Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels
by John William Burgon
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The late 19th century marked a turning point in biblical criticism. B. F. Westcott and
F. J. A. Hort compiled some of the oldest manuscripts of the New Testament. Their
compilation has served as the template for almost every modern translation of the
Bible. Because of this, people often forget that Westcott and Hort’s critical text faced
considerable controversy. John Burgon was perhaps the fiercest enemy of the movement
Westcott and Hort had begun. Instead of the new compilation, Burgon favored the Textus
Receptus, or the collection of Greek texts that provided the material for the King James
Version and the German Luther Bible. His treatise The Causes of the Corruption of the
Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels compares the Textus Receptus with the Westcott
and Hort texts, finding points of disagreement and potential error. Today, many associate
Burgon and his arguments with biblical inerrancy.
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