Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 03:1 (Spring 1990)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Tyndale’s New Testament. Translated from the Greek by William Tyndale. Edited and introduced by David Daniell. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1989. 429 pp. Cloth, $28.95.

King Henry VIII’s Chancellor “for all seasons,” Sir Thomas More, called Tyndale “a beast,” one of the “hell-hounds that the devil bath in his kennel,” discharging a “filthy foam of blasphemies out of his brutish mouth,” and more of the same. Stripped down to bare facts, Tyndale’s crime consisted of translating ekklēsia as congregation (not “church”), agapē as love (not “charity”), metanoeō as repent (not “do penance”), and presbyteros as elder (not “priest”). All of Tyndale’s translations are accurate, as any first-year Greek student knows. The bishop of London had given More permission to read the NT in English (forbidden by the “Constitutions of Oxford,” 1408) with the very purpose of discrediting the man and his ministry. The bishop’s seeking out and burning of these New Testaments bordered on the rabid and inquisitorial.

David Daniell, the editor of this large-size (10¾ by 8 inches) volume begs to differ in his evaluation of Tyndale as a translator:

William Tyndale’s Bible translations have been the best-kept secrets in English Bible history. Many people have heard of Tyndale: very few have read him. Yet no other Englishmannot even Shakespearehas reached so many (p. vii, italics supplied).

This last remark takes on more color when we realize that Daniell has a Ph.D. in Shakespeare and has published widely about the Bard of Avon. He demonstrates that much of the King James NT is pure Tyndale (some, not Daniell, say 90%) and that this is never acknowledged in “The Translators to the Reader” prefacing the 1611 version.

Yale’s splendid reprint of the definitive 1534 Tyndale NT consists of the following: a fascinating 36-page introduction, a short glossary of really difficult terms (such as Candy [=Crete!], liefer, noosel, pyght, stem, and witesafe); 429 pages consisting of two introductions by Tyndale himself, the complete text of the 1534 NT in modern spelling and Roman type (easy to read!), Tyndale’s prologues to the books, his marginal notes, a selection of readings of the church year from the OT (showing Tyndale’s great skill with Hebrew and poetry), a table of Epistles and

Gospels, and finally a page of explanations of words such as Gehenna, “added to fill up the leaf wit...

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