament displaying the desired phenomena.  Consider these.  The 
following passages have words in CAPS that ALEPH and B delete, and words 
preceded by an underscore (e.g. _because) which D deletes.

     Mark 9:38 "And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one 
         casting out demons in thy name, AND HE FOLLOWETH NOT US: AND 
         WE FORBAD HIM,_because_he_followeth_not_us."
     Mark 9:49 "For_every_one_shall_be_salted_with_fire,_AND EVERY 
          SACRIFICE SHALL BE SALTED WITH SALT."
     Luke 24:53 "And were continually in the temple, PRAISING_AND 
          _blessing_God. Amen."

 Can the reader see anything in these omissions that favors the hypothesis
of Westcott and Hort?  How would you show from this evidence that a fusion 
occurred in all traditional texts of the fourth century rather than 
independent deletions in the fourth and the sixth centuries in two isolated 
copies?  This is a puzzle that Westcott and Hort don't even attempt to solve.  
Rather they say it is obvious to all sufficiently trained scholars.  Is the 
emperor clothed?  Are cows round?  It is my contention, any observer can judge 
these questions.

     Now consider all the facts they have set forth to substantiate their 
major premise.  They have one manuscript which they can prove to be as old as 
the traditional text of the fourth century, and a second manuscript from the 
sixth century.  These disagree with each other and with the traditional text, 
wildly.  They can produce 8 verses in the New Testament where ALEPH, B, and D 
exhibit omission but not the same words.  In four of these, D paraphrases the 
traditional text, witnessing that the traditional text is older.  Only three 
can be produced that have ALEPH and B omitting one thing and D something else.  
Even if it is irrationally believed that the omissions in these three cases 
witness to fusion rather than deletion, there is the difficulty that the four 
paraphrases of D contradict this belief.  This argument is assembled only from 
evidence they cite to substantiate their claim, and already they are out-
numbered with witnesses against them.  I won't bore the reader with the 
abundant further evidence that witnesses to the antiquity of the traditional 
text reading of these three verses, but it was cited against the theory 2 
years after it was stated in 1883, [3, p. 260-261, notes [3], [4], [8]]

     It is no wonder that the modern text critics who adopt this theory don't 
shrink from positing synoptic theory.  Seeing how popular Westcott and Hort 
have become for having postulated an irrational theory, that amounts to 
nothing but bald apostasy, without having even to supply or defend the 
slightest evidence imaginable, the modern text critics have progressed to 
complete freedom from evidence.

     The nature of text evidence in attempting to substantiate a conspiracy 
theory of such far-reaching implications is extremely weak. They are charging 
all Christians of the fourth century with the murder of the true autographs.  
What does the fact that different words are deleted in various old manuscripts 
have to do with the charge of conspiracy against all ancient Christendom?  A 
fused text is only the merest shadow of a conspiratorial event of this 
magnitude.  It is demanded of a prosecuting attorney when bringing a charge 
against a single man in this day that he show motive, means, and opportunity 
before the case is given a hearing.  It is reasonable in this case, when 
countless millions of Christians of the fourth century are being charged with 
murder of the true autographs, that we extend them the same courtesy.

     How does their case stack up to this test?  The motive is never stated, 
and so we are left to wonder why so many would agree in such a fusion.  The 
means, or mechanism by which fusion could be instituted and maintained also is 
unknown.  Opportunity is also totally lacking.  Where were the conspiring 
meetings held?  Who presided?  How did they get the unwilling to succumb?  All 
of these elements of their case are lacking.  All they endeavor to show is 
that the traditional text may not be the true autographs.  This is analogous 
to the prosecution laboring heavily in a murder trial to show that the victim 
is dead, and not being able to find the body.
 
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