Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892)

Picture of Fenton John Anthony Hort

Fellow of the College who produced a revised version of the New Testament

F.J.A. Hort, born in 1828 and schooled at Rugby under Dr Arnold, was elected a fellow of Trinity in 1852, at the same time as his friend J.B. Lightfoot, later to be Bishop of Durham. Another close friend, already a fellow there, was B.F. Westcott; and it was during the next five years that these two laid the foundations of their celebrated critical edition of the Greek text of the New Testament. On his marriage in 1857 Hort had to resign his fellowship, and withdrew to the living of St Ippolyt's with Great Wymondley, near Hitchin. It was an out-of-the-way spot for a distinguished theological scholar; but in 1872 the Emmanuel Fellows exercised for the first time a ten-year-old statute that allowed them to elect a married man, and brought Hort back to Cambridge. He soon took a prominent part in the life of Emmanuel, especially in promoting anew the prominence of theological studies in the College, which had been the prime intention of the Founder. In the renovation of the Chapel for the tercentenary in 1884, Hort was largely responsible for the scheme of subjects for the stained glass windows. The idea of showing members of the College in a general perspective of church history had been used already on a much larger scale, under the influence of Hort and Lightfoot, in the chapel windows at Trinity, and its emphasis on the unity and continuity of the church reflects a breadth of outlook unusual at that time.

In 1878 Hort was appointed Hulsean Professor of Divinity, while Westcott was Regius Professor and Lightfoot had the Lady Margaret chair. Beyond Emmanuel, Hort's fame rests of course on his New Testament scholarship. The revision of the Greek text undertaken with Westcott was eventually published in May 1881; and Hort was also for ten years a member of the committee of scholars whose ‘Revised Version’ of the English Bible came out in the same month. His scholarship and interests were wide-ranging: as a young man he had taken four triposes - mathematics, classics, moral sciences, and natural sciences - scoring first classes in three of them. He was a man of self-consuming intellectual energy. When he allowed himself to relax he showed himself a more than competent field botanist; and he was an early member of the Alpine Club.