Monday, October 7, 2013

William Tyndale, presbyter, translator, martyr: 6 October

William Tyndale (1494-6 Oct 1536)

            Tyndale was born in Gloucestershire, and went on to College at Magdalen College School, Oxford.  He received a B.A. and later a Mastter of Arts and was made sub-deacon.  Eventually he was made decaond an then Presbyter.  He complained that his studies did not include a systematic study of scripture.  He was fluent in seven languages besides English and went to Cambridge.  He then served as chaplain and tutor at Little Sodbury where he ran afoul of the local church authority, which called him in, but did not charge him.  Basically, they told him that the Pope’s ruling were more important to the Bible.  Tyndale’s response was that he would make the ploughboys more learned in scripture than the scholars (by rendering them to the English Language).

In 1523 he left for London to seek permission to translate the scriptures into the English language.  He first went to Bishop Tunstall who had studied the Greek New Testament with Erasthmus, but the learned Bishop said he had no room for him.  With the help of cloth merchant Henry Monmouth, Tyndale studied and preached in London.  
Tyndale left England in 1524 and began his translation of the New Testament directly from the Greek, and travelled to Wittenberg.  He also used this time to study Hebrew.  He began publishing in 1525, but was delayed until 1526, and was published in Worms, a free imperial city.  Soon the New Testament was published in Antwerp and smuggled into England and Scotland, and was condemned in October of 1526, and ordered to be burned.  Tyndale was condemned as a heretic.  By 1529 we find him working on the Old Testament, possibly in Hamburg.  Tyndale challenged Henry VIII’s divorce, because it was not scriptural, and raised the ire of the King who tried unsuccessfully to extradite him from the Holy Roman Empire.   Betrayed by a friend to the imperial authorities, he was captured in 1535 in Antwerp, tried for heresy, condemned to death, strangled while tied to the stake and burned.  His last words were, "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes."  Miles Coverdale (20 Jan) went on to finish the translation of the Old Testament and Apocrypha.  

Tyndale was inspired by Wycliffe (whose translation was based on the vulgate) and by the ready availability of the Greek New testament,) and the availability of scholars who spoke Greek and Hebrew.  It is said that about 83% of  the King James New Testament was from Tyndale and about 76% of the Old Testament.  Tyndale was also more successful than Wycliffe because of the instruction of the printing press. 
 His version also influenced the Geneva Bible.  Prior to Tyndale’s time, little scholarship was available in Greek.  The sack of Constantinople changed that as Greeks flooded into Europe.   

Tyndale version was often based on using Greek and Hebrew syntax and idoms, and thus a “fresher” translation which influenced the English language directly and through the King James Version.

Ironically, King Henry VIII authorized the publication of 4 Bibles in English, all of which were dependent on Wycliffe’s work.

:  Father, you gave to your servant William Tyndale the gifts of knowledge and wisdom to translate the scriptures into the English language.  Grant that we would share his passion to share the scriptures with all the world, that they may be made aware that Yeshuah is the way, the light and the truth, and we pray in the blessed name of Yeshuah, Amen.  (red)

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