on 30 August 2001
A paperback edition of a 1994 publication to mark the quincentenary of Tyndale's birth and the first major study since Mozley's biography in 1937. With a useful summary of the state of Hebrew knowledge at the beginning of the 16th century in England ('virtually unknown') and the rest of Europe ('gathering pace'), Daniell affirms Tyndale as a remarkable Hebrew scholar, who mastered Greek and six other languages, distinguished himself a theologian, and in translating the Bible not only laid the foundations for the KJV but also demonstrated his capacity to write good English.
Attention to his non-biblical books is covered alongside OT, NT and Matthew's Bible and Daniell's scholarly but popular style tells a fascinating story of his sufferings and the ecclesiastical polemics of his day with intrigue and heresy, charge and counter charge.
The Introduction refers to the purchase of his Worms 1526 NT by the British Library for a million pounds as 'the only complete survivor of Tyndale's original print-run', the only other extant copy already in the BL being incomplete, but fails to note the discovery of a third copy in 1996 in the Wuerttemberg State Library, claimed to be 'the only really complete copy' because it has the title page which is absent in the other two.
on 1 January 1999
St Thomas More is a man who is still remembered today and is the subject of plays and films. William Tyndale was his opponent. It was Tyndales ambition to translate the bible into English. To do this he learnt Greek and Hebrew. It is said that as he left England he told a cleric that if god spared him to do his work " even a boy driving the plough shall know as much scripture as you." Tyndale did not complete his work but his new testament and his first five books of the old testament formed the basis of the King James Bible. His translation contains phrases of sublime beauty which have become part of the language. (For example "the sale of the earth" and "there were Shepherds abiding in the fields".)
Tyndales achievement in making a bible available in English has been of enormous importance in the history of England and America. The family bible was a proud possession of families, it was a tool by which children could be taught to read and write. On Sundays families could read it to sustain their faith and to learn.
At the time Tydale undertook his project it was illegal in England to have a vernacular copy of the bible. He had to travel to Europe to undertake his work. Tyndale was in life a kind man who never advocated violence and was regarded as of high character even by his enemies.
He has in modern times been largely forgotten. Ironically his enemy Thomas More is nowadays remembered rather than Tyndale. The book by Daniell illustrates why this is ironic. More was in reality a much less sympathetic character. He was involved in the suppression of the bible, the arrest and punishment of heretics and strongly advocated execution of his religious opponents.
on 19 February 2015
This is a well written and compellingly told story of one of the nation's great minds. What William Tyndale achieved in translating a key text, the Bible into English from Greek and Hebrew, was nothing short of remarkable. Ever since translators have struggled to improve on the many turns of phrase that Tyndale wrote in his translation of the New Testament. Daniell sets out Tyndale's life story, and illustrates his enormous achievement in translation work. Not only did Tyndale lack pretty well all of the tools now considered essential for such a task, and was largely self taught, but he was also gifted with a truly magnificent understanding on the potential for his own language at a seminal time in its development. All this under the pressure of being rejected by his government and having to live "underground" as an exile in Europe. If you want to understand more about this truly remarkable man, one can do no better than to turn to Daniell's biography. He is the expert.
on 5 December 1998
I purchased this book primarily because I knew so little of the key translator of our modern bible. Although the author seems to be a little biased against Thomas More, I found it a very informative read. This book assists the reader in truly understanding the timeless literary abilities of William Tyndale, along with the truly great sacrifices he made. I expected a somewhat stale book, but was truly surprised at how well it flowed.