GOD'S BESTSELLER: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible—A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal

Brian Moynahan, Author
Brian Moynahan, Author . St. Martin's $27.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-312-31486-6
Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 08/01/2003
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The story of William Tyndale's translation of the Bible is familiar. Caught up in the Reformation's efforts to provide ordinary readers with the Scriptures in the vernacular, Tyndale set out to produce a faithful translation of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Old and New Testament. As journalist Moynahan points out in this exhaustively detailed biography, Tyndale's desire to complete such a translation brought him into conflict with the king and his court, for the fruits of the Reformation had yet to make their way into England. Thus, Tyndale set out on a life of self-imposed exile in Germany and Amsterdam, where he translated and printed his Bible. As his work made its way into England—thanks in large part to Anne Boleyn's advocacy—Sir Thomas More, one of England's most active heretic hunters, attempted in every possible way to have Tyndale tried as a heretic. Moynahan recounts the oft-told story of Tyndale's subterfuge and his remarkable contribution to the history of Bible translation while recreating the political and religious intrigue of early 16th-century England. Moynahan captures well More's hatred of Tyndale, whom he called "a hellhound in the kennel of the devil," as well as Tyndale's burning desire to contribute to God's work through Bible translation, even if it meant death at the stake. As Moynahan points out, Tyndale's translation still exists in the King James Version, since his words account for 84% of its New Testament and 76% of its Old Testament. (Aug.)

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