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Tyndale Bible

Tyndale Bible

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The Tyndale Bible generally refers to the body of biblical translations
Bible translations
The Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Indeed, the full Bible has been translated into over 450 languages, although sections of the Bible have been translated into over 2,000 languages....

 by William Tyndale
William Tyndale
William Tyndale was an English scholar and translator who became a leading figure in Protestant reformism towards the end of his life. He was influenced by the work of Desiderius Erasmus, who made the Greek New Testament available in Europe, and by Martin Luther...

. Tyndale’s Bible is credited with being the first English translation to work directly from Hebrew and Greek texts. Furthermore it was the first English biblical translation that was mass produced as a result of new advances in the art of printing. The term Tyndale's Bible is not strictly correct, because Tyndale never published a complete Bible. Prior to his execution Tyndale had only finished translating the entire New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 and roughly half of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

. Of the latter, the Pentateuch, Jonah
Book of Jonah
The Book of Jonah is a book in the Hebrew Bible. It tells the story of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah ben Amittai who is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh but tries to escape the divine mission...

 and a revised version of the book of Genesis were published during his lifetime. His other Old Testament works were first used in the creation of the Matthew Bible
Matthew Bible
The Matthew Bible, also known as Matthew's Version, was first published in 1537 by John Rogers, under the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew". It combined the New Testament of William Tyndale, and as much of the Old Testament as he had been able to translate before being captured and put to death...

 and also heavily influenced every major English translation of the Bible that followed.

History


The chain of events that led to the creation of Tyndale’s New Testament started in 1522. It was in this year that Tyndale illegally acquired a copy of Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

’s German New Testament. Tyndale was inspired by Luther’s work and immediately set out to imitate Luther’s work but in English. He made his purpose known to the Bishop of London at the time Cuthbert Tunstall
Cuthbert Tunstall
Cuthbert Tunstall was an English Scholastic, church leader, diplomat, administrator and royal adviser...

. Hewing to his Catholic faith, for which he would later be imprisoned, Bishop Tunstall refused Tyndale permission to write this heretical text. After this rejection Tyndale moved to the continent and ended up in Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 where he completed his New Testament in 1524. During this time period Tyndale frequented Wittenberg where he consulted with Martin Luther and his associate Melanchthon. The first version of Tyndale’s New Testament was put into print in 1525 in Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 however the process was not finished. From there Tyndale moved the publishing process to Worms
Worms, Germany
Worms is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River. At the end of 2004, it had 85,829 inhabitants.Established by the Celts, who called it Borbetomagus, Worms today remains embattled with the cities Trier and Cologne over the title of "Oldest City in Germany." Worms is the only...

 where the first recorded complete edition of his New Testament was published in 1526. Two revised versions were latter published in 1534 and 1536, both personally revised by Tyndale himself. After his death in 1536 Tyndale’s works have been revised and reprinted numerous times. Furthermore much of his work can be seen in other, more modern versions of the Bible, including, perhaps most famously, the King James Bible.

Tyndale's Pentateuch was published at Antwerp by Merten de Keyser
Merten de Keyser
Merten de Keyser was a 16th-century French printer and publisher working mainly in Antwerp, who printed the first complete French and the first complete English Bible translations as well as a number of works by English Protestant authors.- Life :Not much is known about his life...

 in 1530. His English version of the book of Jonah was published the following year. This was followed by his revised version of the book of Genesis in 1534. Tyndale translated many other Old Testament books including Joshua, Judges, first and second Samuel, first and second Kings and first and second Chronicles. Unfortunately these unpublished works haven’t survived to today in their original forms. When Tyndale was martyred these works came to be in the possession of one his associates John Rodgers. These translations would be influential in the creation of the Matthew Bible
Matthew Bible
The Matthew Bible, also known as Matthew's Version, was first published in 1537 by John Rogers, under the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew". It combined the New Testament of William Tyndale, and as much of the Old Testament as he had been able to translate before being captured and put to death...

 which was published in 1537.

Tyndale used a number of sources when carrying out his translations of both the New and Old Testaments. When translating the New Testament, he referred to the third edition (1522) of Erasmus’s Greek New Testament, often referred to as the Received Text. Tyndale also used Erasmus' Latin New Testament, as well as Luther’s German version and the Vulgate
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

. Scholars believe that Tyndale stayed away from using Wycliffe's Bible as a source because he didn’t want his English to reflect that which was used prior to the Renaissance. The sources Tyndale used for his translation of the Pentateuch however are not known for sure. Scholars believe that Tyndale used either the Hebrew Pentateuch or the Polyglot Bible, and may have referred to the Septuagint. It is suspected that his other Old Testament works were translated directly from a copy of the Hebrew Bible. He also made abundant use of Greek and Hebrew grammars.

Reaction of the Catholic Church


Tyndale’s translations were condemned by both church and state in England, where it must be said it took longer for the reform movement to take hold. Tyndale was forced to flee England for the continent where he found safe haven in pro-reform areas. The church and state reacted strongly against Tyndale’s work, banning his New Testament of 1526 from England. In addition any copy of his work found in England was to be burned. Many Catholic scholars attacked Tyndale and his translations, the foremost of whom was Saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

 Thomas More
Thomas More
Sir Thomas More , also known by Catholics as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist. He was an important councillor to Henry VIII of England and, for three years toward the end of his life, Lord Chancellor...

. More and the Catholic Church refuted Tyndale’s translations because they argued that Tyndale had purposefully mistranslated the texts in order to promote anti-clericalism
Anti-clericalism
Anti-clericalism is a historical movement that opposes religious institutional power and influence, real or alleged, in all aspects of public and political life, and the involvement of religion in the everyday life of the citizen...

 and heretical
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 views. More specifically attacked Tyndale on the grounds that he had corrupted scripture by changing certain words and thus the meaning of scripture. More focused on four key words that Tyndale had changed in his translation. The terms, as appearing in the Catholic texts, were “church”, “priest”, “do penance” and “charity”. These words became “congregation”, “senior” (changed to elder in the revised edition of 1534), “repent” and “love” in Tyndale translation. More and the Church took great offense to these changes because they challenged many of the systems and doctrines that made up the foundation of the Catholic Church during this period of time. In 1536 the crown authorities strangled Tyndale to death and subsequently burned his body.

Challenges to Catholic Doctrine


The Catholic Church had long proclaimed that the church was an institution. The word church to them had come to represent the organizational structure that was the Catholic Church. Tyndale’s translation was seen as a challenge to this doctrine because he was seen to have favored the views of reformers like Martin Luther who proclaimed that the church was made up and defined by the believers, or in other words their congregations. Some radical reformers preached that the true church was the “invisible” church, that the church is wherever true Christians meet together to preach the word of God. To these reformers the structure of the Catholic Church was unnecessary and its very existence proved that it was in fact not the “true” Church. When Tyndale decided that the Greek word εκκλησία (ekklesia) is more accurately translated congregation he was undermining the entire structure of the Catholic Church. Many of the reform movements believed in the authority of scripture alone. To them it dictated how the church should be organized and administered. By changing the translation from church to congregation Tyndale was providing ammunition for the beliefs of the reformers. Their belief that the church was not a visible systematized institution but a body defined by the believers themselves was now to be found directly in the Holy Scripture. Furthermore Tyndale’s use of the word congregation attacked the Catholic Church’s doctrine that the lay members and the clergy were to be separate. If the true church is defined as a congregation, as the common believers, then the Catholic Church’s claim that the clergy were of a higher order than the average Christian and that they had different roles to play in the religious process no longer held sway.

Tyndale’s translation of the Greek word πρεσβύτερος (presbuteros) to mean elder instead of priest also challenged the doctrines of the Catholic Church. In particular, it asked what the role of the clergy should be and whether or not they were to be separated from the common believers as they were in the current Catholic system. The role of the priest in the Catholic Church had been to lead religious sermons and ceremonies like mass, to read the scripture to the people, and to administer the sacraments. They were considered separate from the common believers. In many reform movements a group of elders would lead the church and take the place of the Catholic priests. These elders were not a separate class from the common believers; in fact, they were usually selected from amongst them. Many reformers believed in the idea of the “priesthood of all believers,” which meant that every Christian was in fact a priest and had the right to read and interpret scripture. Tyndale’s translation stripped away the scriptural basis of Catholic clerical power. Priests no longer administered the church: it was the job of the elders, which implied that the power rested in the hands of the people.

Catholic doctrine was also challenged by Tyndale’s translation of the Greek μετανοείτε (metanoeite) as repent instead of do penance. This translation attacked the Catholic sacrament of penance
Penance
Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. It also plays a part in non-sacramental confession among Lutherans and other Protestants...

. Tyndale’s version of scripture backed up the views of reformers like Luther who had taken issue with the Catholic practice of sacramental penance. Reformers believed that it was through faith alone that one was saved. This differed from the views of the Catholic Church, which followed the belief that salvation was granted to those who lived accordingly to what the church told them and thus participated in the seven sacraments. Tyndale’s translation challenged the belief that one had to do penance for one’s sins. According to Tyndale’s New Testament and other reformers, all the believer had to do was repent with a sincere heart, and God would forgive them. The believer did not have to earn their salvation; it was given freely to them by God. All they had to do was believe in his promise and live accordingly.

The Tyndale Bible also challenged the Catholic Church in many other ways. The fact that it was translated into a vernacular language made it available to the common people. This allowed everyone access to scripture and gave the common people the ability to read (if they were literate) and interpret scripture how they wished, exposing it to the threat of being "twisted to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures" (2 Peter 3.16) instead of relying on the church for their access to scripture. The main threat that Tyndale’s Bible caused to the Catholic Church is best summed up by Tyndale himself when he tells us of his reason for creating his translation in the first place. Tyndale’s purpose was to “[cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more scripture] than the clergy of the day”, many of which were poorly educated. Thus Tyndale sought to undermine the Catholic Church’s grip on the both access to and interpretation of scripture. They were no longer needed as intercessors between the people and God.

Legacy


The legacy of Tyndale’s Bible cannot be overstated. His translations laid the foundations for many of the English Bibles which followed his. His work made up a significant portion of the Matthew Bible which was the first authorized version of the English Bible. The Tyndale Bible also played a key role in spreading reformation ideas to England which had been reluctant to embrace the movement. His works also allowed the people of England direct access to the words and ideas of Martin Luther whose works had been banned by the state. Tyndale achieved this by including many of Luther’s commentaries in his works. The Tyndale Bible’s greatest impact on society today is that it heavily influenced and contributed to the creation of the King James Version, which is one of the most popular and widely used Bibles in the world today. Scholars tell us that around 90% of the King James Version is from Tyndale’s works with as much as one third of the text being word for word Tyndale. Many of the popular phrases and Bible verses that people quote today are mainly in the language of Tyndale. An example of which is Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers.” The importance of the Tyndale Bible in shaping and influencing the English language is paramount. According to one scholar Tyndale is “the man who more than Shakespeare even or Bunyan has moulded and enriched our language.”

Tyndale used thou
Thou
The word thou is a second person singular pronoun in English. It is now largely archaic, having been replaced in almost all contexts by you. It is used in parts of Northern England and by Scots. Thou is the nominative form; the oblique/objective form is thee , and the possessive is thy or thine...

and never you
You
You is the second-personpersonal pronoun, both singular and plural, and both nominative and objective case, in Modern English. The oblique/objective form you functioned originally as both accusative and dative)...

as the singular second-person pronoun in his work (usage that was later reflected in the very influential King James Version), which had the double effect of rescuing thou from complete obscurity and also imbuing it with an air of religious solemnity that is antithetical to its former sense of familiarity or disrespect.

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