BN.com Gift Guide

Tyndale

( 7 )

Overview

It was an outlawed book, a text so dangerous “it could only be countered by the most vicious burnings, of books and men and women.” But what book could incite such violence and bloodshed? The year is 1526. It is the age of Henry VIII and his tragic Anne Boleyn, of Martin Luther and Thomas More.
The times are treacherous. The Catholic Church controls almost every aspect of English life, including access to the very Word of God. And the church ...

See more details below
This Audiobook (Other) is Not Available through BN.com
Sending request ...

Overview

It was an outlawed book, a text so dangerous “it could only be countered by the most vicious burnings, of books and men and women.” But what book could incite such violence and bloodshed? The year is 1526. It is the age of Henry VIII and his tragic Anne Boleyn, of Martin Luther and Thomas More.
The times are treacherous. The Catholic Church controls almost every aspect of English life, including access to the very Word of God. And the church will do anything to keep it that way.

Enter William Tyndale, the gifted, courageous “heretic” who dared translate the Word of God into English. He worked in secret, in exile, in peril, always on the move. Neither England nor the English language would ever be the same again.

With thoughtful clarity and a reverence that comes through on every page, David Teems shares a story of intrigue and atrocity, betrayal and perseverance. This is how the Reformation officially reached English shores—and what it cost the men who brought it there.

Praise for David Teems’ previous work Majestie

“Teems . . . pulls together the story of this enigmatic king
[ James] with humor and pathos . . . [A] delightful read in every way.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Perhaps literature's premier examples of English prose are found in Shakespeare's works and the King James Bible. The latter owes much of its character to William Tyndale's earlier English translation, which Teems wants us to appreciate, along with Tyndale himself. Teems, an independent scholar, succeeds in the former, reproducing quote after memorable quote from Tyndale's New Testament and drawing parallels with those later translations that are genetically tied to it, while contrasting those that aren't. What the reader does not get is a real feeling for Tyndale. Granted, the historical record on him is not great, especially regarding his personal life. But Tyndale is framed here as a hero, standing at a distance, with few complexities evident. Teems also seems compelled to provide villains: Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII, Erasmus, and a host of others. Everyone seems too ready-made and not fully realized, although Teems has studied his subject. VERDICT Ultimately, this is a fair introduction to Tyndale aimed at getting Evangelicals to better understand their heritage. Readers interested in Tyndale from other perspectives may wish to consider Brian Moynahan's God's Bestseller or David Daniell's William Tyndale.—James M. Wetherbee, Wingate Univ. Lib., NC
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455129522
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2012
  • Format: Other

Meet the Author

David Teems earned his BA in psychology and philosophy at Georgia State University. He is active in ministry, speaking and playing worship music. He lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife, Benita, their two sons, Shad and Adam, and Adam's family.

Simon Vance is the winner of numerous Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie® Award in 2006. Born in England, he worked for ten years as a radio news announcer for the BBC and as a narrator for the Royal National Institute for the Blind. Besides narrating, he is involved in numerous stage-acting projects in the United States and Europe.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Tyndale

The Man Who Gave God an English Voice
By David Teems

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 David Teems
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-221-1


Chapter One

Translating Tyndale

Comerado, this is no book; Who touches this touches a man.

—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855 edition

Sir Thomas more once wrote that William Tyndale "seems to be everywhere and nowhere." While his tone was anything but friendly, it may be one of the better assessments of Tyndale. The statement is as true today as it was when More said it to his friend Desiderius Erasmus five hundred years ago. What he meant was that the words of William Tyndale, that is, his translation of the Bible and other writings, were spreading widely and infectiously, and yet the man himself was a ghost.

Indeed, to More, it was a kind of haunting.

Of course, Thomas More's pursuit of Tyndale had an altogether different motive than yours and mine. He wanted nothing more than to "find him [Tyndale] with a hot firebrand burning at his back, that all the water in the world will never be able to quench."

Tyndale had little choice but to remain hidden. It was a necessary craft for his survival. And his art reflects this economy of movement—the subtleties, the phantom light-footedness, the acuity. The translation he bequeathed us is as articulate and precise as he was elusive and absent.

We know more about the sound of his last name than we do the year he was born, who his parents were, where he grew up, how old he was when he attended Oxford, and whether or not he attended Cambridge as certain histories imply, or why there seems to have been two family names.

Unfortunately, against our current appetite for biography and memoir, we are just not allowed anything solid or filling. Reading what relatively few biographies there are, and even what primary sources are available, I easily tired of "it could have been this way," or "he might have lived here," or "we are almost certain he lived in this place or that one over there, that he did this or that."

Reading Tyndale biography you have little choice but to labor through all the qualifiers, those conditionals that weaken a text, that soften its resolve—words like maybe, might, perhaps, possibly, and so on.

No Complete Memory of Him

His name rhymes with spindle. The second syllable was often spelled dal, dalle, or dall. The Latin form, which William Tyndale used often, was Tindalus, and he was known to spell it Tindale or Tyndale. Though convention favors the latter, it was of little concern to Tyndale himself. English was years away from any standardization, so the only rule was indifference, or taste. He just as often spelled his name Tindal or Tindall. The Oxford English Dictionary spells his name Tindale.

Nor is there any explanation for the presence of the extra surname. Hutchins (Hutchyns or Hychyns) may have been an alias created by an uncle during the War of the Roses, a Yorkist who fled from northern England (possibly Northumberland, location of the Tyne River) to Gloucestershire at the rise of the Lancastrians. One biographer has called this story a "romantic invention."

Thomas More was convinced that there was something shameful about the name changing, that it smacked of something criminal. The presence of an alias, so he thought, carried with it "the reek of dark deeds." When Sir Thomas meant to be particularly nasty, he called Tyndale "Hutchins."

Whatever information we have comes as a result of a kind of crude sifting. We are forced to imagine. There is nothing at all on Tyndale's childhood. Estranged mother that she became, England has no complete memory of him. In the end, the shapes we might assume of Tyndale's childhood are elusive. Mozley said it best: "We have certainty of nothing."

Though we have no date of birth, Tyndale would have been baptized into the Catholic Church as an infant, an event he denounced later in life. On the chrism, or the anointing oil, he wrote, "They think that if the bishop butter the child in the forehead that it is safe."

It was preferred that the child be baptized on the same day as its birth, or at least within a matter of days. Infant mortality was common, so haste to church was just as common. It was thought that if the unbaptized child died, it went to Limbo (Limbus puerum, a child's paradise, a holding place between heaven, hell, and purgatory for the child not vindicated or freed from a state of original sin). Limbus patrum (Limbo of the fathers) was reserved for the older pre-Christ unbaptized—Moses, David, the prophets, individuals who were righteous but without Christ.

Limbo has since been closed, due to reconsideration.

Tyndale thought the notion absurd, and purgatory merely an invention to squeeze coin from the masses.

Certainty of Nothing

The accepted year of Tyndale's birth is 1494. This number varies from source to source and is calculated primarily on the receipt of his Oxford University degrees. The year 1495 is the latest he may have been born. He received his Master of Arts degree in 1515, a degree that could not be legally taken until a candidate was twenty years old.

According to John Foxe, William Tyndale was born "about the border of Wales," in the western part of Gloucestershire "where the range of the Cotswolds fall into the vale of Berkeley, with the River Severn flowing beyond." Idyllic, pastoral, lush, verdant, the region incites a kind of rhapsody from its close observers.

The most promising candidates for Tyndale's birthplace seem to be the villages of Slimbridge or North Nibley, possibly even Dursley or Stinchcombe, all located between Gloucester and Bristol, and all on the western edge of the Cotswold hills (Southwest England) by the river Severn.

The name Cotswolds means "sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides." Indeed, sheep fattened the land with industry. Cloth was big business and the area prospered, creating a new kind of English nobility, fashioned out of new money. So much so, that the region, which includes Gloucestershire, was "precociously early modern." It is generally thought that the Tyndales of and around Gloucestershire were landowners and successful merchants, possibly yeoman farmers. Either way, the name seemed to carry weight. This could explain his tuition at Oxford.

William had two brothers: John, the younger, and Edward, the older. Edward was capable and enterprising, well known in the vale of Berkeley, particularly around Slimbridge. He lived at Hurst Farm (Slimbridge) and was buried in Slimbridge churchyard in 1546. For years he held the honorable post of receiver (a collector of rents) for the lordship of Berkeley. He also became the steward and auditor of Tewkesbury Abbey.

The will of Edward Tyndale still exists. He married twice and had thirteen children. A man of sufficient means, he left his "great lute" to his son, and his "best bow" to the vicar of Tewkesbury.

Edward did not seem to bother himself in his brother William's business, though the association was hardly avoidable. In a letter written in 1533 by John Stokesley, bishop of London, to Thomas Cromwell, begging that a certain piece of land in Gloucestershire be given to a servant of his (the letter was padded with cash), Stokesley, once a rector of Slimbridge, did his best to frustrate the efforts of another suitor for the land who "hath a kinsman called Edward Tyndale, brother to Tyndale the arch-heretic."

Edward, like his translator brother, seemed able to move quickly. But unlike his translator brother, he avoided trouble. John Tyndale, however, was closer to his brother William's affairs, and therefore seemed to invite trouble. Leapfrogging a bit in time, in November 1531 the same Bishop Stokesley arrested John, a London merchant, and brought him before the new chancellor, Thomas More. Stokesley charged him and those with him for "receiving of Tyndale's testaments and divers other books, and delivering and scattering the same" about London. The name Stokesley will come up again—an angry little man with a fixation for the Tyndales.

After a night in jail John was paraded through the streets of London faced backward on a horse. He was also forced to wear a counterfeit mitre (a headdress worn by a bishop) made out of pasteboard. On what looked more like a dunce cap were the words peccasse contra mandata Regis (I have sinned against the commandments of the king). A copy of the New Testament and other outlawed books (among them Practice of Prelates, a book of Tyndale's that H8 particularly disliked) were fastened about his neck, "pinned and tacked" to his gown. John was forced to throw the books into a fire prepared for the little spectacle, and had to pay a sizable fine.

A letter from the Venetian ambassador provides a context for the moment. Histories come alive in such letters. Henry VIII wants a divorce from his queen, Catherine of Aragon. The stir is a large one, and Henry has little choice but to involve the pope and most of Europe in his business (at least at the beginning). William Tyndale has voiced his complaint against it, and three thousand copies of his Practice of Prelates are circulating among the British public. The following letter, dated December 1530, is from Augustino Scarpinello to Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan.

The author of the aforesaid work, entitled "Practyse of Prelates," (Pratica di Prelati) by name Tyndaro sen Tindal, is an Englishman, and for some while (et he parechj giorni) has lived, and is at present living, in Germany, and is said to be a man of magnae doctrinae [great learning]. His brother, together with certain other persons, who went about circulating this work in vulgus [to the general public] were lately paraded through London, along the public thoroughfares (per plateas publicas) with pasteboard mitres on their heads, bearing an inscription, thus, Peccasse contra mandata Regis and the book suspended from their necks; and having completed the circuit of the thoroughfares, they were ordered to cast the pamphlet [Practice of Prelates] into the fire prepared for that purpose.

England, the land that gave us Shakespeare, knew by instinct, by some inwardness peculiar to itself, and still does, how to put on a great show.

As Sure as God Is in Gloucester

Though no record exists, young Tyndale would have attended an elementary school of some kind, an ABC as they were called. He may have met with a nearby priest for private instruction. There was a grammar school within a few miles of where he was raised, at Wotton-under-Edge, a school founded in 1384 by Lady Berkeley. The holidays and school times were not so different as they are today. Judging by the young age Tyndale went to university, his instruction in grammar may have begun at Magdalen Hall (Oxford).

A single line in one of his writings gives us a glimpse of a precocious memory (the first intimation and evidence of a literary soul). Defending the Scriptures in English, in The Obedience of a Christian Man, Tyndale said,

Except my memory fail me, and that I have forgotten what I read when I was a child, thou shalt find in the English chronicle, how that king Athelstane caused the holy scripture to be translated into the tongue that then was in England, and how the prelates exhorted him thereto.

I am not going to make the error of assuming when his powerful attraction for linguistics began, or even his love of Scripture, but at least we have here a memory recalled, a place marker from early childhood.

In Gloucestershire, where he grew up, the church was in a state of decay. The complaint was old, and the annoyance generations deep. From around 1476, pastors in the diocese of Worcester, which included Gloucestershire, were "almost non-resident." It was at best a distracted spirituality.

Ecclesiastical orders had amassed to themselves, in the name of God, enormous riches and a great proportion of the land, and on this they claimed to be exempt from taxation ... Gigantic fortunes were built up by favored ecclesiastics, while the poor people went unshepherded. An open scandal also was the unchastity of the clergy and of the monastic bodies. While claiming to be too pure for holy matrimony, they were at liberty to keep concubines ... Yet in this general decay of the Christian spirit the rites and ceremonies were carefully observed. Never were there more services, more holidays in honor of saints, never were relics and shrines more venerated, never were pilgrimages more splendid. The outward form was there, but the spirit was lacking.

The diocese of Worcester was the most neglected of all dioceses in England. It was bishoped by three Italians, men who never set foot in England (and yet drew their stipends regularly). Gloucester was also the site of a highly venerated relic of the blood of Christ, vouched for by an individual who eventually became pope. Later exposed as a fraud, it was legend enough to generate the proverb, "As sure as God is in Gloucester." (Perhaps more germane to our study than the slogan itself is the proverb-generating vitality of Gloucestershire from which the slogan materialized, the vitality Tyndale was weaned on as a child.)

John Hooper, a fellow student with Tyndale at Oxford, became a bishop some years later. To get an idea of how deep the neglect was, Hooper conducted a survey of 311 members of his clergy. Nine priests did not know there were Ten Commandments; thirty-three had no clue where they were in the Bible (most of them suggested the New Testament); ten could not recite the Lord's Prayer; and thirty did not know Jesus had said it in the first place.

Hooper burned at the stake during the reign of Mary Tudor.

Parish priests in the Middle Ages were often uneducated and could not understand a word of Latin, yet these same priests intoned the Mass regularly. And it didn't matter. According to Catholic doctrine the sacraments operate ex opere operato, that is, entirely on the work of Christ, "and thus do not depend on the worthiness or education of the priest." As long as a duly ordained priest performs the ritual correctly, the sacrament is valid. Being there is enough.

Because Church Latin was beyond the general believer, there were many who considered the Mass a form of magic. "Hocus-pocus," the incantation we learned as children, is thought to be a corruption of the phrase heard in the Mass, hoc est corpus meum (this is my body).

As far back as the fourteenth century, the chafe between the people and the priesthood was evident. "When a priest could purchase from diocesan authority a license to keep a concubine, how should he have better access to God than the ordinary sinner?" Even in Wycliffe's time, when a man confessed adultery, his confessor (priest) was not allowed to ask the name of the woman involved. This was a safeguard to insure the priest would not be tempted to go after the woman himself. The presence of such a rule implies that the offense was common enough to demand restraint.

The Catholic priest was required by canon law to be celibate. But many of them were living openly with women in unofficial common-law relationships that could not be regularized by marriage. This practice, far from being condemned, was actually welcomed both by the bishops and, oddly, by the locals. To the bishop, it provided a stream of income due to the annual fines imposed on the miscreant priests. To the locals, they assumed their own wives and daughters were safer.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Tyndale by David Teems Copyright © 2012 by David Teems. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Prologue: Do You Not Know Me? My Name Is Tyndale ix

1 Translating Tyndale 1

2 Pandora's Jar 18

3 Table Talk 33

4 Language Is the Only Homeland 45

5 Author and Finisher 62

6 Farewell, Unhappy, Hopeless, Blasphemous Rome 78

7 It Was England to Him 91

8 The Mother of All Good Works 105

9 A Book for Me and All Kings to Read 120

10 Well Done 135

11 Mine Heart's Desire 149

12 A Troubled Fascination: William Tyndale and Thomas More 161

13 No Timid Friend to Truth 171

14 Talk Softly and Write One Ridiculously Long Book 184

15 The Medicine of Scripture 198

16 Now We See in a Glass Even in a Dark Speaking 215

17 Do Thou the Worst Thou Canst unto Me 229

18 And the Peace of God, Which Passeth All Understanding 247

Epilogue: Elegy 260

Appendix A William Tyndale Time Line 264

Appendix B First usage of words by William Tyndale 268

Appendix C William Tyndale's letters to John Frith while Frith was confined in the tower 273

Note 279

Bibilography 294

Acknowledgments 302

About the Author 303

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)