"William Tyndale" by David Daniell

William Tyndale A Biography David Daniell

Publication date:
08 Feb 2001
Yale University Press
440 pages: 197 x 127mm
19 b-w illus.


The dramatic life of William Tyndale, the first person to translate the Bible into English from the original Greek and Hebrew

"A massive contribution to the history of the Reformation in England."—J. Enoch Powell, Times Higher Education Supplement

William Tyndale (1494-1536) was the first person to translate the Bible into English from its original Greek and Hebrew and the first to print the Bible in English, which he did in exile. Giving the laity access to the word of God outraged the clerical establishment in England: he was condemned, hunted, and eventually murdered. However, his masterly translation formed the basis of all English bibles--including the "King James Bible," many of whose finest passages were taken unchanged, though unacknowledged, from Tyndale's work.

This important book, published in the quincentenary year of his birth, is the first major biography of Tyndale in sixty years. It sets the story of his life in the intellectual and literary contexts of his immense achievement and explores his influence on the theology, literature, and humanism of Renaissance and Reformation Europe.

David Daniell, editor of Tyndale's New Testament and Tyndale's Old Testament, eloquently describes the dramatic turns in Tyndale's life. Born in England and educated at Oxford, Tyndale was ordained as a priest. When he decided to translate the Bible into English, he realized that it was impossible to do that work in England and moved to Germany, living in exile there and in the Low Countries while he translated and printed first the New Testament and then half of the Old Testament. These were widely circulated—and denounced—in England. Yet Tyndale continued to write from abroad, publishing polemics in defense of the principles of the English reformation. He was seized in Antwerp, imprisoned in Vilvoorde Castle near Brussels, and burnt at the stake for heresy in 1536.

Daniell discusses Tyndale's achievement as biblical translator and expositor, analyzes his writing, examines his stylistic influence on writers from Shakespeare to those of the twentieth century, and explores the reasons why he has not been more highly regarded. His book brings to life one of the great geniuses of the age.

 Read more about David Daniell, Shakespeare scholar and biographer.

"Daniell has given us the first substantial book on Tyndale in over fifty years."—Patrick Collinson, Times Literary Supplement

"A massive contribution to the history of the Reformation in England. It is novel and important in its focus upon the language of the English scriptures in the formative period and in its long-range perspective."—J. Enoch Powell, Times Higher Education Supplement

"An important work for all those interested in the history of Biblical translation."—International Review of Biblical Studies

"If you read one biography in the next six months, read this one. It stresses not so much the individual as his times and the impact he had upon them and yet never lessens its grip upon the reader. In the end one comes to admire Daniell as well as Tyndale."—Chronique

"Daniell's work is no mere biography; rather, it is a masterly edition of the scant details of Tyndale's life and an important critique of his numerous literary achievements. Enriched by appendices, chapter notes, an excellent bibliography, and a number of black-and-white illustrations, the book should occupy a very special place on the scholar's bookshelf for many years to come."—Larry W. Usilton, History

"A valuable contribution to a forgotten episode of English radicalism."—New Statesman & Society

"This book should be read by every student of the biblical text and every would-be translator."—Reverend Dr. Kenneth B. Wilson, Principal, Westminster College, Methodist Recorder

"At the end of the book, it seems like a good idea to pick up one of Professor Daniell's modern-spelling editions of Tyndale's Scripture and savor Tyndale's marvelous language neat."—Marc M. Arkin, Wall Street Journal - Europe

"This is a splendid life, to be read and to be enjoyed."—Manuela Cardosa, The Expository Times

"Daniell demonstrates extraordinary patience in gathering evidence, good judgment in weighing evidence, and writes with clarity and wit. His book is a fundamental contribution to our knowledge of the Tudor period and a model for other biographers. I can think of no better introduction to the life and work of one of humanity's heroes and benefactors than this book."—Warren Hope, The Elizabethan Review

"A gutsy, pioneering book; 'definitive' would not be an overstatement. . . . Sensitive and thorough, enthusiastic and readable—a spur as well as a foundation for many kinds of scholarship. Professor Daniell merits our congratulations and our gratitude."—Anne Richardson, Moreana

"An excellent study which is both readable and scholarly—a fitting tribute to the scholar whom it honours."—Rudolph Heinze, Theology

"A fitting tribute to a remarkable Englishman 500 years on!"—Peter Newman Brooks, Journal of Theological Studies

"A superb book about this important and neglected figure. . . . What gives the book its special power is the passion with which Daniell writes about Tyndale the man and his cause. . . . Reformation scholars will welcome this book and learn from it, as will those interested in translation and the English language."—Stephanie Martin, Snell Library, Northeastern University