Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Most Dangerous Man in England

Whoops. That title should be "The Most Dangerous Man in Tudor England."

Melvyn Bragg has produced a documentary on William Tyndale, with that title. He writes about Tyndale in the Telegraph.

What a genius of the word, that Tyndale was. Never one for using multi-syllables when just one would do, Tyndale's Bible translation could have been re-titled, How to Launch a Homespun Phrase into the English language For Eternity.

What a life Tyndale lived. He was the James Bond of Reformation theologians. Except unlike James Bond, the baddies killed him.

What kept him going? He lost his life that the plough boy might know the Bible in his indigenous language. In short, and still relevant to Christianity today, Tyndale stood up for the Bible as God's revelation and for the importance of readers accessing it according to the greatest possible accuracy in communication.

Apropos of Anglican matters in our day, Tyndale stands for the importance of God's voice being heard through Scripture, with the volume of the voice of tradition turned down as low as possible.

UPDATE: Catholicity and Covenant takes a different line to me above. I think it nonsense and have said so in a comment!


Anonymous said...

The documentary can watched in places that have access to BBC i-player. It's pretty good even if it can't avoid the over-dramatized clich├ęs. What becomes clear is: 1. Tyndale's translation of the NT is the real source of most of the KJV NT, and his Pentateuch largely underlies the KJV as well. 2. "Saint" Sir Thomas Heretic-Hunter More was not a very nice man, however 'A Man for All Seasons' presented him.
I glanced through a facsimile of Tyndale's NT a few years ago and it's really quite readable - that's when I first began to grasp how much the KJV owed to him. But you will find none of this in the Preface. Part of Tyndale's great genius was to use simple monosyllables that roll off the tongue and stick in the mind.

Martin Dolmetscher

Bryden Black said...

Christmas 2011 I was given a DVD entitled "KJB: The Book That Changed the World". It was narrated by John Rhys-Davies, the welsh actor. It told the story of how James VI/I was himself brought up and educated, and then Authorized the translation of the KJB. Of note here is their clearly endorsing much of Tyndale's work already done for them, which the DVD too was happy to underscore often.

Tim Chesterton said...

Personally I think many of Tyndale's translation choices were absolutely right (especially the 'ekklesia/congregation' one, since 'ekklesia' is descended from a word that originally meant 'a town hall gathering'!). And his genius is shown by the fact that his 1526 English NT is still very readable today.