Westcott-Hort text from 1881, combined with the NA26/27 variants

Prepared and edited by
Maurice A. Robinson, Ph.D.


The entire 1881 Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament is included herein, in basically the identical form published by Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort in their volume, "The New Testament in the Original Greek" (London: Macmillan, 1881).

The Westcott-Hort text herein presented was constructed from a collation published in 1889 by William Sanday. Sanday's collation presents with a high degree of accuracy the approximately 6000 significant alterations between the Westcott- Hort text of 1881 and the Stephens 1550 Textus Receptus edition. The resultant text of this collation was then compared with the Westcott-Hort portion of the "Textuum Differentiae" appendix to the Nestle-Aland 26th edition in order to verify Sanday's data. Errors on the part of both Sanday and the Nestle-Aland 26th edition appendix were found and corrected during this process, and the resultant Westcott-Hort text is more accurate than either source taken independently.

[See William Sanday, ed., _Appendices ad Novum Testamentum Stephanicum jam inde a Millii Temporibus Oxoniensium Manibus Tritum_, Part I: "Collatio Textus Westcottio-Hortiani (jure permisso) cum Textu Stephanico Anni MDL" (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), pp.1-92; also Kurt Aland et al., eds., _Novum Testamentum Graece_, 26th edition, Appendix 2, "Textuum Differentiae" (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1979), pp.717-738].


The differences from the actual Westcott-Hort text fall under two headings: format and orthography (spelling variations). In accordance with the Online Bible format, no capitalization, punctuation, iota subscripts, accents, or breathing indicators appear.

In regard to orthography, Sanday specifically excluded from his collation certain orthographic items of minor significance. The excluded items mostly reflect minor spelling variations and do not affect the meaning of the text. Where the orthography differs from that of Westcott-Hort, either the orthography of the Stephens 1550 text is retained (e.g., movable -n) or (as in most cases, based upon consistent manuscript testimony) the orthography common to most modern critical editions is substituted.

Westcott and Hort opted in regard to many orthographical variants to follow the specific spellings of Codex Vaticanus and/or Codex Sinaiticus, even if such manuscripts stood virtually alone in the peculiarity of their spelling. Such a methodology clearly accounts for Westcott and Hort's peculiar spelling (for example) of David as "daueid", of John as "iwanhv" and of Pilate as "peilatov" (with declined endings as appropriate). The present edition follows the orthography of most modern editions and spells these respectively as "dauid", "iwannhv" and "pilatov". Such conformity to the spelling common in most modern editions should greatly assist the user when searching for proper names.


The orthographic items which Sanday specifically excluded from his collation are stated by him to include the following (translated from the Latin preface):


- The presence or absence of movable -n or -s.

- Word division which does not affect meaning (e.g., dia ti vs. diati or ouketi vs. ouk eti).

- Interchange between alla and all'.

- Orthographic interchange between -ss- and -tt- (e.g., kreisswn vs. kreittwn).

- Reduplication of -n-, -m-, or -r- (e.g., mamwnav/mammwnav, genhma/gennhma, enatov/ennatov).

- Inserted epiphonetic -m- (e.g., analhqiv/analhmqiv).

- Unassimilated prefixed en- or sun- (e.g., enkrinein vs. egkrinein or sunlalein vs. suglalein).

- Orthographically varying forms such as eneken/eineken.

- Aorist forms in -a- or -o- such as eidan/eidon, or eipan/eipon.

- Augments which vary but do not alter the tense (e.g., hmellon/emellon).

- Words ending interchangeably in -ia or -eia.

- Words ending interchangeably in -inov or -einov.

- Itacistic interchanges between -i- and -ei (e.g., danizw/daneizw, tacion/taceion).

- Itacistic interchanges between -h- and -a- (e.g., macairhv/macairav, suneiduihv/suneiduiav).

- Itacistic interchanges between -oi- and -ou- (e.g., kataskhnoin/kataskhnoun).

- Various diphthongal interchanges (e.g., aleiuv/aleeuv, prwimov/proimov, praothv/prauthv).

- Various proper names (e.g., dauid/daueid, beelzeboul/beezeboul, pilatov/peilatov, iwanhv/iwannhv, mwshv/mwushv, samareitwn/samaritwn).


In order to locate the various orthographical differences and conform them to a basic standard, the preliminary W-H text as prepared from the Sanday collation (against the Textus Receptus) was carefully compared with the ASCII text of the Nestle-Aland 26th edition. If spelling/orthographical differences occurred between either what appeared in Stephens 1550 vs. Nestle-Aland 26 or between W-H vs. Nestle-Aland 26, the orthography was conformed to that found in the Nestle-Aland 26th edition. This was done solely for the sake of uniformity, and does not imply endorsement of the particular orthographic spelling of that edition.


Indeed, the orthography of the Nestle-Aland 26th edition is itself inconsistent, with illogical fluctuations between, e.g. hlyon/hlyan, eidon/eidan, eipon/eipan, piein/pein, and eneken/eineken. The Westcott-Hort text in such cases remains highly (but not always) consistent. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, the present orthography has been assimilated to that of Nestle-Aland 26 for the sake of consistency when comparing the various Greek texts available in the Online Bible format.


A very few variant readings which might be considered basically orthographical have nevertheless been retained in the Westcott-Hort 1881 format. These include interchanges such as those between me/eme, moi/emoi, and euyuv/euyewv, as well as between the identically-parsed second aorist imperative singular forms eipe/eipon. Interchanges between an/ean where "ean" is normally used have been corrected in many cases. Similarly, there are many places in the W-H text where pronomial variant forms beginning with aut- (rough breathing) are held by W-H to be the exact equivalent of the corresponding reflexive forms beginning with eaut-. These have all been altered to their normal orthographic forms as found in the Nestle-Aland 26 text.


Thus, although the Westcott-Hort text of 1881 is completely presented within the present Online Bible format, certain peculiarities of orthography have been eliminated which would have hindered the comparative use of that edition with the other Online Bible Greek texts. The end result is actually a "better" version of the Westcott-Hort Greek text (albeit marginally) than that which was produced by Westcott and Hort themselves. Aside from these purely orthographic items, all other collation differences between the original 1881 text of Westcott and Hort and that found in the Stephens 1550 Textus Receptus have been included as part of the current Westcott-Hort Greek text.


It should be noted that a good number of errors and omissions of items which should have been noted in Sanday's collation were corrected during this review process, and thus Sanday should not be used as a source by which to verify or suggest errors in the present text. Only the direct comparison of a printed edition of the Westcott-Hort text with both the Stephens 1550 Textus Receptus and the Nestle-Aland 26th edition Greek text "Textuum Differentiae" appendix will allow any existing errors (few, it is to be hoped) to be located and corrected. Additionally, all differences in reading between the 1881 Westcott-Hort Greek text as presently constructed and that found in the current critical editions (Nestle-Aland 26-27/UBS 3-4) are included so as to provide a functional apparatus for general reference.


It is significant to note that the 1881 Westcott-Hort edition of the Greek New Testament actually reflects the closest approach to a "pure Alexandrian" text edition that has ever been created. The later editions of Nestle and others, including the identical text of the current Nestle-Aland 26th-27th editions and UBS 3rd-4th editions fail to preserve the "pure" Alexandrian character of the text in as sharp a manner as did Westcott and Hort, who relied primarily on the joint testimony of Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) and Codex Vaticanus (B) in contradistinction to the assimilation of readings from manuscripts of other texttypes which is consistently practiced according to the eclectic principles espoused by the framers of the modern critical editions.


The current text found in the Nestle-Aland 26-27 and UBS 3-4 editions is actually an "eclectic" text, which reflects editorial choice among variant readings found in ALL known manuscripts and texttypes. Even though the current critical texts stand primarily in alignment with the Alexandrian manuscripts and in opposition to the Textform (Byzantine/Majority) found in most Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the modern critical editions at best represent a "halfway house" between two opposing document-based schools of New Testament Greek textual criticism. They thus present a predominantly Alexandri an text "compromised" with numerous "Byzantine" readings (now shown to be ancient by many early papyri).


Most of the readings wherein the Nestle-Aland 26-27/UBS 3-4 text differs from that of Westcott-Hort actually reflect a turn toward selected Byzantine readings, primarily because these supposedly "late" readings (so deprecated by Westcott and Hort) are now proven to be early thanks to their discovery in various early papyrus documents. Nevertheless, since the modern critical texts in their various editions reflect the basic eclectic text underlying most modern English translations, their divergent readings are provided as an apparatus to the Westcott-Hort text in order that students may more readily compare the differences between all the various texts currently available as well as with the texts of past generations. Note that most of the significant translational differences between the Westcott-Hort Greek text and the Byzantine/Majority Textform are clearly presented in the NU-text and M-text footnotes appearing in editions of the "New King James Version," published by Thomas Nelson Co., even though those notes refer more specifically to the text found in the contemporary Nestle-Aland/UBS critical editions as well as the Hodges/Farstad Majority Greek Text.


In most cases, the Westcott-Hort text conforms verse division to that found in most English translations (though some exceptions occur). Certain verse numbers appear with no text following in the Westcott-Hort edition (often followed by the Nestle-Aland 26-27/UBS 3-4 editions) because the supposed contents of such verses are not found in the Alexandrian texttype, early papyri, or in other manuscripts preferred by the specific editors. For consistency of reference in the current format, the skipped verse numbers remain displayed, but with no text following. This allows the use of the Online Bible's Cross-Reference feature even for those verses otherwise lacking in the Westcott-Hort Greek text.


Certain words within the Westcott-Hort Greek text are enclosed in square brackets or double square brackets. These reflect those places where the critical text editors considered the inclusion or omission of such words to be in question. The reader should consult the Introduction volume to the Westcott-Hort edition (as well as the introductions to the Nestle-Aland 26-27/UBS 3-4 editions) for more information concerning this aspect of their respective texts. Material cited in the Westcott-Hort margin as alternate readings is not reflected in the present edition, no matter whether such marginal readings reflect addition/omission, substitution of words, or transpositions. Only the main text of Westcott-Hort is followed.


In the Online Bible format, certain words in the apparatus to the modern critical texts are enclosed in single angle brackets < >. These indicate places in the apparatus where the modern critical texts enclose only a PORTION of the given word in square brackets, e.g., "onoma[ta]", or "kr[aug]azonta". Note that Westcott and Hort were more responsible scholars in this regard than modern critical editors: Westcott and Hort reserved the marginal apparatus for slightly varying readings of this type rather than bowdlerizing the text with brackets inserted within individual words. Since the rendering of words in that partially-bracketed format would adversely affect the Online Bible's search capabilities, the entire word is instead enclosed in angle brackets to indicate that only a portion of the word is actually placed in square brackets by the critical editors, e.g., <onomata>, <kraugazonta>. The user should consult the printed Nestle-Aland 26-27/UBS 3-4 text for details regarding the specific bracketed portions in such instances.

Note that only the readings actually printed by Westcott and Hort as their primary text appears in the current edition, and that without comment. Even the modern critical text variant apparatus does not address the specific manuscript evidence for variant readings cited.

Maurice A. Robinson

Professor of NT and Greek

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary