Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/651

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Westcott's life is remarkable for its many-sided activity and the extraordinary amount of achievement. On several of the subjects of biblical criticism and religious thought on which Westcott wrote inquiry and debate have since continued in Germany, and have become more or less active in England, and the position of some of the questions has consequently changed. Notably is this the case with the problems of the origin of the synoptic gospels and of the authorship of the fourth gospel; the former is discussed by Westcott in his 'Introduction to the Study of the Gospels,' and the latter both ia that work and in the 'Prolegomena' to his 'Commentary on St. John's Gospel.' On the other hand, in his work on the 'Canon of the New Testament' he contends in the main for views which have now come to be widely accepted, and this work is probably still for English students the most serviceable 'survey of the history' of the reception of the books of the New Testament in the Church. His treatment of all these subjects represented in England a great advance at the time when he wrote both in knowledge and in the candid examination of opinions opposed to the traditional ones.

In the field of textual criticism the appearance of 'Westcott and Hort's Greek Testament' was admitted, on the Continent as well as in England, to have been epoch-making. But Westcott has perhaps hardly had his due share of the credit owing to the fact that the exposition of the principles on which the text had been made was left to Hort, probably because the latter had fewer engagements. But these principles and the determination thereby of each individual reading were arrived at through the independent investigations of the two scholars, followed by discussion between them. Anyone knowing the two men would hesitate to say that the contribution of either of them to the result thus obtained was greater than that of the other.

The value of Westcott's work as a commentator lies especially in the aid he affords towards an understanding of the profound teaching of the Johannine writings, and of the Epistle to the Hebrews (1889; 3rd edit. 1903). It may be held that he is sometimes too subtle in his interpretations; but through spiritual sympathy and deep meditation he has often penetrated far into the real meaning of the text. His commentaries also contain many careful discussions of the usages of important words or phrases. With his ’Commentary on the Epistles of St. John' (1883) he published three important essays on 'The Church and the World' (an examination of the relations of Christianity and the Roman Empire), 'The Grospel of Creation,' and 'The Relation of Christianity to Art.' The last is included in 'Religious Thought in the West' (1891). Westcott's leading ideas on the final problems of existence may be best gathered from his 'Gospel of the Resurrection' (1866; 7th edit. 1891) and 'Grospel of Life' (1892). He was perhaps too apt to enimciate propositions of wide import, which in his view corresponded with the constitution of man's being, without discussing with sufficient fulness the means of their verification. But no one can fail to be impressed by his conception of the task of theology and his conviction that it is the duty of the Christian theologian to take account of knowledge of all kinds and of all the religious aspirations of mankind. A strong resemblance has often been noticed between his teaching and that of F. D. Maurice. Westcott, however, though younger by twenty years, had thought out his own position independently, and in order that he might do so had for the most part refrained, as he more than once said, from reading Maurice's works. In 1884, after reading the latter's 'Life and Letters,' he wrote to Llewelyn Davies, 'I never knew before how deep my sympathy is with most of his characteristic thoughts.' Westcott by his writings certainly helped no little to extend the influence of these thoughts, which were characteristic of them both.

[Arthur Westcott's Life and Letters of the bishop, his father, 1903, 2 vols., where a complete bibliography will be found; Hort's Life of F. J. A. Hort; A. C. Benson's Life of Archbishop Benson, 1899; A. C. Benson's The Leaves of the Tree, 1901, pp. 21-8; H. Scott Holland's B. F. Westcott, 1910; The Times, 29 July 1901; Guardian, 7 Aug. 1901 (Bishop Westcott as a Diocesan); In Memoriam in Cambridge Review, 17 Oct. 1901; personal knowledge and inquiry.]

V. H. S.

WESTLAND, Sir JAMES (1842–1903), Anglo-Indian financier, eldest of eight children of James Westland, manager of Aberdeen Town and County Bank, Dundee, by his wife Agnes Monro, was born in Dundee on 14 Nov. 1842. The second of his four brothers, William, also had a financial career in India, becoming deputy secretary and treasurer of the Bank of Bengal. James was educated in Aberdeen, at first privately under Dr. Tulloch (1847–53), then at the grammar school