Bernard Janin Sage (P. C. Sense) on the convoluted turgid illogical writing of Fenton Hort

Steven Avery

P. C. Sense
A critical and historical enquiry into the origin of the third gospel - (1901)


Steven Avery

Sense has a Marcionite Luke

The Lukan Passion Narrative: The Markan Material in Luke 22,54-23,25 : a Historical Survey: 1891-1997 (2000)
Jay M. Harrington

A Critical and Historical Enquiry Into the Origin of the Third Gospel (1901)

Mentions Simonides along with the Thorpe account of the Tischendorf theft.


Returning to the main book!

p. 285
The singular volubility of Dr Hort renders the discovery of the dominant principles of criticism very difficult; but the difficulty is to a certain extent lessened by the abridgment of I)r Hort’s diffuse exposition appended to the Greek volume. ... I have no fault to find with such principles as I have been able to discern and separate in the waving sea of words that Dr Hort has spread over 324 pages.

p. 285

p. 288
Here we have the pitiable spectacle of two learned theologians posing as scientific critics who have abandoned their scientific principles in order to avoid the exposure of the ludicrous action of the orthodox Church taken upon original clerical errors.

p. 288

Sect 38

p. 289

p. 290
There is possibly some more information to be found in the sea of words, which I may have overlooked, but I have remarked the following in sect. 347 : that of the locality in which these MSS. were written nothing certain is yet known.

p. 291
A fact mentioned by Dr Hort in sect. 363, which I accept on his sole authority as a man of learning and knowledge, has, I think, a

p. 292
palaeography and dating
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Steven Avery

The real stuff on Hort is in the Luke book starting around p. 308

A Critical and Historical Enquiry Into the Origin of the Third Gospel
By P. C. Sense

- p. 308 -
"The peculiar volubility of this writer renders him barely intelligible in numerous passages, so that it is often difficult to extract the grains of wheat from the heaps of words"


endeavoured to the best of my ability, after repeated perusal, to
analyse the arguments of the author. These arguments appear to
me to be mere sophistry to prove what is incapable of proof, or to
induce belief in that which cannot be proved
. It is impossible to
guarantee the accuracy of the sacred text from documents supposed
to date two or three centuries after the publication of the former,
when these documents themselves are without credentials. There
is, further, no evidence whatever that any care or precautions were
taken to preserve the integrity of the sacred text. And finally, there
is actual proof that the sacred text had been tampered with in
various ways in the second and third centuries. Even after the
text had obtained some stability from the authorised version pre-
pared by Jerome late in the fourth century, we know that changes
had been subsequently made in it; and hence the probability is
very great, and in fact there can be no rational doubt, that the text
had been materially changed in the prior period by additions and
alterations, made for different objects, in which deceit, fraud and
other immorality entered, during the active period of the life of the
Church preceding the fourth century. The conclusion to which
Dr Hort has arrived by inconsequential arguments is one that is
not consistent with fact and truth.
Dr Hort’s conclusion will be
inadmissible even if he had stated, which he has religiously avoided
to do, the means employed and the precautions taken to preserve
the sacred text from corruption. My investigation of the Fourth
and Third Gospels has brought to light numerous additions and
alterations made to these Gospels before the fourth century; and
the strong presumption, if not the absolute certainty, is that such
additions and changes were made by official authority. Against the
force of such facts it is futile to bring forward sophistical arguments
and assertions to demonstrate that manuscripts alleged to date so
late as the fourth and later centuries, and which are, further, destitute
of credentials, are reliable guides to the original text. These
manuscripts are absolutely useless for the object and purpose of
textual criticism, which our two learned theologians themselves say
is “ the approximation towards recovering an exact copy of what was
actually written on parchment or papyrus by the author of the book
or his amanuensis” (sect. 3). Though absolutely useless for this
purpose, it may be conceded that these manuscripts may be useful
for another purpose. I have already compared them to derelict
dead bodies; these latter, though useless for the purpose of identi-
fication in the absence of all knowledge regarding them, may be
utilised for anatomical purposes. And for cognate purposes of that

p. 314
version of the New Testament is to my mind simply ludicrous. It
is a form of verbal tergiversation which I consider beneath and
unbecoming to the erudition of Bishop Westcott, about which there
can be no mistake. The bishop has not translated, but paraphrased
Tertullian, and inoculated the not over-clear language of this Latin
writer with the meaning which he desired. Of the art of changing
the meaning of an author this learned prelate of the Anglican Church
is a past master; and I have given a striking example of his pro-
ficiency in the art in his exegesis of John xx. 21-23, on the remission
of sins. See the Bishop's Commentary on John, and my remarks
in my work On the Origin of the Fourth Gospel', p. 309 ff.

361—370 Approximate sufficiency of existing documents
for the recovery of the genuine text, notwithstanding
the existence of some primitive corruptions
p. 276

MADR and Tertullian
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Steven Avery

p. 342
I regret that I am unable to lay before the reader an account of
the genealogical method of our two theologians. After passing many
wearisome hours and days in the futile attempt to obtain a compre-
hension of their method, I have been obliged to abandon the enter-
prise as beyond my capacity. This portion of I)r Hort’s dissertation,
or sea of words, may, to use the language of Lord Dundreary, be said
to be something that “no fellow can understand” (sects. 68-72).
Our two theologians are not content to classify texts in a general way
as Alexandrine, Syrian or Byzantine, and Western, in a geographical
manner, according to the local colouring imparted in certain
countries to the texts, but they make the same classification accord-
ing to algebra, as it were. The Syrian, Antiochian, or Byzantine texts
are ground together, not because they sprung up or were copied from
texts that originated in this region, but because the variants found in
cursive and late uncials are identical with the readings followed by
Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, who died a.d. 407. It is then
argued that community of text implies on genealogical grounds a
community of parentage: hence these texts had a common original
cither contemporary with or older than our oldest extant MSS. such
as the Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and others; which, therefore,
“ lose at once whatever presumption of exceptional purity they might
have derived from their exceptional antiquity alone” (sect. 130).
The authority of these ancient codices is thus smashed; and one