“Marking the 125th anniversary of the original publication of Westcott and Hort's The New Testament in the Original Greek (1881), Hendrickson Publishers has reissued the 1885 edition. In addition to the Greek New Testament this volume also contains a revised and expanded version of Alexander Souter's A Pocket Lexicon of the Greek New Testament as well as a foreword by Eldon Jay Epp contextualizing the contribution of W. and H. to textual criticism, and an introduction providing guidelines for using the text. Whereas the 1881 original was supplemented by a companion volume detailing W. and H:s methodology, the current edition supplies their A Brief Explanation of the Principles of Textual Criticism in an appendix. Three black and white biblical maps complete this volume.
“While the Greek text is unaltered from the 1885 publication, a number of formatting challenges have helped increase the availability of the text for a wider audience, one that, in contrast with the original, could readily include undergraduate students and pastors. This edition now provides, not only standard fare such as chapter numbers, but also English captions (followed, where appropriate, by synoptic parallel references) that further subdivide the text. Whereas W. and H. flagged intertextual scriptural recitations by using upper-case script, the current volume has enhanced visual flow by replacing the upper-case script with bold emphasis. With a nod to an audience less biblically literate than W. and H.'s contemporaries, the publishers have provided biblical cross-references corresponding to these scriptural recitations. Formatting and presentation changes aside, perhaps the most significant difference between the earlier W-H and this republication is the incorporation of a comparative apparatus that identifies differences in wording between the W-H and that of Nestle-Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece (27th ed.), and Maurice Robinson and William C;. Pierpont's edition, The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Textform (Southborough, Massachusetts: Chilton Book Publishing, 2005). The comparisons, shown at the bottom of each page, clearly illustrate the nature of variance between W-H, N-A and/or R-P. . . Variant readings of a substituted word(s) are equally self-evident, since not only are the variant readings cited but also W-H's is reiterated for ease of comparison. . . Such initiatives favoring clarity demonstrate that this is intended to be a working text and not only a commemoration of a historically significant work.
“ Although intended for contemporary use, W-H, as is well known, is not the version of the Greek New Testament in common use today; that distinction belongs to the N-A/ United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.; Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2001); therefore Epp suggests using W-H in combination with three groups of resources. Recognizing that N-A/Greek New Testament is the contemporary standard derived from the application of prevailing text-critical theory, Epp first suggests that W-H be read in concert with these texts as well as their companion, Bruce M. Metzger's A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2nd ed.: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2000) which discusses key variant readings. Secondly, Epp guides the reader to W. and H.'s original second volume which details the text-critical theoretical underpinnings for their reading. (The appendix to the current W-H provides a much less comprehensive, although still helpful and succinct, overview of this text-critical theory). Finally, Epp cautions that "appropriate use of Westcott-Hort's text requires knowledge of the manuscript discoveries since their time, and they have been legion" (p. 17). While a highly workable Greek New Testament in its own right—Epp notes that W-H stands closer to the text underlying N-A/Greek New Testament "than to any other edition" (p. 12) -the W-H was also a landmark text in the history of textual criticism. Building on the work of some of their earlier predecessors, W. and H. established that "wherever there are more readings than one" (p. 869) a critical choice is required. Their model defines two classes of evidence. One they classified "internal evidence" which is based on a judgment of what the author likely would have intended or what a copyist would most likely have written. The other is based on the "authority of the documents" which compares documentary evidence and assesses the quality of the documents in question by applying the criteria of their model. W. and H. 's model is governed by an understanding that any given text is an outcome of a history of transmission, and within these 'lineages' of transmission certain groups of texts reflect a higher quality of reliability than do others. Based on their text-critical analysis W. and H. articulated a hierarchy of choice between the two classes of textual evidence: "Knowledge of documents should precede final judgment upon readings" (p. 870).
“One of the significant impacts of W. and H.'s work was the displacement of the Textus Receptis —a text based mostly on manuscripts dating to about the 12th century—from its dominant status, an influence it held from the 16th century on. It is likely more than coincidence that the comparative apparatus for the current W-H is, on the one hand, a text that reflects the fruition of work evolved from W. and H's text-critical theory, and on the other hand R. and P. 's text which has its closest affinity with the Textus Receptus. As such, this republication of W-H may contribute to a reawakening of sensitivity to text-critical issues from their current state of dormancy, or at least motivate interpreters to question what text they are privileging prior to embarking on their latest interpretive venture.
“The original W-H became a landmark text, as observed by E., both because it provided a model for situating texts within their histories of transmission and accordingly for evaluating their quality but also for the impact it had on ending Textus Receptus ' dominance. In doing so, W-H became part of a historical trajectory, acquiring its own moment in history. In recognition of W. and H.’s achievement and impact, the current W-H "seeks both to honor and to preserve the contribution of these two eminent scholars" (p. 21). This readily accessible, well-presented volume is both a testimony to W. and H. as well as an invitation to engage with their work and the work of their successors through engagement with the Greek New Testament.”
“Here is another valuable new reprint by Hendrickson Publishers who have made so many other older scholarly volumes available to the contemporary student of the Bible. Souter’s Pocket Lexicon, first published in 1916 by Oxford Press, is the most useful and authoritative of the smaller lexicons. and I myself would not be without it. A 1935 edition of the same always sits on my desk, ready for consultation.
“Eldon Jay Epp in his Foreword explains the development of the Westcott-Hort Greek NT (which gave priority to the Alexandrian text tradition) that was a landmark in the displacement of the Textus Receptus. Epp issues appropriate advice and cautions about how to use the present volume, for much has happened in the field of textual criticism since the days of Westcott and Hort. The eclectic Nestle-Aland edition has become the standard for most students of the Greek NT. The Robinson-Pierpont edition (2005) is a recent scholarly attempt to represent the Byzantine textual tradition. Here, then, is a volume that places in the hands of the student the three most common approaches to the text of the NT that have influenced modem research on the Greek NT.”
— Reformed Theological Review
"This work is a re-issue of a landmark in textual criticism. Much of contemporary textual criticism has built upon the contributions of Westcott and Hort's (WH) Greek New Testament and their rules for doing textual criticism. Moreover, their reliance upon and arguments for the superiority of Codices simple re-issue of the original. It includes a very helpful foreword by Eldon J. Epp, a noted text critic in his own right, an introduction to the text and its features, WH's Greek New Testament, a Greek lexicon (a revision and expansion of A. Souter's Pocket Lexicon), an appendix with WH's statement on the principles of textual criticism and three maps of Palestine, Jerusalem and the Roman Empire. While the lexicon is similar to M. A. House's revision and expansion of Souter, it is not identical to it.
The additions to WH's original work ably enhance this new edition. They produce important historical details, helpful information on how best to use WH and additional helpful lexical tools. WH's discussion of the principles of textual criticism are very helpful and one sees first-hand their contribution to modern textual criticism. Finally, the accompanying lexicon is updated and accurate. I chose approximately two dozen words at random, being certain to include nouns, verbs and prepositions, and found all of their definitions more than adequate at worst; very good at best. For all of the aforementioned features, this is a very good tool for text-critical research and for instructing graduate/ advanced seminary students in courses or parts of courses dealing with textual criticism.
It is not a tool for all, however. It is not for seminarians and/or graduate students who have made A’s in a NT Greek exegesis course but with only a modicum of interest in NT textual criticism. This book is not even a resource for everyone with an academic doctorate in NT. It is a valuable resource to own for persons with academic doctorates in NT who qualify as bona fide text critics. All others should check it out from a library. Epp correctly notes that WH should be read alongside both Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th, and The Greek New Testament, 4th , as well as Metzger's Textual Commentary and Hort's Introduction (a companion volume to their Greek text). Epp continues that one should also have knowledge of manuscript discoveries since WH and manuals of textual criticism (pp. xvii-xviii). I agree wholeheartedly.
Hendrickson should be thanked for re-issuing this classic and doing so with additional aids of such quality. It should prove to be a helpful resource for experienced text critics and also for courses that involve understanding the history and principles of NT textual criticism. Moreover, it should be found in every major theological library."
—Review and Expositor