William Tyndale: A Biography

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Yale University Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 429 pages
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William Tyndale (1494-1536) was the first person to translate the Bible into English from its original Greek and Hebrew and the first to print the Bible in English, which he did in exile. Giving the laity access to the word of God outraged the clerical establishment in England: he was condemned, hunted, and eventually murdered. However, his masterly translation formed the basis of all English bibles--including the "King James Bible," many of whose finest passages were taken unchanged, though unacknowledged, from Tyndale's work.

This important book, published in the quincentenary year of his birth, is the first major biography of Tyndale in sixty years. It sets the story of his life in the intellectual and literary contexts of his immense achievement and explores his influence on the theology, literature, and humanism of Renaissance and Reformation Europe.

David Daniell, editor of Tyndale's New Testament and Tyndale's Old Testament, eloquently describes the dramatic turns in Tyndale's life. Born in England and educated at Oxford, Tyndale was ordained as a priest. When he decided to translate the Bible into English, he realized that it was impossible to do that work in England and moved to Germany, living in exile there and in the Low Countries while he translated and printed first the New Testament and then half of the Old Testament. These were widely circulated--and denounced--in England. Yet Tyndale continued to write from abroad, publishing polemics in defense of the principles of the English reformation. He was seized in Antwerp, imprisoned in Vilvoorde Castle near Brussels, and burnt at the stake for heresy in 1536.

Daniell discusses Tyndale's achievement as biblical translator and expositor, analyzes his writing, examines his stylistic influence on writers from Shakespeare to those of the twentieth century, and explores the reasons why he has not been more highly regarded. His book brings to life one of the great geniuses of the age.
 

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William Tyndale: a biography

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This biography of the first translator to render the Hebrew and Greek biblical texts directly into English is twice timely: the last definitive biography is over 50 years old, and 1994 is the ... Read full review

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I very much enjoy the academic treatment of Tyndale's work. As one of his direct descendants, it is more than a simple biography to me, anyway. But also being enamored of the language itself, to gain a deeper understanding of how I (and most of us) still use his favored wording to this very day is really very moving.
It is unfortunate that that the history taught in most schools ignores a lifework that had such profound effects on the world we know. Because, even if one does not share his religion or specific views on religion, it was his very work that caused a great deal of what today forms the culture in the U.S. Without Tyndale's biblical translations, the religious dissidents in the U.K. would never have had any chance of growing in numbers or influence to such a degree that they would have been banished or fled to this country at all. And consequently, much of what formed the basis for law and civil rights in this country would not have existed.
Any way you may see him, Tyndale was an extraordinary person and an amazing catalyst for social change, as well as a linguistic and religious scholar. Here is a man who can make us think hard and long about our own choices and commitment to our chosen works in life, and even inspire us all over again in our own challenges.
 

Contents

Introduction
1
THE MAKING OF THE TRANSLATOR
7
Gloucestershire
9
Tyndales Oxford
22
Cambridge and Gloucestershire Again
49
GREEK INTO ENGLISH
81
To London
83
Cologne 1525
108
HEBREW AND THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS
281
Tyndales Pentateuch
283
The 1534 New Testament
316
Matthews Bible
333
MARTYR
359
Enter Henry Phillips
361
Trial and Execution
374
The Scheme of The Parable of the Wicked Mammon 1528
385

Worms 1526
134
PERSECUTION AND POLEMICS
153
The Wicked Mammon
155
Tyndale and English Politics
174
The Obedience of a Christian Man
223
Sir Thomas More
250
The Structure of The Obedience of a Christian Man
387
One Sentence from Isocrates Panegyrica
391
Notes
392
Bibliography
410
Index
420
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

David Daniell is Professor of English in the University of London. He is the editor of Tyndale's New Testament and Tyndale's Old Testament.

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