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Thread: Westcott and Hort occultism - seance and "communion of saints"

  1. Default Westcott and Hort occultism - seance and "communion of saints"


    Hort seance attendance - Westcott communion of the saints spiritualism.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/pure...5977207827502/

    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. The communion of the saints that was so much a part of Westcott 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
    http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthread.php…

    the 1864 seance with Augustus and Sophia De Morgan - 3/21-2016
    http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthread.php…

    .

  2. Default Westcott occultism

    Here is the CARM material, tweaked

    communion of saints - Westcott and Hort and spiritualism
    Steven Avery CARM Post #45
    http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthrea...=1#post7746483


    Anyone can simply read Westcott. His writing on this communion of saints is unclean, so I suggest Holy Spirit armour.

    Ephesians 6:10-15
    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
    Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
    against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
    against spiritual wickedness in high places.
    Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
    that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
    and having done all, to stand.
    Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth,
    and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
    And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;


    ... Fighting Fundamental Forum in 2011 in a thread you began called

    "B. F. Westcott the orthodox, Trinitarian Christian".
    http://www.fundamentalforums.com/bible-versions/97749-b-f-westcott-orthodox-trinitarian-christian-8.html

    Westcott's descriptions of the Communion of Saints is quite strange and quite different than e.g. the section in Corinthians that includes:

    1 Corinthians 12:12
    For as the body is one, and hath many members,
    and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body:
    so also is Christ.


    This was a major discussion in Anglican circles from 1851 on because of the Bampton lectures by Henry Bristow Wilson. The sections that Westcott has on this are quite spiritually off, as has been pointed out in some articles. Here is one example not often referenced:

    The historic faith: short lectures on the Apostles' creed (1883)
    Brooke Foss Westcott
    http://books.google.com/books?id=K_o2AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA258
    Meditation on the saintliness of saintly men must be supplemented by meditation on angels, as the representatives of the unseen world, if we are to feel the full extent of the Communion of Saints.


    And you can see that Westcott definitely did not consider this to be a very early part of the Apostle's Creed.

    The historic faith: short lectures on the Apostles' creed
    Brooke Foss Westcott
    http://books.google.com/books?id=K_o2AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA123
    The Holy Catholic Church is not only a great fact: it is also a great power: it carries with it an influence not limited by time or space. We are not heirs only of the past: the past lives for us in its spiritual energy. So our Western forefathers added, as late perhaps as the eighth century, a fresh clause to the Creed in order to give clear expression to this characteristic thought, and taught us to declare our belief in the Communion of Saints"


    The history of when the phrase was added to the Apostle's Creed is in The Apostle's Creed (1906) by Arthur Ewbank Burn. More significant than the lateness question is he strange spin given to the phrase. And this appears, so far, to be uniquely Westcott, and there is more than the one quote above. And this concept of communion with the saints deceased dovetails with the spiritualism connections of, e.g. the Hort and Westcott Sixth Form boys having the seance with Augustus and Sophia De Morgan.

    If there was an apostolic and early church writer sense of the phrase, it would be in the scriptural sense, as in the Corinthians verse and section referenced above and:

    1 John 1:1-4
    That which was from the beginning, which we have heard,
    which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon,
    and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
    (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it,
    and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life,
    which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; )
    That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you,
    that ye also may have fellowship with us:
    and truly our fellowship is with the Father,
    and with his Son Jesus Christ.
    And these things write we unto you,
    that your joy may be full.
    Since that time I've run into far more material about this spiritualistic approach of Westcott to communing with saints.

    The drift into occultism under that guise actually began as early as 1851, when Hort wrote to Westcott, objecting about the published Bampton Lecture given by Henry Bristow Wilson (1803-1888) on:

    Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, Volume 1 (1896)
    Fenton John Anthony Hort

    https://books.google.com/books?id=Rxc3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA210

    "the Communion of Saints, and the object is to show that there is no communion between the living and the dead".
    This desire for communing with the dead, for spiritualism, to supplant true Biblical Christianity is in the very same letter that, in his ignorance, buffeted by the demonic realm, Hort rails against "vile" Textus Receptus:

    Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, Volume 1
    By Fenton John Anthony Hort
    https://books.google.com/books?id=Rxc3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA210

    "I had no idea till the last few weeks of the importance of texts, having read so little Greek Testament, and dragged on with the villainous Textus Receptus."
    Westcott in his writings, even decades later, is using the communion of saints for such meditation-based spiritiualistic communion between the living and the dead.

  3. Default CARM - more background on communion of saints

    CARM Post #53

    > . . . you are aware that the phrase "communion of the saints" comes from the Apostles' Creed, right?

    Earlier I left out pointing out that it was not in the original Apostle's Creed, but was added centuries later, probably in the fifth century in Gaul. (Harnack says it can be shown that the phrase "communio sanctorum" was in the Apostolicum of the South Gallican churches in the second half of the fifth century. History of Dogma, 1898, p. 244) (Even Westcott knew this was a late addition, see above "So our Western forefathers added, as late perhaps as the eighth century".)

    Later it became more universal in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions that accepted:

    "veneration and invocation to the saints who, in turn, intercede for the saints on Earth."
    -
    Sit on Our Hands, or Stand on Our Feet?, p. 213, Roger Philip Abbott, 2013.
    There is no evidence of the phrase even being used in the Ante-Nicene period, not even by ultra-problematic writers like Origen.

    Abbott shows the contrast between the pagan view (my phrase) and that of Calvin in the Institutes 4.1.3 and 3.20.24

    In his section on the “communion of the saints,” Calvin makes no mention at all of relations with the heavenly. church. In fact he believed, "when the Lord withdrew them from our company, he left us no contact with them [Eccl. 9:5-6), and as far as we can conjecture, not even left them any with us. Even if we argue that there is a Spiritual union between those in heaven and upon Earth, yet, "but if any man contend that... it is impossible for them to cease to keep the same love toward us, who has disclosed that they have ears long enough to reach our voices, or that they have eyes so keen as to watch over our needs?'
    ========================================

    CARM Post #54

    Harnack says it can be shown that the phrase "communio sanctorum" was in the Apostolicum of the South Gallican churches in the second half of the fifth century. History of Dogma, 1898, p. 244. He also discusses how the "questionable acquisition" of the "communio sanctorum" into the Apostolicum developed. He shows how the term was used by Augustine and Faustus of Rhegium.

    Harnack writes more on this in his book on the Apostle's Creed, p. 78-80:

    The Apostle's Creed (1901)
    Adolph Harnack
    https://archive.org/stream/apostlecr...ge/78/mode/2up
    Section also in CCEL and:
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...DX196w&cad=rja

    More detail on this history is given in The Lutheran Quarterly, 1894, Article II, The Communion of Saints, by Prof. J. W. Richard.

    ==================

    Before looking at the spiritualistic perversion of "communion of the saints" by Westcott, it is helpful to understand how the phrase "communio sanctorum" came late into the Apostle's Creed. And why Bible believing Evangelicals will strongly reject the connection made of it with doctrines like praying to saints that are part of the RCC and Orthodox tradition.

    And Bible believers will reject as well the weird Westcott meditation usage, where he is feeling the presence of the deceased and the dead are even said to have "dominion" (which is even worse as an occult perversion than the RCC and Orthodox error.) As e.g. in this from the writings of Brooke Foss Westcott:

    The Historic Faith: Short Lectures on the Apostles' Creed
    (1904)
    Brooke Foss Westcott
    https://books.google.com/books?id=3IRMAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA104

    "We are learning, by the help of many teachers, the extent and the authority of the dominion which the dead exercise over us, and which we ourselves are shaping for our descendants. We feel, as perhaps it was impossible to feel before, how at every moment influences from the past enter our souls, and how we in turn scatter abroad that which will be fruitful in the distant future. It is becoming clear to us that we are literally parts of others and they of us." (Westcott, originally 1880)
    Meditation on the saintliness of saintly men must be supplemented by meditation on angels, as the representatives of the unseen world, if we are to feel the full extent of the Communion of Saints.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=3IRMAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA108
    As I warned, this stuff from Westcott is simply unclean. Even the article in 1880 in The Month and Catholic Review strongly objected to giving dominion to the deceased.

    ====

    Returning to the "craze" of spiritualistic occultism that infected the circles of Westcott and Hort, once again I will point out that it is precisely when Hort is desiring "communion between the living and the dead"
    that Hort wrote ignorantly, ranting against the Received Text as "villainous". Hort acknowledged that he knew basically nothing about the Bible text at the time .. however he was open to occult forces that do see the historic Bible as vile and villainous.

    ========================================

    CARM #55

    The spiritualistic type of obsession of Westcott, revolving around communion of the saints, had nothing to do with Biblical and evangelical Christian doctrine, faith and belief.

    You can also see this come out in Life and Letters, Vol 1. , 1903 p. 312-313, by his son Arthur Westcott:

    Life and letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, D.D., D.C.L.: sometime bishop of Durham, Volume 1

    Arthur Westcott
    https://books.google.com/books?id=iCI3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA312


    The Communion of Saints ... The subject, too, is one so very dear to himself. He had an extraordinary power of realising this Communion. It was his delight to be alone at night in the great Cathedral, for there he could meditate and pray in full sympathy with all that was good and great in the past. I have been with him there on a moonlight evening when the vast building was haunted with strange lights and shades, and the ticking of the great clock sounded like some giant's footsteps in the deep silence. Then he had always abundant company. Once a daughter in later years met him returning from one of his customary meditations in the solitary darkness of the chapel at Auckland Castle, and she said to him, " I expect you do not feel alone ?" " Oh no," he said, " it is full" ; and as he spoke his face shone with one of his beautiful smiles.

  4. Default

    Note:

    The seance was a recent discovery, so it is not included in most of the writing. (I'll plan a separate post or thread here.)

    Previously, possibly the most complete "communion of the saints" discussion of Westcott was in Phil Stringer:
    http://www.deanburgonsociety.org/Preservation/westcott.htm

    Westcott's son refers to his father's life long faith in spiritualism (Archbishop Benson's son referred to Benson in the same way). Communion with spirits became quite fashionable in the late 1800's in British society. Even Queen Victoria, who normally led a responsible Christian life, dabbled in spiritualism. However, it was considered unseemly for Church of England clergymen, and Westcott had to keep his ideas quiet. According to Westcott's son, Arthur, Dr. Westcott practiced the Communion of the Saints. This was a belief that you can fellowship with the spirits of those who died recently.

    Bible translator J. B. Phillips also believed in the Communion of Saints. He believed that the spirit of C.S. Lewis visited him after his death. According to Arthur Westcott, Bishop Westcott also had such experiences with spirits. His son writes, "The Communion of Saints seems particularly associated with Peterborough. He had an extraordinary power of realizing this Communion. It was his delight to be alone at night in the great Cathedral, for there he could meditate and pray in full sympathy with all that was good and great in the past. . . There he always had abundant company." Westcott's daughter met him returning from one of his customary meditations in the solitary darkness of the chapel at Auckland castle. She said to him, " I expect you do not feel alone?" "Oh, no," he said, "It is full."

    Either Dr. Westcott's children lied about him or Dr. Westcott was used to meeting with spirits. Bible believers recognize these spirits as demons.
    However, he does not really have the basic quotes, or history, as above. And I had to fix his "Wescott", which mars such an article.

  5. Default the seance at the De Morgans written about in Hort's letters

    the seance at the De Morgans written about in Hort's letters

    [TC-Alternate-list] Just the facts or I know its too much to ask.
    Steven Avery - October, 2010
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...ns/topics/2170

    ================================================== ===============

    Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort
    http://books.google.com/books?id=oxc3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA33

    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
    1854 - In conjunction with J. E. B. Mayor and Lightfoot, established the Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology
    1870 - Revision work begins


    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 pizazz, 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. And these books may be helpful:

    While Latinos Slept
    Gary E. Lamore
    https://www.amazon.com/While-Men-Sle.../dp/0944835023
    https://books.google.com/books?id=-0e1NG2PpZwC&pg=PA120 (gone from google books)

    While Men Slept: A Biblical and Historical Account of the New Universal Christianity (2002)
    Kirby Fannin
    http://books.google.com/books?id=9yFfFQVtmqUC&pg=PA203

  6. Default two Facebook discussions on Westcott and Hort seance and communion of the saints

    two Facebook discussions on Westcott and Hort seance and communion of the saints

    ===================

    Kent Settlemyer
    Moderated King James Bible Debate
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Mode...esBibleDebate/

    “We’ve allowed the entire discussion of the doctrine of scripture, the text of scripture, and the translation of scripture to be determined by two men who believed in the communion of spirits and one of whom at least, routinely communed with spirits.” Phil Stringer, Westcott & Hort and Their Occult Connections, 2017 KJBRC Conference

    (continues)

    ===================

    Pure Bible
    Hort seance attendance - Westcott communion of the saints spiritualism.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/pure...5977207827502/

    ===================

    The material from Westcott is also reprinted:

    Thoughts on Revelation & Life: Being Selections from the Writings of Brooke Foss Westcott (1891)
    edited by Stephen Phillips
    https://books.google.com/books?id=atwTAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA91
    https://archive.org/stream/thoughtsonrevela00westiala#page/90/mode/2up


    One extract, essentially a "spirit guide":

    And there is no limit to this inspiring communion. It embraces the living and the dead. It acknowledges no saddest necessity of outward separation as reaching to the region in which it is. It does not even seek for the confirmation of any visible pledge.

    By saints we understand all who welcome and appropriate and show forth, in whatever way, the gifts of the Spirit. If we are ready to follow, Christ, through the Spirit sent in His name, will guide us to some one in whom we may study the virtue of His presence.
    We can look for a bit more.

    ===================

    The above quote can be found in 1883:

    The Historic Faith: Short Lectures on the Apostles' Creed (1883)
    Brooke Foss Westcott
    https://books.google.com/books?id=K_o2AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA257
    https://archive.org/stream/historicf.../n281/mode/2up

    The section here is p. 245-261

    ===================

    The Catholics understood that Westcott was following something like a Catholic idea, in fact they are sounder than Westcott, but did not really single out the mystic spiritism, although they did hint at it.

    The Month and Catholic Review
    https://books.google.com/books?id=KQIFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA432

    Looking over the subjects of discussion, we are struck by the presence of one at least which must naturally stir Catholic hearts. "The Communion of Saints!"—it sounds in the ears of Catholics as a strange topic for the consideration of Anglicans. It is like the altar "to the unknown God" which roused the charity of St. Paul as he walked among the monuments of Athenian piety. The Communion of Saints! what have these good Churchmen at Leicester got to do with that most tender and touching article of the Creed? Did not the Reformation desecrate the shrines of the saints, turn their offices out of the Prayer-Book, pull down their images, defile their altars, scatter their relics to the winds, forbid their invocation? Have not Anglicans separated themselves from the Church militant, the Church triumphant, the Church suffering in Purgatory? Yes, certainly, they have done all these things. But Christian nature and Catholic instincts are difficult to eradicate from baptised souls, and among the other wonderful developments of neo-Anglicanism it would not be surprising if this also, of the return to the veneration of the saints, were to find a place. The veneration of the saints, as all Catholics feel, is an integral part of the practical realization of the Incarnation, and, in proportion as the true doctrine concerning our Lord, either survives in a community which has been for any reason separated from the unity of the Church, or is restored to such a community, in the same proportion do the members of that community draw nearer to Catholicism as to such points as the honour paid to the Blessed Mother of God and to the saints. "And if thou art not here adored," sings the founder of modern Anglicanism to our Blessed Lady,

    ... However, the Professor is speaking especially of the influence of those gone before us. "We are learning, by the help of many teachers, the extent and the authority of the dominion which the dead exercise over us, and which we ourselves are shaping for our descendants." Here, as in other passages of this paper, we notice an exaggeration of what is true. It is not true to say that the dead exercise dominion over us, although, of course, the whole of God's dealings with us cannot be understood unless we recognize the truth that He deals with us, in many respects, as one with our ancestors. But this kind of influence of the dead on the living might be believed by a Sadducee, it might exist if death was an eternal sleep, and has nothing to do with the Communion of Saints any more than "the future which we are shaping for our descendants."

    ...We cannot follow Professor Westcott through the rest of His interesting paper with the same minuteness as we have used in examining what has already been commented on. He has some good remarks, not very real to Catholic ears, about the effect of Anglican commemorations in Colleges, or of dedication festivals, of the possible "peopling with familiar forms the vacancies of All Saints Day, and filling up the noble but blank outlines of the Te Deum" of the importance of the feasts of the Transfiguration, and of St. Michael and All Angels, of the usefulness of meditation on holy examples, on the devotions which may be connected with Christian names, of hymn-books as "confessions of the Communion of Saints," and so on. He speaks of the magnificent myth in the Phadrus of Plato, according to which, "on stated days human souls follow in the train of the gods, and rising above the world, gaze on the eternal and the absolute. It is only by strenuous and painful endeavour that they can gain, for a brief space, the vision which is the appointed food of Divine natures. Then they fall to earth, and their bodily life corresponds with the range and clearness of the celestial impressions which they retain. So they recognize about them during their earthly life sojourn, the images of the higher things, and again strive upwards." "For us," says the Professor, "the revelation of Christ has made this dream a reality. In Him we see perfect Sacrifice, perfect Truth, perfect Wisdom, perfect Love; and having seen it, we can discern signs of His presence in those who show His gifts."
    This is well said, but it has not the precision and practical force which we should like to see. Why go to the myths of Plato, when we have before us the Catholic creeds, and the practice of the children of the Catholic Church in all ages, to tell us what those creeds mean?

    ... And let it not be said, at least by Professor Westcott, that this exercise of power on the part of the saints is an interference with the single power and office of our Lord as the one Mediator. If, as he has said, the examples of the saints are our only way to understand the character of our Lord, and if, as he has also said, their reflections of His perfection do not in the least derogate from His inviolable honour, because what they are they are altogether through Him, then neither can their intercessions interfere with His, for their whole power is through Him. Let Professor Westcott, then, encourage his co-religionists, not only to commemorate and to meditate on the saints, but to ask their prayers, as they ask our Lord's help and grace. That will be a step towards the realization of the Communion of Saints which may perhaps lead them further than they think. But if it should be so, it will but be to introduce them to blessings and privileges, to which indeed they have a right, but from which they have too long let themselves be debarred. And, in the same way, let Professor Westcott extend his meditations on the examples of the saints to the subject of their own religious practice and belief in this very particular. If he does this, he will most certainly find that either they or the modern Anglicans are wrong in their conceptions, to use his own words, as to "the charge which our belief in this fact lays upon ourselves."

    ===================

    Here is a spot where Hort defends "communion of the saints" as being communion between the living and the dead, he is attacking a writing that denies this type of spiritism:

    Life and Letters of John Fenton Hort Vol 1, 1896
    https://archive.org/stream/lifelette...e/210/mode/2up

    "It is on the Communion of Saints, and the object is to show that there is no communion between the living and the dead"

    ===================

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