English Bible of William Tyndale

Tyndale dedicated his life to translating the Bible into vernacular for the English. His is the first English translation taken directly from Hebrew and Greek texts and the first to be mass produced. It has, evidently, influenced all other English translations since, including that of the King James version.

January 1, 1525 — November 30, 1529

William Tyndale wanted the King of England to understand how important it was for the poor and uneducated people to be able to read the Bible in their own language. However, authorities prevented him from doing any translation in England so he found refuge in Germany. Inspired by Martin Luther, who had done the German translation of the New Testament and Pentateuch, Germany seemed a logical place for Tyndale to carry out his work. In fact some scholars suggest that, because Tyndale translated the same books in a short period of time his vocabulary and style was likely influenced by Luther’s German (McGrath 2001:70).

Tyndale used the original languages of Greek and Hebrew and printed his work on Guttenberg’s press. Consequently he was called “the father of the English Bible” (Connolly 1996:140). Eventually the printed copies of Tyndale’s Bible had to be smuggled back into England because the church hierarchy prohibited the translation of the Bible into English. Because of his persistence in printing and shipping English Bibles into England, Tyndale was eventually tracked down and burned to death in 1536 by orders of the Bishop of London. —Wycliffe.net

Lord, open the King of England’s eyes“, cries Tyndale as he is strangled and burned at the stake. [Image: Woodcut from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (1563) – Wikimedia Commons]

References

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