Prior to Westcott and Hort influencing the Revision Committee which produced the 1881 Revised Version (the supposed 'revision' of the Authorised Version which, in fact, replaced the Received Text with a new Greek Text - that of Westcott and Hort) these two gentlemen intimated that they would refuse to be on the Committee if the Unitarian Dr Vance Smith was not permitted to be a part of the proceedings.

Dr. G. Vance Smith, a Unitarian scholar, was a member of the Revision Committee. At Westcott's suggestion, a celebration of Holy Communion was held on June 22nd before the first meeting of the N.T. Revision Company. Dr. Smith communicated but said afterwards that he did not join in reciting the Nicene Creed and did not compromise his principles as a Unitarian. The storm of public indignation which followed almost wrecked the Revision at the outset. At length however Dr. Smith remained on the Committee.

Nesher Resources

I have read, somewhere (and it escapes my memory where) that 'thousands' objected to the Unitarian Dr Vance Smith being on the Committee which would oversee the 'revision' of the bible.

Yet, somehow, the above mentioned 'storm' and the 'thousands' I have read of, did not result in Vance Smith, Wescott and Hort being removed from the committee.

Had they been removed, Professor Scrivener and the other members would have done as was intended and would have adjusted the known defects of the Authorised Version, rather than replace the Received Text with an altogether new text comprising of over ten thousand (seven per cent) alterations, omissions and additions.

Why were the 'storm' and the 'thousands' ineffective ?

Whose influence was it that overcame the opposition ?


The Protocol, referred to, here, by Dean John Burgon in his book 'Revision Revised' indicates the original intent of the 'Convocation' :

That [pg 003]“a Revision of the Authorized Version” is desirable; and the terms of the original Resolution of Feb. 10th, 1870, being, that the removal of “plain and clear errors” was alone contemplated,—“whether in the Greek Text originally adopted by the Translators, or in the Translation made from the same.” Such were in fact the limits formally imposed by Convocation, (10th Feb. and 3rd, 5th May, 1870,) on the work of Revision. Only necessary changes were to be made. The first Rule of the Committee (25th May) was similar in character: viz.—“To introduce as few alterations as possible into the Text of the Authorized Version, consistently with faithfulness.”

Dean John Burgon - Revision Revised

  • "would have done as was intended and would have adjusted the know defects of the Authorised Version, rather than replace the Recieved Text with an altogether new text" Wikipedia says that the committe's charge was to "adapt it to the present standard of Biblical scholarship." If this is accurate then it implies the Church of England always wanted the revision to be based on the latest results of textual criticism and not just be an update of the language of the KJV. – curiousdannii Aug 31 '20 at 2:31
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    @curiousdannii I think the Wikipedia article is unreliable. It is 'loaded' in its outlook but even that particular article admits of to adapt King James' version to the present state of the English language without changing the idiom and vocabulary Dean John Burgon reproduced the revision protocol and I shall check on that (hard copy) and reproduce it accurately. The project never envisaged a change of Greek text until Westcott and Hort visited each member of the commitee privately, offering their life's work.But my question is about Dr Vance Smith, not the protocol. – Nigel J Aug 31 '20 at 3:10
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    Yeah you're right it's a different issue. I'm sure there'll be some explanation for their defence of it being an ecumenical project even though it was officially for the CoE. – curiousdannii Aug 31 '20 at 3:46
  • @curiousdannii I've edited with Dean John Burgon's quote of the original remit of the Convocation. – Nigel J Aug 31 '20 at 4:02

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