- Tyndale, William
- (c. 1494-1536)English Reformation scholar and Bible translatorWilliam Tyndale was born in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, probably in 1494. He won a B.A. in 1512 from Magdalen Hall (now part of Hertford College) at oxford University and his M.A. three years later. He appears to have been ordained a Roman Catholic priest around 1521. Fluent in several languages including Greek and Latin, Tyn-dale was also quite conversant with the Bible. As the Reformation on the Continent proceeded, he followed it closely and came to agree with its major ideas.Tyndale decided to translate the Bible into English and make it available to everyone. To that end, he left England for Germany and in Hamburg spent time with some prominent Jews, mastering Hebrew. His English New Testament was published in 1525-26, much to the ire of King Henry VIII, at the time still a staunch Catholic in belief and practice. Copies of Tyndale's New Testament were smuggled into England, his work being the first English Bible translated from the original Greek.Tyndale went into hiding, but continued his translation work, the next goal being the Pentateuch. From 1527 through the mid-1530s, he was assisted by another British exile, Miles Coverdale. The Pentateuch appeared in 1530, followed by the book of Jonah the following year. Also appearing in 1530 was The Practice of Prelates, a volume that criticized Henry VlII's divorce. Henry asked the Holy Roman Emperor to have Tyndale arrested and sent back to England.In 1534, as Henry separated from the Catholic Church, Tyndale came out of hiding and settled in Antwerp, Belgium. He continued his translating and also began to preach in what was still largely Catholic territory. Eventually, his location was discovered by a British spy, and he was arrested and confined in a castle near Brussels. Tried for heresy/treason (the two charges being at times indistinguishable), he was condemned and on October 6, 1536, executed by strangulation before his body was burned at the stake. Coverdale carried on a Tyndale's work and brought out a complete English Bible in 1538.See also Bible translations.Further reading:■ David Daniell, William Tyndale: A Biography (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994)■ A. G. Dickens, The English Reformation, 2nd ed. (University Park: Pennsylvania state University Press, 1992)■ Donald Dean smeeton, Lollard Themes In the Reformation Theology of William Tyndale (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Brothers, 1986, vol. VI, Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies)■ Tyndale's New Testament. William Tyndale's 1534 translation, in modern spelling, ed. by David Daniell (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1989)■ Tyndale's Old Testament. William Tyndale's 1531 Translation of Genesis to 2 Kings, in Modern Spelling, ed. by David Daniell (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.