Monday, September 07, 2015

Reading in the Wren Library

2
I spent three wonderfully quiet hours this morning in the Wren Library, under the gaze of Richard Bentley (and other luminaries) checking out some leads for my research on Hort’s relationship with Tregelles.


During his life Tregelles had very cordial relations with Hort and supplied Hort with lots of information and early proof sheets of his NT edition (indeed one reason why Westcott and Hort’s edition was so delayed was their dependence on Tregelles’ edition). After Tregelles’ death in 1875 his wife corresponded with Hort since Hort had agreed to edit Tregelles’ Prolegomena (from his published work). After Mrs Tregelles death in 1882 her sister Augusta Prideaux wrote to Hort saying that both Dr and Mrs Tregelles had expressed their wish that all of Tregelles’ notes and collations should be given to Hort. Anyway, today  I found the letter from Augusta Prideaux to Hort along with Hort’s list of all the items she sent. Some of these I already knew about (and may even have blogged about), but others I didn’t. So with only a couple of exceptions I think we can locate almost all of Tregelles primary working transcriptions and collations (not his general papers and correspondence though).

Along the way it was fascinating to read letters from Lightfoot, Westcott, Mrs Tregelles and others. Two letters struck me. The first was from Mrs Tregelles writing to A.A. Vansittart in 1870 - a Fellow at Trinity College who was helping get the text of the Apocalypse ready for publication after Tregelles’ health had broken down:

S.A.T. to AAV (14 Nov 1870): “Dear Mr. Vansittart, Dr Tregelles wishes me to tell you how very satisfactory to him is your most kind letter received yesterday, and he also requests me to say that he does not believe that you will find anything queried that it will puzzle you to answer. They are merely questions which if he was well enough to use the books in his study, he could get through in a couple of hours. It has not been without some struggles of feeling that he has relinquished the hope of finishing the work himself, but he knows that all that is withheld as well as granted is ordered for him by a wise and loving Heavenly Father. With his kind regards, believe me, yours very truly, S.A. Tregelles.”
[Augustus Arthur Vansittart, by the way, was very interested in the text of the Greek New Testament, and his notes are full of mostly blank note books containing careful transcriptions of NT mss that do not seem to have been finished. He created a fascinating textual presentation of some books (notably Hebrews and 1 Corinthians) with the main text at the top and all the readings of the different manuscripts below (a kind of pre-Swanson type of presentation). But he published practically nothing. Except for his famous and clever Latin translation of Jabberwocky.]

A very similar tone is evident in a letter from Ezra Abbott to Mrs Tregelles after he had heard news of S.P. Tregelles’ death (July 22 1875):
“Rather would we thank God for all that he was to those who knew him best, and for all that he was permitted to do, as a faithful disciple of Christ for the good of his fellowman; and say, in humble resignation and trust, “The Lord gave; the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!”

2 comments :

  1. "It has not been without some struggles of feeling that he has relinquished the hope of finishing the work himself" reminds one of George Caird's NT theology....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pete, Vansittart corresponded with Hort as well, especially about his work on Hebrews. Most of Trinity's copies of the early installments of WH's GNT are his former copies.

    ReplyDelete