Westcott and Hort occultism - seance and 'communion of saints' - timeline

Steven Avery

WIP - and hope to fix the original that went blank, in a vBulletin glitch

PBF - sister threads.

Westcott and Hort occultism - seance and 'communion of saints'

occultism in textual writers - Hoskier, Ginsburg, Westcott-Hort - also Mark in Latin

Hort's secrecy Roby curse for the Cambridge Apostles

In a letter to his wife, 23 Oct 1864, Hort (then age 36) :

"We had a pleasant evening, six of Westcott's Sixth Form boys dining with us .... Then we worked till near dinner, when we had a very nice little party, the two De Morgans, H. M. Butler, Farrar, Brady and his mother, and H. W. Watson. Mrs. Brady ... came in the evening. We tried to turn tables, but the creatures wouldn't stir. Both the De Morgans were radiant and pleasant. To-day we have been to morning chapel, and had a good sermon from Bradby ..."


To give an idea of where this is in his time-line, this is solidly in Hort's Bible research years.

1848 - College years begin
1851 - Ghostly Guild
1853 - vile, villianous Textus Receptus
1854 - In conjunction with J. E. B. Mayor and Lightfoot, established the Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology
1855 - Roby secrecy curse for Cambridge Apostles
1864 - Seance
1870 - Revision convocation begins
1871 - Hort exercises control over the Revision Committee
1871 - Westcott-Hort GNT recension distributed to members
1881 - Revision NT published
1883-1891 - Westcott writes of Commemoration and Communion of Saints with a spiritualistic sense
1893 - Westcott says communication through mediums is unlawful and perilous

Table-tapping is a part of occult seance activity.

This was posted on a Bible Version Discussion Board by Euthymius who correctly wrote:

"The comment "we tried to turn tables" is a direct reference to an occult seance, in which Hort obviously participated, and that quite willingly. "The creatures" that "wouldn't stir" is a clear reference to the spirits of the dead they were trying to raise"

And also gave a similar occult example from Victor Hugo. Also mentioned on a blog by Fred Butler. These were only in 2008 and 2007 respectively, the comment had apparently been overlooked by Hort researchers.

The De Morgans, who were clearly friends of Hort, were very active in the occultism at the time, spiritualism. Professor (mathematician) Augustus De Morgan "well briefed in mesmerism and clairvoyance" and his medium wife Sophia who wrote "From Matter to Spirit" (Some info from Equations from God, Pure Mathematics and Victorian Faith - Daniel Cohen). They get six mentions in An Encyclopædia of Occultism by Lewis Spence so this was not house-puppy play. Her book is in Googlebooks, however there is little point in more on all this, the point is simply that this would be a dedicated, established group of occultists.

My conjecture is that reading the history of the decrepit "Revision" and the "bait and switch" deceptive methodology Hort likely subtilely used the mesmerism-style occult techniques to rule the Committee-roost.

The common defense of the occult activity was that it was only research and/or college years activity. That defense can no longer stand up for Hort, who was the one who really controlled the Revision group to make sure it would take their decrepit text against the 'vile' Textus Receptus.

Overall I emphasize much more the textual issues, the counter-Reformation text these men foisted upon the naive and the unwary and those who lacked insight into the strength, accuracy and purity of the Reformation Bible. Only corollary are the spiritual rebellions and problems of Westcott and Hort. However there is no reason to ignore the relationship between spiritual buffeting, spiritual principalities and textual rebellions and textual apostasy. The two do not exist in vacuums, one is corollary and supportive to the others.

For those who want an overview of their lives, William Grady has an interesting section on their lives in the book "Final Authority" and an audio is available on the web.

The friends of Westcott and Hort who hosted the seance, the mathematician-mesmerist and his wife, deep into occultism and spiritualism.

Augustus De Morgan

Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan
https://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=De Morgan, Sophia Elizabeth, 1809-1892

Sample dark book. NOT recommended.

From Matter to Spirit: The Result of Ten Years'experience in Spirit Manifestations. Intended as a Guide to Enquirers (1863)
Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan
The main Facebook thread.

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Hort seance attendance - Westcott communion of the saints spiritualism.
March 21, 2016

Generally I do not write too much about the occultism of Westcott and Hort. The fundamental problem is their ultra-corrupt recension, and the absurd theories plied by Hort, and how easily textual "scholars" were duped by his irrational, turgid writing. (P. C. Sense has some good quotes about his writing.) The ridiculous 1881 theoretical writing of Hort, which Burgon astutely tore apart and yet he even missed a number of points, came after Hort's earlier mesmeristic control over the decrepit Revision committee.

Much has been written on the occultism of the times and how it buffeted Westcott and Hort. Not always fully accurately on either side. And I usually emphasize two specific elements (see the title) that have generally not been properly discussed. The seance helps to disprove the "college dalliance" and "only scientific research" hand-waves of the earlier occultisms. Also being close to the mesmerist Augustus and his occultist wife Sophia is itself telling. The communion of the saints that was so much a part of Westcott's writing in his later years was simply spiritualism, attempting to commune with the deceased. Not through a medium, but through personal meditation.

On CARM this has come up, you can read a couple of my posts here:

communion of saints - Westcott and Hort and spiritualism
Steven Avery - 3/21/2016
the 1864 seance with Augustus and Sophia De Morgan - 3/21-2016
Those were purged, this later one has good info.

Time permitting, by the grace of the Lord Jesus I may add more here on this thread, and on the purebibleforum.
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Steven Avery

the discovery of the Hort seance

This was missed by the early AV defenders writing on Hort, including Grady and Riplinger.
Thus the history is rather interesting.

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Hort seance attendance - Westcott communion of the saints spiritualism.
March 21, 2016

King James Bible Debate

Moderated King James Bible Debate

Ironically, the BVDB contra forum helped break this story

Fred Butler tried hard to handwave all the evidences relating to the seance.

The original CARM threads were purged, however this one remains with some material.

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