on 11 August 2002
I purchased this Bible from the British Library as they published it for the 2000 millennium. It was a careful rewrite of the 1526 edition with corrected spellings taken from the 1536 edition. One problem for the modern reader is that there are no verses only chapter headings. It is therefore difficult to match verse by verse with other translations. The spelling is original but well worth reading. One helpful tip; Tyndale was a Gloucestershire man so try reading aloud in a Gloucestershire accent and it really does come alive!
W.R.Cooper who was given the task of reviewing the three remaining original manuscripts has done a remarkable job. On occasions Tyndale reads better than other translations. Take for instance the difficult word propitiation in Romans 3:25. Tyndale calls it 'seat of mercy.' In fact his translation was so good that the King James translators took large parts of Tyndale and transported it direct into their pages. I have compared every text of the Book of Romans against the New King James Version and Tyndale. There are whole sections of text where little if any changes are noticed. He uses words like 'favour' for 'grace' 'valour' for 'forbearance'.
Just to give one comparison with the New King James Version, we read in Romans 3:31
"Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law." NKJV
"Do we then destroye the lawe throw fayth? God forbid. We rather mayntayne the lawe.." (Tyndale original spelling.)
"Do we then destroy the law through faith? God forbid. We rather maintain the law." (Tyndale modern version by review writer.)
Notice the different use of words in this verse as an example where there are changes. Tyndale uses 'destroy' instead of 'void'. 'God forbid' instead of 'Certainly not 'maintain' instead of 'establish'. We also need to bear in mind changes in the meaning of words since 1526.
To sum up. The Christian reader will find much to learn from Tyndale's beautiful translation. On occasion he is to be preferred to other translations. Reading this translation has brought much enjoyment and enrichment when reading the Word of God. I recommend it highly.
on 23 December 2008
In 1526 the English language was undergoing the "great vowel shift" and changing from the language of Chaucer (for whom we need a translation) to Shakespeare. At that time there was almost no English literature (Chaucer was an exception) and the general scholarly opinion was that English was too crude to say important things in. For such things the literate man needed Latin!
There was also great intellectual excitement, with the flames of the new learning being fanned by widespread printed dissemination. In particular, Luther had, in a highly subversive act, translated the newly published Greek and Hebrew originals of the Bible into German, with protection from the Inquisition by his local prince. England was too centralised to allow a similar thing, and besides, the so-called "Constitutions of Oxford" from 1408 were still in force: these made it effectively a capital offence to translate any part of the Bible into English, and were a response to Wyclif and his Lollards who were preaching a pure (and, it was thought, a highly seditious) Gospel from Wyclif's English Bible. But this manuscript (and very expensive) Bible was little more than a transliteration (into very poor English) from the Latin Vulgate text.
William Tyndale was one of the polymaths of the age, fluent in all the European languages, and in Biblical Greek as well, so much so that he could hear the Aramaic underneath the Greek of Matthew. He was also the only man in England to be fluent in Hebrew. And he believed that Everyman (and Everywoman too) should have access to the sacred text, the very words of God. But translation in England was vigorously prohibited, so he effected his translation in Europe, and printed the book underground, managing (just) to keep one step in front of the authorities.
This is the text we have in our hands, smuggled unbound into England and passing from hand to hand like wildfire. And what a text it is: probably the most influential in English, since the 1611 King James New Testament (ubiquitous until fairly recently) is essentially a revision of it. And we still know Tyndale unmediated by King James: when we say "it is for the best" we are directly using Tyndale's text of Romans 8:28, and this is only one of very many places where King James is not an improvement on Tyndale.
Tyndale's New Testament is an important book at many levels. Without Tyndale there would have been no Shakespeare! And (despite the spelling) this book is completely accessible to us: it is the first book in modern English. And what beautiful and stirring and evocative English it is!
on 18 May 2001
This book provides the Tyndale edition in original spelling, which is an excellent resource. We are greatly indebted to the British Library and to the editors for making it available. By having the original spelling, we are able to get a true feel for the English of the period.
on 9 September 2015
The beautiful color photograph of the original 1526 St. John Chapter 1 , is the best page in this Book !
The British Library MUST make a complete New Testament like this , for the 500th Anniversary Edition coming up soon 2026 !
This reproduction photograph is THE CLEAREST & BRIGHTEST St John 1 , of all other facsimiles.
It is excellent when framed & displayed on the wall, to enjoy all the time.
The Preface by David Daniell is the best explanation of the 11 Bible translations from this 1526 to the 1611, & that all were based on this first work by Wm. Tyndale.
The Introduction by W. R. Cooper has a very interesting section on the cost of these new Testaments in the 1500's.
The only thing I want to see in all editions of this precious 1526 , is the Gothic fonts of Black Letter or Old English ; & not boring modern Times New Roman. At least the British Library can be commended highly , for using the old fashioned spellings , & of course for making this edition available at very low cost. The corrections to the text are done & you do not have to figure out: ' with in' / 'within' , etc
on 14 September 2010
This is a lovely little book , the typeface is a bit small but a clear font, so I don't find it too much trouble to read bits. I am OAP so that explains it.
Having said that it is thrilling to hold in my hand the first edition since 1526, it gives a deep sense of history. It is well produced, a quality item with a book mark ribbon. Also a colour page of the original manuscript is included which you do really want to see. It is a scholarly work, but aimed at the general reader, and a delight to have in my house. If you read the words out loud they are inspirational, and as I am West Country, i understand Tyndale's Gloucestershire inflexions. It's amazing. the language springs to life, the language of ordinary people. Most of the King James version comes from this little volume but I think this original is livelier, more true. A real discovery.
I am not a Bible person, just a general reader and I came across this researching the invention of printing. I think Amazon deserve applause for having brought it to a wider audience than its previous outlet (The British Library). I hope there are big plans for it in 2026 when it will be 500 years old!
on 13 April 2007
Great bible version to read aloud. Try it in a mock Scottish accent, it works a treat! Compares well with modern translations (e.g. ESV, NIV, TNIV) and makes a refreshing alternative. Thank God for Tyndale.