Hort, Fenton John Anthony
HORT, FENTON JOHN ANTHONY (1828-1892), English theologian, was born in Dublin on the 23rd of April 1828, the great-grandson of Josiah Hort, archbishop of Tuam in the 18th century. In 1846 he passed from Rugby to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was the contemporary of E. W. Benson, B. F. Westcott and J. B. Lightfoot. The four men became lifelong friends and fellow-workers. In 1850 Hort took his degree, being third in the classical tripos, and in 1852 he became fellow of his college. In 1854, in conjunction with J. E. B. Mayor and Lightfoot, he established the Journal of Classical and Sacred, Philology, and plunged eagerly into theological and patristic study. He had been brought up in the strictest principles of the Evangelical school,. but at Rugby he fell under the influence of Arnold and Tait, and his acquaintance with Maurice and Kingsley finally gave his opinions a direction towards Liberalism. In 1857 he married, and accepted the college living of St Ippolyts, near Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, where he remained for fifteen years. During his residence there he took some part in the discussions on university reform, continued his studies, and wrote essays for various periodicals. In 1870 he was appointed a member of the committee for revising the translation of the New Testament, and in 1871 he delivered the Hulsean lectures before the university. Their title was The Way, the Truth, and the Life, but they were not prepared for publication until many years after their delivery. In 1872 he accepted a fellowship and lectureship at Emmanuel College; in 1878 he was made Hulsean professor of divinity, and in 1887 Lady Margaret reader in divinity. In the meantime he had published, with his friend Westcott, an edition of the text of the New Testament. The Revision Committee had very largely accepted this text, even before its publication, as a basis for their translation of the New Testament. The work on its appearance created an immense sensation among scholars, and was vehemently attacked in many quarters, but on the whole it was received as being much the nearest approximation yet made to the original text of the New Testament (see BIBLE: New Testament, " Textual Criticism "). The introduction was the work of Hort, and its depth and fulness convinced all who read it that they were under the guidance of a master. Hort died on the 30th of November 1892, worn out by intense mental labour. Next to his Greek Testament his best-known work is The Christian Ecclesia (1897). Other publications are: Judaistic Christianity (1894); Village Sermons (two series); Cambridge and other Sermons; Prolegomena to ... Romans and Ephesians (1895); The Anle-Nicene Fathers (1895); and two Dissertations, on the reading /iovc^ecifc 06s in John i. 18, and on The Constantinopolitan and other Eastern Creeds in the Fourth Century. All are models of exact scholarship and skilful use of materials.
His Life and Letters was edited by his son, Sir Arthur Hort, Bart. (1896).