Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tyndale, William
TYNDALE, WILLIAM (d. 1536), translator of the Bible, was born ‘on the borders of Wales,’ probably between 1490 and 1495. Tyndale's parentage is uncertain, but John Stokesley, bishop of London [q. v.], in a letter to Cromwell dated 26 Jan. 1532–3, states that he was the brother of Edward Tyndale, who, on 18 July 1519, was appointed general receiver of the lands in Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Warwickshire of Maurice, lord Berkeley (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, iii. No. 405, vi. No. 82). Edward Tyndale had estates at Pull Court as well as the manor of Hurst in Slimbridge, and was closely connected with the Tyndale family of Stinchcombe in Gloucestershire. William Tyndale was known by the alias of William Huchyns. All the groups of the Tyndale family in Gloucestershire were accustomed to use both surnames, and had a tradition that they first adopted that of Huchyns to escape observation on emigrating from the north in the time of the wars of York and Lancaster. William and Edward Tyndale were probably younger brothers of Richard Tyndale of Melksham Court. Foxe also mentions another of William's brothers, John Tyndale, a merchant. A different William Tyndale of North Nibley, formerly identified with the translator, was alive in 1542.
Tyndale commenced to study at Oxford at the beginning of Easter term 1510 under the name of William Hychyns. According to Foxe, he was entered at Magdalen Hall. He supplicated for admission as B.A. on 13 May 1512, and was admitted on 4 July. In February 1512–13 he acted as a determiner; he was licensed for the degree of M.A. on 26 June 1515, and was created M.A. on 2 July (Register of the University of Oxford, Oxford Hist. Soc., i. 80, 121). Foxe relates that, besides improving himself ‘in knowledge of tongues and other liberal arts,’ he devoted especial attention to theology, and ‘read privily to certain students and fellows of Magdalen College some parcel of divinity, instructing them in the knowledge and truth of the scriptures.’ From Oxford Tyndale, shortly after obtaining his master's degree, removed to Cambridge, remaining there probably till the close of 1521. Both universities at the time of Tyndale's sojourn were strongly influenced by the spirit of the new learning. At Oxford John Colet [q. v.], in his lectures on the New Testament between 1497 and 1505, broke boldly with scholastic traditions and revolutionised the method of scriptural study. Cambridge enjoyed the benefit of the teachings of Erasmus, who was admitted Lady Margaret professor of divinity in 1511, and remained in England till the autumn of 1513. It is likely that the high reputation for theology and Greek that Cambridge had acquired under him attracted Tyndale thither.
Before the commencement of 1522 Tyndale, who by this time had probably taken priest's orders, accepted the post of tutor to the children of Sir John Walsh, lord of the manor of Old Sodbury in Gloucestershire. Walsh's wife, Anne, was the daughter of Sir Robert Poyntz of Iron-Acton in Gloucestershire, and sister of Sir Francis Poyntz [q. v.] As the eldest of Sir John Walsh's sons was barely five years old, Tyndale had ample leisure, and employed it preaching in the surrounding villages and at Bristol to the crowds that assembled on College Green. He found the Gloucestershire clergy less advanced in their opinions than the scholars of the universities, and was constantly involved in strenuous theological discussions. In support of his views he translated the ‘Enchiridion Militis Christiani’ of Erasmus, perhaps from the edition of 1518, which was prefaced by a vigorous diatribe against the vices of ecclesiastics. The manuscript was probably never printed. An English translation, published by Wynkyn de Worde in 1533, has been without probability identified with Tyndale's lost work. Startled by his opinions, and annoyed by the countenance he received from Sir John Walsh, the clergy, in the absence of the bishop, Julio de' Medici (afterwards Clement VII), accused him to William of Malvern [q. v.], the chancellor of the see. Malvern summoned him before him and rated him soundly for his proceedings, but, being satisfied as to his orthodoxy, allowed him to depart ‘neither branded as a heretic, nor trammelled by any oath of abjuration.’ The persecution which he encountered from the clergy strengthened Tyndale in the belief that the church was in a state of serious decline, and he resolved to provide an antidote by translating the New Testament into the vernacular. He openly expressed his determination to one of his opponents in the emphatic words, ‘If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scripture than thou doest.’
Tyndale's increasing sympathy with the reformers rendered Gloucestershire no longer a secure haven, and he resolved to remove to London, where he hoped for assistance from the distinguished scholar Cuthbert Tunstall [q. v.], who had been installed bishop on 22 Oct. 1522. He arrived in London about July or August 1523, with a letter of introduction from Walsh to Sir Henry Guildford [q. v.], master of the horse, and he solicited in person the patronage of Tunstall. Tunstall was a courtly scholar with little sympathy for reform, and declined to give Tyndale any help. Disappointed in this hope, he obtained employment as preacher at St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, where his discourses found favour with one of his auditors, Humphrey Monmouth (d. 1537), a cloth merchant and citizen of London, who was afterwards knighted and served as sheriff in 1535. Monmouth took him to his house for half a year and paid him 10l. sterling to pray for his ‘father and mother their souls, and all Christian souls’ (‘Petition of Humphrey Monmouth to Wolsey’ in Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, iv. No. 4282). During his residence in London Tyndale first came under the influence of Luther's opinions, and also formed a firm friendship with John Frith [q. v.], who was burned as a protestant in 1533. He, however, found it impossible to accomplish his translation of the New Testament in England, and in May 1524 set sail for Hamburg, leaving most of his books with Monmouth. From Hamburg he went to Wittenberg to visit Luther, and probably remained there till April 1525, when he returned to Hamburg to receive a remittance from England. During this period he was busily engaged in his task of translation, employing William Roy (fl. 1527) [q. v.] as his amanuensis. From Hamburg Tyndale and Roy proceeded to Cologne, where they made arrangements with Quental and Byrckmann for printing the translation. The work had proceeded as far as the sheet bearing the signature K when it was discovered, soon after the beginning of September, by the catholic controversialist John Cochlæus, dean of the church of the Blessed Virgin at Frankfurt, for whom the same firm were bringing out an edition of the works of Rupert, a former abbot of Deutz. Cochlæus obtained an injunction from the senate of Cologne interdicting the printers from proceeding with the work, and wrote to Henry VIII and Wolsey, warning them to keep a strict watch for the work at the English seaports. Tyndale and Roy made their escape with the printed sheets to Worms, where they probably arrived in October, and made arrangements with the printer Schoeffer for issuing the translation in a different form. Copies were smuggled over into England, and in 1526 they attracted the attention of the clergy (Ellis, Original Letters, ii. 74, 77). In spite of a plea for toleration from Wolsey, a conclave of bishops resolved that the book should be burned, and Tunstall, after denouncing it from St. Paul's Cross on 24 Oct., issued an injunction directing all who possessed copies to give them up under pain of excommunication. A similar mandate was issued on 3 Nov. by William Warham [q. v.], archbishop of Canterbury, who himself also bought up copies of Tyndale's translation on the continent in order to destroy them (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, iv. No. 2607; Ellis, Original Letters, 3rd ser. ii. 86). About the close of 1526 it became known that Tyndale was concerned in the translation. Early in 1528, on the arrest of Thomas Garrett at Oxford, the agency for distributing the testaments was discovered; and Wolsey, uneasy at the large sale of the book and stung by Roy's satire, ‘Rede me and be nott wrothe,’ which he attributed to Tyndale, took measures for seizing the translator at Worms. Tyndale, however, had warning, and took refuge at Marburg, where he enjoyed the protection of Philip the Magnanimous, landgrave of Hesse, and the friendship of Hermann Buschius, professor of poetry and eloquence at the university. At Marburg he probably met Patrick Hamilton [q. v.], the Scottish proto-martyr, and later he was joined there by John Frith. Hitherto Tyndale had preserved his belief in transubstantiation, but between 1528 and 1530, through the persuasions of Robert Barnes [q. v.], he adopted the views of Zuinglius, the most advanced of the reformers. Rejecting not merely Luther's doctrine of consubstantiation but even Calvin's theory of a spiritual presence in the sacrament, he regarded the celebration of the Lord's supper simply as a commemorative service.
On 8 May 1528 appeared Tyndale's ‘Parable of the Wicked Mammon,’ printed at Marburg by Hans Luft in octavo, of which a copy is preserved in the British Museum. The quarto copy in the same library, bearing the same date, was in reality printed in London about 1550. Another edition was printed ‘for James Nycolson, Southwark,’ in 1536. It was more than once reprinted in London in the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth. An edition was issued in 1842 (London, 8vo). The work is an exposition of the parable of the unjust steward, treats chiefly of the doctrine of justification by faith, and contains also passages on property strongly controverting the idea of a right of absolute ownership apart from social obligations. These opinions did not prevent Sir Thomas More from styling it ‘a very treasury and well-spring of wickedness.’ On 2 Oct. 1528 was issued Tyndale's most important original work, ‘The Obediẽce of a Christen man, and how Christẽ rulers ought to governe,’ printed in octavo by Hans Luft of Marburg. A second edition appeared in 1535 in octavo, dated Marburg, but more probably printed in London. Other undated black-letter editions were issued in London between 1540 and 1550, besides one printed by William Copland in 1561 (London, 8vo). The book was edited by Richard Lovett in 1888 for the ‘Christian Classics Series.’ The work is a defence of the reformers against charges of encouraging disobedience to the civil power. It lays down the duty of absolute submission to the temporal sovereign, and retorts the charge of insubordination against the ecclesiastical authorities. It also insists on the paramount authority of scripture in matters of doctrine. ‘The Obedience’ for the first time stated clearly the two great principles of the English reformation—the supreme authority of scripture in the church, and the supreme authority of the king in the state. The book was introduced to the notice of Henry VIII through Anne Boleyn, and met with his approval (Strype, Ecclesiastical Memorials, 1822, i. 173; Cavendish, Wolsey, ed. Singer, ii. 202–5).
Early in 1529 Tyndale, who seems to have made his way from Marburg to the Low Countries, was shipwrecked on the coast of Holland on his way to Hamburg. He lost his books and papers as well as the manuscript of his translation of Deuteronomy, which he had just completed. He, however, proceeded to Hamburg, where he remained for some time in the house of Margaret van Emmerson, a senator's widow, labouring on the translation of the Pentateuch. Later in the year he proceeded to Antwerp, where he found that Tunstall, who, with More, had been negotiating the treaty of Cambrai, was making large purchases of his testaments in order to burn them, in spite of his companion's economic objections. Through a London merchant, Augustine Packington, Tunstall unwittingly purchased a number of copies from Tyndale himself, whom he thus provided with funds. Part of the money Tyndale probably laid out in purchasing eleven blocks, with which he afterwards illustrated the book of Exodus; they had previously done duty for Vorstermann's Dutch Bible printed at Antwerp in 1528.
In 1530 appeared ‘The Practyse of prelates,’ a work in which Tyndale framed his final and most unsparing indictment of the Roman hierarchy. He concluded by attacking categorically the whole of Wolsey's administration, and by denouncing Henry's divorce proceedings. On this point he entirely separated himself from the other English reformers. His long exile had distorted his view of English affairs, and he regarded Wolsey's disgrace as a subterfuge of the cardinal to escape the consequences of his maladministration. His views did him much injury with Henry, and quite destroyed the effects of the ‘Obedience’ on the king's mind. When Tyndale's ‘Practyse’ was reissued in 1548 (London, 8vo), his remarks on the divorce were carefully excised. A copy of the first edition, printed at Marburg by Hans Luft (in 8vo), is in the British Museum.
In the meantime Tyndale became engaged in literary warfare with Sir Thomas More. On 7 March 1527–8 Tunstall invited More to undertake the defence of the church against ‘the children of iniquity,’ accompanying his request with a formal license to read heretical works which assailed the catholic faith. In June 1529 appeared ‘A dyaloge of Sir Thomas More … Wherin be treatyd dyvers maters as of the … worshyp of ymagys & reliques, prayng to sayntys, & goyng õ pylgrymage. Wyth many othere thyngys touchyng the pestylent secte of Luther and Tyndale.’ In this great work More, declining to enter into the practical question of the ignorance and the immorality of the clergy, defended with much acuteness and logical power the doctrines of the Roman church against the attacks of the reformers. In the spring or early summer of 1531 Tyndale committed to the press ‘An answere unto Sir Thomas Mores dialoge’ (in 8vo, printed at Antwerp according to Joye; edited for the Parker Society by H. Walter in 1850). The ‘Answere,’ though inferior in literary form to More's ‘Dyaloge,’ was a clear and cogent treatise written with great satiric force, but marred by intense personal bitterness. Tyndale's acrimony was due in great part to his belief that More had sold his pen to further his political advancement. He could not reconcile More's defence of the church with his former attacks on its practical abuses, and failed to realise his horror of the reformers' doctrinal opinions. More several times returned to the controversy, devoting to it most of his scanty leisure. In 1532 appeared ‘The Confutacyon of Tyndale's Answere,’ followed in 1533 by ‘The second parte of the Confutacyon of Tyndale's Answere.’ ‘The Confutacyon’ was distinguished by virulence and scurrility. It is of inordinate length, and in literary merit is far beneath both his own ‘Dyaloge’ and Tyndale's ‘Answere.’ In the ‘Apologye of Syr Thomas More’ (1533) and in the ‘Debellacyon of Salem and Bizance’ (1533), written in reply to Christopher St. German [q. v.] (whose mother belonged to the Tyndale family), More again reverted to the subject. This contest of Tyndale and More was the classic controversy of the English reformation. No other discussion was carried on between men of such pre-eminent ability and with such clear apprehension of the points at issue. To More's assertion of the paramount authority of the church Tyndale replied by appealing to scripture, with an ultimate resort to individual judgment. From such divergent premises no agreement was possible.
In the meantime the face of affairs had considerably changed in England, where the contest on the divorce question had driven Henry into opposition to the pope. Cromwell was made a privy councillor in 1531, and in the same year Stephen Vaughan [q. v.], English envoy in the Netherlands, was instructed to communicate with Tyndale, whose views in his ‘Obedience’ were in accordance with Cromwell's policy. On 17 April 1531 Vaughan had a personal interview with Tyndale, near Antwerp, in which he suggested his return to England under a safe-conduct, but Tyndale expressed himself unwilling for fear of ecclesiastical resentment (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, v. No. 201). Henry, however, considered Vaughan had made too many advances, and sent him a peremptory letter rebuking him for overmuch complaisance, and ordering him to make no further attempt to bring Tyndale to England (ib. v. No. 248). Two further interviews between Vaughan and Tyndale in May and June produced no result (ib. v. No. 246). The failure of the negotiations was a disappointment to Tyndale, and caused him to take a gloomy view of Henry's policy. In the prologue to his translation of Jonah, issued in the same year, he likened England to Nineveh, and called on her people to repent.
Towards the close of the year Henry VIII, assuming a more hostile attitude, demanded Tyndale's surrender from the emperor on the charge of spreading sedition in England. Meeting with a refusal, and deeming Vaughan too sympathetic, he instructed Sir Thomas Elyot [q. v.] to kidnap him if possible (ib. v. pp. 121, 142, 165, 244–5, 265–7, 409, 653). Tyndale in consequence left Antwerp, but returned in 1533, when the danger seemed past, and remained in the town for the rest of his life, occupied chiefly with the revision of his translations of the Pentateuch and the New Testament. In the middle of 1534 he took up his abode in the dwelling of Thomas Poyntz (probably a relative of Lady Walsh), an English merchant-adventurer. The house had been set apart since 1474 by the municipality for the use of English merchants, was known as the ‘English House,’ and was situated in a block of buildings between the present Rue de la Vieille Bourse and Rue Zirck. Towards the close of the year John Rogers (1500?–1555) [q. v.], the first martyr in the Marian persecution, came to Antwerp as English chaplain. He was a Roman catholic on his arrival, but afterwards joined the reformers, probably through the influence of Tyndale, with whom he became intimate.
In 1535 Tyndale made the acquaintance of a young Englishman, Henry Phillips, said to be a Roman catholic student at Louvain, who had fled to Flanders after robbing his father. This man, by falsely professing great zeal for religious reform, insinuated himself into Tyndale's confidence and, after receiving much kindness from him, decoyed him from the English House, and betrayed him to the imperial officers. He was arrested on 23 or 24 May 1535, and conveyed a prisoner to the castle of Vilvorde, the state prison of the Low Countries.
Phillips, who was an extreme catholic, was certainly not a royal agent, and strenuous efforts were afterwards made by Henry to get him into his power. Whether Tyndale was the victim of an English ecclesiastical plot is doubtful. Phillips was at various times in communication with leading English catholics, and he was assisted in his betrayal of Tyndale by an English priest named Gabriel Donne [q. v.], who soon afterwards was appointed abbot of Buckfastleigh in Devon. No direct evidence, however, that he was employed by the English catholics has ever been discovered, and it was very possibly on his own initiative that he sacrificed Tyndale, from whom he had borrowed money. Great efforts were made to procure Tyndale's liberation, and Poyntz was himself imprisoned for his zeal. The English merchants, after remonstrating with the queen regent, Mary of Hungary, and representing the arrest as a breach of their privileges, attempted to obtain the intervention of Henry VIII and Cromwell. So late as 13 April 1536, Vaughan wrote from Antwerp to Cromwell: ‘If now you sent but your letter to the privy council [of Flanders], I could deliver Tyndale from the fire’ (ib. x. No. 663). Even if willing, Henry was not in a position to do much. International usages gave him no ground for intervention, and he could hardly expect a personal favour from the Emperor Charles, with whom he was almost at open rupture. In September 1535 Cromwell wrote without effect to Carandolet, the archbishop of Palermo, president of the council, and to the Marquis of Bergen-op-Zoom, governor of Vilvorde, asking them to use their influence in favour of Tyndale. In 1536 Tyndale was brought to trial for heresy, condemned, degraded from his orders, and sentenced to death. No record of his trial has been found, and of his imprisonment only one memorial is known, an autograph letter from him to the governor of Vilvorde, discovered in the archives of the council of Brabant, requesting to be allowed his Hebrew bible, grammar, and dictionary. Tyndale was executed at Vilvorde on 6 Oct. 1536, being strangled at the stake and his body afterwards burnt. ‘At the stake,’ says Foxe, ‘he cried with a fervent zeal and a loud voice, “Lord, open the king of England's eyes.”’ Eight years before he wrote: ‘If they shall burn me, they shall do none other thing than I looked for.’ ‘There is none other way into the kingdom of life than through persecution and suffering of pain, and of very death after the ensample of Christ.’
Though not perhaps the foremost figure of the English reformation, Tyndale was one of the most remarkable of its leaders. He left his country an unknown exile; he lived abroad in poverty, obscurity, and danger; and yet before his death he had made his name a household word in England. His original writings bear the impress of sound scholarship and of the highest literary power. They are unquestionably the ablest expositions of the views of the more advanced English reformers who triumphed under Edward VI, and developed into the Puritan party under Elizabeth. His translation of the Bible, however, though incomplete, forms his surest title to fame. Its substantial accuracy and fidelity were fully endorsed by the translators of the authorised version, who not only retained the substance of his rendering where it was available, but adopted his style and method as their model throughout their work.
Tyndale's influence on the future development of English literature was very great. The simplicity and force of his style, his happy preservation of Hebrew idioms and modes of expression, and his utter lack of pedantry were all perpetuated in succeeding versions, and more especially in the authorised version of the Bible. Tyndale's scholarship was amply sufficient for the task of translation. At the time of his residence Cambridge was perhaps the best Greek school in England. Tyndale's familiarity with Hebrew has been questioned, but he had probably a fair acquaintance with the language when he left England, and abroad he had ample opportunity of extending his knowledge, especially at Worms, where there was a large Jewish colony. His learning was admitted even by his adversaries, including so competent a judge as Sir Thomas More; and, among his friends, Hermann Buschius, the great humanist, bore emphatic testimony to his perfect mastery of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, as well as to his skill in German, Spanish, and French (Schellhorn, Amœnitates Literariæ, 1731, iv. 431). His translations were made direct from the original without any undue dependence on other modern versions. He borrowed from Luther's German version only the arrangement, and a collation of texts demonstrates at once the independence of his rendering (for a contrary view in regard to the Pentateuch see Athenæum, 1885, i. 500, 562).
Tyndale did not live to accomplish the translation of the entire Bible. During his lifetime he published the New Testament, the Pentateuch, and the book of Jonah. There is strong ground for believing that he also left behind him a manuscript translation of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, completed while in prison.
Tyndale's translation of the New Testament was made from Erasmus's edition of the Greek text, with the assistance of Erasmus's Latin version, the Vulgate, and Luther's German translation. Of the first complete edition printed in 1525, two copies survive. The more perfect, wanting only the title-page, was discovered by the Earl of Oxford about 1740, and is now in the Baptist College at Bristol. The other, which is incomplete, is in the library of St. Paul's Cathedral. This edition was printed at Worms by Schoeffer in octavo, and illustrated by twelve woodcuts. It contains neither prologue nor glosses. The edition was reprinted from the Bristol copy by Bagster in 1836 (London, 8vo), and reproduced in facsimile by Francis Fry in 1862.
The sheets of Tyndale's translation of the New Testament, previously printed at Cologne, were also published. They did not contain more than St. Matthew's Gospel, with possibly a fragment of St. Mark, but they are mentioned in Tunstall's injunction, together with the Worms octavo edition, as if they formed an independent edition of the complete testament. The only fragment surviving is in the Grenville Library at the British Museum. It extends to the twelfth verse of the twenty-second chapter of Matthew. It is printed in quarto on the model of Luther's German Bible, with a prologue and marginal glosses, which in most cases are translations of those of Luther. It was photo-lithographed in 1871 for Arber's ‘Facsimile Texts.’ The prologue, with some alterations, was separately reprinted in London by Thomas Godfrey before 1532 under the title ‘A Pathway into the Holy Scripture’ (reprinted for Parker Soc. 1848).
The demand for copies of Tyndale's translation, for reading or burning, induced the printers at Antwerp to issue surreptitious reprints of the Worms edition, and, according to George Joye [q. v.] in his ‘Apology,’ three had been issued by 1534. As the Flemings had no English assistance, the text became corrupt, and in 1534 Joye undertook to correct a fourth edition for Christopher of Endhoven's widow; it was published at Antwerp in August 1534 in 16mo. A unique copy is in the Grenville Library. Much to Tyndale's annoyance, Joye altered the text to favour his view of the condition of the dead before the judgment. In November 1534 Tyndale published his own revised version, which contained numerous changes, bringing the text into closer approximation to the Greek and expressing the meaning of the original more forcibly. It was printed in small octavo by Martin Emperowr at Antwerp, contains prologues to all the books except the Acts and the Apocalypse, is furnished with new marginal glosses, and is preceded by a preface in which he comments severely on the action of Joye. Joye defended himself in his ‘Apology,’ published in the same year. The prologues to Hebrews and St. James defended these epistles against Luther's assertion that they were not of apostolic authority. ‘The Epistles taken out of the Old Testament … after the usage of Salisbury’ are appended. The British Museum contains three copies, one of which has on the edges the inscription ‘Anna Angliæ Regina,’ and is believed to have been presented by Tyndale to Anne Boleyn. The edition was reprinted in Bagster's ‘Hexapla’ in 1841. A third edition (in small 8vo), further revised by Tyndale, was printed at Antwerp by Godfried Van der Haghen in 1535–4 (Bibliographer, 1881–2, i. 3–11, article by Henry Bradshaw, reprinted separately in 1886). The peculiar orthography of a fourth edition, published in 1535 without place or printer's name, has given rise to the extravagant surmise that Tyndale was a philological reformer, or that he designedly wrote it in the dialect of the Gloucestershire ploughboys. Its eccentricities are probably due to the Flemish printers; the most perfect copy is in the Cambridge University Library. Numerous later editions appeared, chiefly at Antwerp and at London, between 1536 and 1550. Twenty-one of them are described in Fry's ‘Bibliographical Description of the New Testament.’ The first printed in England was probably the folio of 1536, without place or printer's name; a perfect copy is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. It has been conjectured from contemporary references that Tyndale issued a separate translation of St. Matthew and St. Mark before 1525, during his residence at Wittenberg, but the balance of probability is against the supposition. In criticising Tyndale's translation in his ‘Dyaloge,’ More with considerable reason objected that Tyndale, to favour his own doctrinal views, had substituted other words for customary ecclesiastical terms, such as ‘priest’ and ‘church.’ In reply Tyndale urged that he aimed at a literal rendering of the Greek, and that such terms had been perverted from their primitive meaning. Such a plea involved of course the whole question at issue between the catholics and reformers, and proved that the point was one which could hardly be settled by any philological discussion. The translators of the authorised version in many cases failed to endorse Tyndale's action, but in one important instance, the substitution of ‘love’ for ‘charity,’ the translators of the revised version reverted to his rendering. In 1846 William Maskell published ‘A Collation of Tyndale's Version with the Authorised Version.’
Tyndale's translation of the Pentateuch was issued in octavo at Marburg from the printing-house of Hans Luft. The work is preceded by a general preface, and a separate preface is prefixed to each book; lists are appended to Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy, explaining unusual words; and marginal glosses are added, strongly controversial in tone. Genesis and Numbers are in black letter, while Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy are in Roman letter, a peculiarity which has occasioned the surmise that the last three books were not printed at Marburg. An examination of the work, however, furnishes incontrovertible proofs that they all proceeded from the same press, though perhaps not all printed in the same year. Genesis bears the date 17 Jan. 1529–30, while the others are undated. A study of the text shows that the translation was made direct from the Hebrew, with the assistance of the Vulgate and Luther's German translation. The glosses, unlike those of his New Testament, though tinged with Luther's spirit, are in no case translations of those of the German reformer; they are more pungent and satirical than those accompanying the New Testament. The only perfect copy of the first edition is in the Grenville Library at the British Museum. A second edition, with a new preface, was issued in octavo in 1534. It contained the book of Genesis in Roman letter, with several verbal alterations, and the other books exactly as first printed. Another edition, in octavo, appeared in London in 1551. A reprint, with a biographical and bibliographical introduction by J. I. Mombert, was issued in 1884 (New York, 8vo).
Tyndale's translation of the book of Jonah was published with a prologue in 1531, probably from the press of Martin Emperowr at Antwerp. A unique copy, now in the British Museum, was discovered in 1861 by Arthur Charles Harvey, rector of Ickworth, and afterwards bishop of Bath and Wells. It was reproduced in facsimile in 1863 by Francis Fry with an introduction and with Coverdale's version appended.
After Tyndale's death the whole of his translations of the New Testament and Pentateuch, as well as his manuscript translations from Joshua to Chronicles, were included by John Rogers in ‘Matthew's Bible,’ which was licensed by Henry VIII for sale in England.
Besides the works already mentioned, Tyndale was the author of:
- ‘A Prologue upon the Epistle of Saint Paul unto the Romans,’ printed separately at Worms or possibly at Strassburg in 1526. It is not extant in separate form; Parker Soc. 1848.
- ‘The exposition of the fyrste Epistle of seynt Jhon, with a Prologge’ [Martin Emperowr, Antwerp], 1531, 8vo, Brit. Mus.; Parker Soc. 1849.
- ‘An Exposicion upon the v., vi., vii. chapters of Mathew’ [Marburg], 1532, 8vo. (Brit. Mus.); another edition printed by ‘Wyllyam Hill’ appeared about 1550 (London, 8vo); Parker Soc. 1849.
- ‘A fruitfull and godly treatise expressing the right institution and usage of the Sacramentes of Baptisme, and the Sacrament of the body and bloud of our Sauiour Jesu Christ,’ 1533?; republished with the title ‘A Briefe declaration of the sacraments,’ London [1550?], 16mo.; Parker Soc. 1848.
- ‘The Testament of Master William Tracie eisquier expounded both by William Tyndall and Jhõ Frith,’ 1535, 8vo [see under Tracy, Richard].
In his preface to the ‘Brefe Chronycle concerning the examination and death of Sir John Oldecastell,’ published in 1544, Bale mentions that Tyndale fourteen years before printed a brief account of Cobham's examination, written by one of Cobham's friends. No copy of this work is extant, but it is mentioned in a list of heretical books (cf. Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, v. 269). Bale also states that Tyndale revised and corrected ‘The Examinacyon of Master William Thorpe’ (d. 1407?) [q. v.], printed with the former work (Bale, Select Works, Parker Soc., pp. 6, 62, 64). To Tyndale are also doubtfully assigned a treatise on ‘Matrimony,’ published in 1529, of which no copy is extant; expositions of the second and third epistles of John bound with his exposition on the first, in a copy in the library of St. Paul's Cathedral; and the anonymous ‘Souper of the Lorde … Imprinted at Nornburg by Niclas Twonson, 5 April 1533,’ 8vo, which Sir Thomas More in his ‘Answere to the fyrst parte,’ 1534, attributed with some hesitation to Tyndale.
A collective edition of the writings of Tyndale, Frith, and Barnes, known as Day's folio, was issued in London by John Day (1522–1584) [q. v.] in two volumes in 1572–3, with a preface by Foxe, and the lives of the three martyrs extracted from his ‘Actes and Monuments.’ A new edition of the works of Tyndale and Frith by Thomas Russell (1781?–1846) [q. v.], in three volumes (London, 8vo), appeared between 1828 and 1831. It formed the first instalment of a series entitled ‘The Works of the English and Scottish Reformers.’ No more of the series were published. Three volumes of Tyndale's original writings, including all his prefaces and prologues as well as ‘The Parable of the Wicked Mammon,’ ‘The Obedience of a Christian Man,’ ‘The Practice of Prelates,’ and the ‘Answer to Sir Thomas More,’ were edited for the Parker Society by Henry Walter, and published in 1848, 1849, and 1850.
There are portraits of Tyndale at Magdalen and Hertford Colleges, Oxford. A third belongs to the British and Foreign Bible Society.
A memorial cenotaph was erected to Tyndale at Nibley in Gloucestershire, then supposed to be his birthplace, and was inaugurated by the Earl of Ducie on 6 Nov. 1866. A statue of the reformer by (Sir) John Edgar Boehm, erected in London at the west end of the West Garden on the Victoria Embankment, was unveiled by the Earl of Shaftesbury on 7 May 1884.
Although ‘Tyndale’ is now the accepted mode of spelling the reformer's name, contemporary editions of his work and his sole autograph give his name as ‘Tindale.’
Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.268
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line
|427||ii||13 f.e.||Tyndale, William: for On 13 April read So late as 13 April|
|3 f.e.||for September read September 1535|
|428||i||7||for burial read trial|
|13||for 6 Aug. read 6 Oct.|
|5 f.e.||for Europe read England|