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William Tyndale (1494-1536) was the first person to translate the Bible into English from its original Greek and Hebrew and the first to print the Bible in English, which he did in exile. Giving the laity access to the word of God outraged the clerical establishment in England: he was condemned, hunted, and eventually murdered. However, his masterly translation formed the William Tyndale (1494-1536) was the first person to translate the Bible into English from its original Greek and Hebrew and the first to print the Bible in English, which he did in exile. Giving the laity access to the word of God outraged the clerical establishment in England: he was condemned, hunted, and eventually murdered. However, his masterly translation formed the basis of all English bibles--including the "King James Bible," many of whose finest passages were taken unchanged, though unacknowledged, from Tyndale's work. This important book, published in the quincentenary year of his birth, is the first major biography of Tyndale in sixty years. It sets the story of his life in the intellectual and literary contexts of his immense achievement and explores his influence on the theology, literature, and humanism of Renaissance and Reformation Europe. David Daniell, editor of Tyndale's New Testament and Tyndale's Old Testament, eloquently describes the dramatic turns in Tyndale's life. Born in England and educated at Oxford, Tyndale was ordained as a priest. When he decided to translate the Bible into English, he realized that it was impossible to do that work in England and moved to Germany, living in exile there and in the Low Countries while he translated and printed first the New Testament and then half of the Old Testament. These were widely circulated—and denounced—in England. Yet Tyndale continued to write from abroad, publishing polemics in defense of the principles of the English reformation. He was seized in Antwerp, imprisoned in Vilvoorde Castle near Brussels, and burnt at the stake for heresy in 1536. Daniell discusses Tyndale's achievement as biblical translator and expositor, analyzes his writing, examines his stylistic influence on writers from Shakespeare to those of the twentieth century, and explores the reasons why he has not been more highly regarded. His book brings to life one of the great geniuses of the age.


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William Tyndale (1494-1536) was the first person to translate the Bible into English from its original Greek and Hebrew and the first to print the Bible in English, which he did in exile. Giving the laity access to the word of God outraged the clerical establishment in England: he was condemned, hunted, and eventually murdered. However, his masterly translation formed the William Tyndale (1494-1536) was the first person to translate the Bible into English from its original Greek and Hebrew and the first to print the Bible in English, which he did in exile. Giving the laity access to the word of God outraged the clerical establishment in England: he was condemned, hunted, and eventually murdered. However, his masterly translation formed the basis of all English bibles--including the "King James Bible," many of whose finest passages were taken unchanged, though unacknowledged, from Tyndale's work. This important book, published in the quincentenary year of his birth, is the first major biography of Tyndale in sixty years. It sets the story of his life in the intellectual and literary contexts of his immense achievement and explores his influence on the theology, literature, and humanism of Renaissance and Reformation Europe. David Daniell, editor of Tyndale's New Testament and Tyndale's Old Testament, eloquently describes the dramatic turns in Tyndale's life. Born in England and educated at Oxford, Tyndale was ordained as a priest. When he decided to translate the Bible into English, he realized that it was impossible to do that work in England and moved to Germany, living in exile there and in the Low Countries while he translated and printed first the New Testament and then half of the Old Testament. These were widely circulated—and denounced—in England. Yet Tyndale continued to write from abroad, publishing polemics in defense of the principles of the English reformation. He was seized in Antwerp, imprisoned in Vilvoorde Castle near Brussels, and burnt at the stake for heresy in 1536. Daniell discusses Tyndale's achievement as biblical translator and expositor, analyzes his writing, examines his stylistic influence on writers from Shakespeare to those of the twentieth century, and explores the reasons why he has not been more highly regarded. His book brings to life one of the great geniuses of the age.

30 review for William Tyndale: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ben Zornes

    When parents ask me what they should do to raise their children to be the sort of people that change the world I tell them that they ought to frequently read Christian biographies to their children. I know the profound impact Christian biography had in my own life; early and often my parents had me read the stories of Hudson Taylor, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, William Carey, Amy Carmichael, and many others and this cast a vision for the blessedness of following and honoring God. Obviously, this i When parents ask me what they should do to raise their children to be the sort of people that change the world I tell them that they ought to frequently read Christian biographies to their children. I know the profound impact Christian biography had in my own life; early and often my parents had me read the stories of Hudson Taylor, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, William Carey, Amy Carmichael, and many others and this cast a vision for the blessedness of following and honoring God. Obviously, this isn’t the only thing parents should do, but it is one very important thing; give your children a template for how they ought to live as they grow into adulthood. Well, biographies have simply become a constant companion for me along the way of life, and I usually read through a couple every year. I must say that “William Tyndale" by David Daniell was certainly the most scholastically intense biography I’ve ever read (and as a result it took me about 2 years to get all the way through this one). I’m not a fast reader, but I’m not slow either; so this one is certainly not for the faint of heart, or the small of vocabulary, or short of attention span! If I were awarding stars I would award this one: 5 stars for scholarly depth, 3.5 stars for readability, and 5 stars for inspirational and convicting content. Daniell certainly shows painstaking thoroughness in tracing the uncertain beginnings of Tyndale, as well as elaborate on the educational and spiritual climate of his generation. It is apparent that anyone who delves into the world of Tyndale will need to be prepared to do their homework; the man was a genius and an incredible wordsmith and Daniell does a wonderful job of introducing his readers to the scholastic culture of Tyndall’s day. This was, for me at least, one of the most profound and convicting aspect of this book, the fact that the educational structure of Tyndale’s day (built upon the classical model of education) was remarkably superior to ours. It has introduced me to a whole new world of educational structure that I intend to pursue for myself and my children. An educational system that trains students to think logically and then write and speak forcefully. It rewarded intellectual robustness and punished slovenly minds. Tyndale was known in Europe for knowing seven languages as if he were a native of those languages. Such a mind is the result of tender nurture and rigorous exercise! Daniell could have made this volume more accessible to the lay reader; however, because of the towering height of Tyndale’s genius and work, it is as if Daniell endeavors to raise his readers to the highest level possible in understanding and appreciating not only Tyndale as a man of God, but as a thinker, Reformer, Bible translator, and contender of true Christianity. Tyndale came to prominence during the turbulent years of the early 1500s. He emerged from an obscure and seemingly humble childhood, and as he came of age it is clear that he was dissatisfied with the spiritual apathy and unfaithfulness to the Word of God of the Roman Catholic Church. He said of his time at Oxford (where he studied): “In the universities they have ordained that no man shall look in the Scripture until he be noselled [nursed] in heathen learning eight or nine years and armed with false principles with which he is clean shut out of the understanding of scripture”. It grieved him to see that men being prepared for the ministry were not taught Christ’s Word, but rather men’s opinions and philosophies! He recognized that when these scholars were finally allowed to access the Word they then “dispute all their lives about words and vain opinions, pertaining as much unto the healing of a man’s heel, as health of his soul.” Read the full review here!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Todd Miles

    Daniell's biography of Tyndale simultaneously teaches English Reformation history, the theology of justification by faith, while convincing the reader of the necessity and difficulty of Bible translation. The book is tough-sledding at times, particularly when Daniell summarizes the content of some of Tyndale's works. High points include his retelling of the history and his analysis of Tyndale's translations. especially the books of the Old Testament that Tyndale was able to finish before his exe Daniell's biography of Tyndale simultaneously teaches English Reformation history, the theology of justification by faith, while convincing the reader of the necessity and difficulty of Bible translation. The book is tough-sledding at times, particularly when Daniell summarizes the content of some of Tyndale's works. High points include his retelling of the history and his analysis of Tyndale's translations. especially the books of the Old Testament that Tyndale was able to finish before his execution. It is apparent that Daniell esteems Tyndale greatly, and sees his untimely, yet faithful, death as a travesty of justice that set Bible translation and the development of the written English language back to such a degree that the impact is still felt. Some may see such bias as a weakness, but it enhanced my reading experience. Incidentally, I will never watch "A Man for all Seasons" the same, and Thomas More is officially on my list of historical villians for his criminal treatment of Tyndale (for what it is worth). I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Better yet, it gave me greater appreciation for the many English translation of the Bible that are in my office and home. It is really an embarrassment of riches, but one for which I am profoundly grateful.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brian Collins

    Daniell's biography of Tyndale is a scholarly treatment that pays close attention not only to the events of Tyndale's life but also to his writings and translations. Daniell, whose specialty is Shakespeare, gives close attention to Tyndale's style and his influence of the English langauge and subsequent Bible translations. Daniell all stands firmly opposed to revisionist accounts that minimize Roman Catholic opposition to seeing the Scriptures in English or that paint Thomas More in glowing colo Daniell's biography of Tyndale is a scholarly treatment that pays close attention not only to the events of Tyndale's life but also to his writings and translations. Daniell, whose specialty is Shakespeare, gives close attention to Tyndale's style and his influence of the English langauge and subsequent Bible translations. Daniell all stands firmly opposed to revisionist accounts that minimize Roman Catholic opposition to seeing the Scriptures in English or that paint Thomas More in glowing colors. Though not written as a devotional biography, Daniell so highlights the skill with which Tyndale translated the Scriptures that the Christian cannot be but grateful for God's gifting the church with such a man.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Luke Thomas

    Academic Biography The biography of Tyndale is an excellent academic account that studies the translation work of the martyred reformer. His love of scripture, his painstaking commitment to translation work, and his use of the English language are all inspirational and fascinating. It includes how Tyndale relates to other contemporaries such as Thomas More, Martin Luther, Erasmus, and the reform movement as a whole. The argument is that because if Tyndale, the whole of English translation of the Academic Biography The biography of Tyndale is an excellent academic account that studies the translation work of the martyred reformer. His love of scripture, his painstaking commitment to translation work, and his use of the English language are all inspirational and fascinating. It includes how Tyndale relates to other contemporaries such as Thomas More, Martin Luther, Erasmus, and the reform movement as a whole. The argument is that because if Tyndale, the whole of English translation of the Bible was given a clear, simple, yet rich foundation that came from the mind of the reformer. I recommend this book for those passionate about the reformation.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Calvin Coulter

    Most excellent. the author obviously is passionate about Tyndale and has managed to convey not this only but something of the genius of the man, as well as the passion he had for the plain unadulterated word of God. I have learned much about Tyndale surely, but also gained insight to the whole matter of translation. I found this a rewarding read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    This is both a biography and a literary analysis of William Tyndale's writings. If there is anything to be known about Tyndale, that history has retained, it is to be found in this very complete consideration. Reading this book requires diligence, determination, and hard work. William Tyndale is a man of whom the world was not worthy. Of all of the reformers he seems to be among those who were most godly, and good. One episode from his life particularly demonstrates this fact; during his final im This is both a biography and a literary analysis of William Tyndale's writings. If there is anything to be known about Tyndale, that history has retained, it is to be found in this very complete consideration. Reading this book requires diligence, determination, and hard work. William Tyndale is a man of whom the world was not worthy. Of all of the reformers he seems to be among those who were most godly, and good. One episode from his life particularly demonstrates this fact; during his final imprisonment prior to his martyrdom it is said--"he converted his keeper, the keeper's daughter, and others of his household. Also the rest that were with Tyndale conversant in the castle, reported of him, that if he were not a good Christian man, they could not tell whom to trust" Of his scholastic, and linguistic abilities he has few historic rivals. His words shaped the English language and continue to be printed in the King James Bible even today. He was a master of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew in an era when the original languages were largely lost. He was ever diligent in study, translation, and revision even until his end. Speaking as a "plough boy" I am grateful to God for the grace extended to the English speaking world in the person of William Tyndale.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike E.

    Read this for 2nd time with our men's group, finished December 2018. Parts of this book are excellent. Much of this book reads like a dissertation seeking to recruit Ph.D. candidates to to further research on x and y. Tyndale: what a life! ============ Did you know that Tyndale is responsible for virtually all of the KJV NT? This man has, because of his Bible translation work, influenced the English language more than anyone else. This biography is great history and suspense. Tyndale died for his fa Read this for 2nd time with our men's group, finished December 2018. Parts of this book are excellent. Much of this book reads like a dissertation seeking to recruit Ph.D. candidates to to further research on x and y. Tyndale: what a life! ============ Did you know that Tyndale is responsible for virtually all of the KJV NT? This man has, because of his Bible translation work, influenced the English language more than anyone else. This biography is great history and suspense. Tyndale died for his faith and calling--to translate the Bible into English. People in England were killed for possessing the Bible in their language in his day. A key sentence in the book and in the plot of Tyndale's life is this: "Tyndale's offense has been to offer the people Paul in English, and translate four key New Testament words (presbuteros, ekklesia, agape, metanoeo) in their correct Greek meanings (senior, congregation, love, repent) instead of priest, church, charity and do penance." This book was written by a scholar who is not thinking too much about a non-academic audience. I still recommend it. QUOTES: The Constitutions of Oxford of 1408 expressly forbade the translation of any part of Scripture into English by any man on his own authority, under pain of punishment is a heretic. (57) England was blessed as a nation in that the language of its principal book, as the Bible in English rapidly became, was the fountain from which flowed the lucidity, suppleness and expressive range of the greatest prose thereafter. (116) (re-reading this for a men's group) INTRODUCTION 1. Are you surprised that Tyndale is responsible for nine-tenths of the KJV NT? What does this tell you about the quality and durability of his work? 2. What do you make of people carrying around "pocket volumes" of Tyndale's recent work? How does accessibility to your Bible (physical, electronic, phone, computer, tablet, etc.) relate to you reading it? 3. What is Tyndale's vision for his life as he was about to leave England? 4. What was remarkable about Tyndale according to Daniell? CHAPTER 1 1. Who is John Stokesley? Why is he significant when studying the life of William Tyndale (WT)? 2. WT, a poor farm boy became a brilliant scholar in spit of humble upbringings: True of False? Discuss his family of origin/background. 3. How many languages did WT know, including English? Name them. 4. What is the occasion for Daniell to speak of "the most rural Americans" and "urban Australians?" 5. Was WT a big fan of the ballads of Robin Hood? Why or why not? CHAPTER 3 1. Was Willam Tyndale a regular at the White Horse pub? Do you think that you would have been? 2. What level of detail do we have about Tyndale at Cambridge? What is Daniell's theory about why WT went to Cambridge? (51-52) Why did Tyndale not stay at the older and more prestigious Oxford? 3. Was WT ordained a priest? 4. What was the difference between the English Bibles (or fragments of English Bibles) of Tyndlae's day and the English translation of Tyndale himself? Why was this important? How would this have impacted Tyndale's preaching? (57-58) 5. Was WT a country boy? Why did he move to Gloucestershire? (59) 6. Why did Erasmus produce a printed Greek New Testament? What was contained within it? What were some of the controversies that arose because of it? What thousand-year "unchallengeability" ended with its publication? (59-61) 7. According to Daniell, what distinguishes Erasmus from Luther or Tyndale? (69) "Did Erasmus seriously believe that a successful, vigorous, amoral, independent arms-trader might by some chance engineered by his pious wife settle down and study a rambling, rather disorganized Latin monologue on virtue, illuminated by reference to the best classical humanist texts and the earlier Fathers, and as a result solemnly leave his mistress and his energetic ways for his wife's extreme piety?" (70) 8. Let's discuss what may be Tyndale's most famous words excepting his translation work, "I defy the Pope and all his laws . . 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 dost." CHAPTER 8 1. Who was Thomas Bilney? What doctrine did he discover by reading the Tyndale's New Testament? What type of reformation did he espouse? (176-77) 2. In what way was the execution of heretics by burning virtuous according to the Roman Catholic Church? (176) 3. What account of More’s is described as “hyper-satanic?” (182) Did he always act this way? 4. What event caused Tyndale to begin anti-clerical attacks? (189) 5. On p. 193 Daniell describes Tyndale's NT glosses as informative, not polemical or "bitter." Please weigh-in on this. Read Mt. 16:18. Does "Peter" refer to "every Christian man and woman?" Or, does "Peter" refer to the man that Jesus sovereignly chose to lead the Twelve? In other words, is Tyndale (and Daniell) guilty of reading the priesthood of all believers into a text which does not substantiate it? Cf. I Peter 2:4-5. What passages in the NT support the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers (POAB)? If the NT teaches the POAB, would you support a godly mother baptizing her own believing daughter? Defend your answer. 6. Where did Tyndale spend his last years prior to imprisonment? (201) 7. Who was Anne Boleyn? What book did she recommend to her husband? Why was he interested in WT? (209) 8. What was the "one note" Tyndale sung? What do you make of his response to Henry VIII quoted by Vaughan? (216) 9. What does Tyndale say to John Frith in his second letter about his wife’s spiritual condition? (219) What would our men’s fellowship be like if one or more of us was executed for believing in justification by faith?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex Sachak

    Slightly polemical but a great read on a brilliant man.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David

    The great heretic of the undotted "i"! This is a fantastic overview of the life and work of Tyndale. Since there is not a lot of primary biographical sources on Tyndale from the 16th century (a lot of information comes from John Foxe), Daniell naturally explores his thought from the writings he left behind. This includes, pleasantly but not surprisingly, quite a good deal of linguistic analysis of his translation work. Tyndale's translations are compared to those of Martin Luther, Erasmus, Jerom The great heretic of the undotted "i"! This is a fantastic overview of the life and work of Tyndale. Since there is not a lot of primary biographical sources on Tyndale from the 16th century (a lot of information comes from John Foxe), Daniell naturally explores his thought from the writings he left behind. This includes, pleasantly but not surprisingly, quite a good deal of linguistic analysis of his translation work. Tyndale's translations are compared to those of Martin Luther, Erasmus, Jerome, and the later Authorized English Version (which ended up using something like over 80% of Tyndale's New Testament translation). Daniell remarks at one point that, where the Authorized Version differs from Tyndale, Tyndale's is always easier to understand and more modern (despite being nearly a century older than the AV). It's truly a shame that he never had the chance to finish his translation of the Old Testament (especially the Psalms and Prophets). Tyndale may very well be one of the more undervalued reformers, but we get the sense that he didn't care much for fame. He was honest about the weaknesses in his own work and remarked on one occasion that so long as the Bible was translated into English, he didn't care to be the one to do it. His hope was that the knowledge of God would fill the earth as the waters cover the sea and that the biblical illiteracy crippling England (even among the clergy) would give way until the ploughboy knew more of God's word than the priests of his own day. His work, of course, would cost him his life; he was betrayed, imprisoned, and executed by imperial orders. It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of William Tyndale, and Daniell does a great job chronicling his legacy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Shelnutt

    If this is your first foray into Tyndale’s life, I wouldn’t recommend this biography. It’s technical approach assumes the reader is already familiar with the man and his ministry. That said, Daniels does a commendable job of filling in details and of exploring various hypotheses that have grown up around the Tyndale lore. Though Tyndale was Luther’s contemporary, there is no evidence the two ever met. However, the author engages in profitable discussion on Tyndale’s academic interactions with Lu If this is your first foray into Tyndale’s life, I wouldn’t recommend this biography. It’s technical approach assumes the reader is already familiar with the man and his ministry. That said, Daniels does a commendable job of filling in details and of exploring various hypotheses that have grown up around the Tyndale lore. Though Tyndale was Luther’s contemporary, there is no evidence the two ever met. However, the author engages in profitable discussion on Tyndale’s academic interactions with Luther’s New Testament translations from the Greek. Tyndale’s own mastery of koine Greek eventually rivaled the giant of the day, Melanchthon. And as he found his own voice, Tyndale relied less and less on Luther’s commentaries. Almost even more impressive than his Greek was Tyndale’s grasp of Hebrew. He had the advantage of learning Greek at Oxford. Hebrew. however, was still a relatively new language to scholars in 16th century Europe. There were very few grammars available. Yet Tyndale managed to become efficient enough to translate several Old Testament books in such a manner that his choice of English words and creative phrasing are still staple in modern translations (i.e. passover, atonement, scapegoat, mercy seat, etc. ). The author delves into Tyndale’s betrayal by Henry Phillips. This tragic incident eventually led Tyndale to the stake in 1536. One wonders how much more this man could have accomplished if he had lived past the age of 42. Nevertheless, his desire to see even the ploughboy know the Scriptures was eventually fulfilled as others, like Miles Coverdale, took up the translator’s mantle. The eventual result was the time-tested King James Version, a translation that relied heavily on Tyndale’s original work.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ben Moran

    Daniell at his strongest is a fantastic biographer. He lucidly and succinctly explains the life of Tyndale and the religious/political culture of England and the continent in the early 16th century. As the details of Tyndale's life are limited, however, he spends a good deal of time analyzing Tyndale's writing. Of course, this is to be expected, as Tyndale's importance stems entirely from his translations of the Bible and his polemical work. The focus on the lexical properties of the writing wer Daniell at his strongest is a fantastic biographer. He lucidly and succinctly explains the life of Tyndale and the religious/political culture of England and the continent in the early 16th century. As the details of Tyndale's life are limited, however, he spends a good deal of time analyzing Tyndale's writing. Of course, this is to be expected, as Tyndale's importance stems entirely from his translations of the Bible and his polemical work. The focus on the lexical properties of the writing were very often interesting, but at times felt overwhelming and inappropriate for a biography. There were several strange moments where it appeared that Daniell was intent on reliving the battles of the 16th century - upholding Tyndale's theology while trashing More and the writing of the English bishops. Again, this is at times overbearing, but the value of this biography is not lost in the face of this wrangling. In short, it is far from perfect, but I would still highly recommend this as an introduction to an understanding of Tyndale's translations, life and politics. Furthermore, Daniell is an excellent close reader with a keen ear for the bounce and play of (especially monosyllabic) language. Though I said his extended semantic and lexical analysis feels at times inappropriate or at least out of place in this biography, there is certainly value in that analysis itself. "William Tyndale: A Biography" is worth the read, though I would advise potential readers not to hold the same expectations for this biography as one would for a biography of John F. Kennedy, for example.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eli Suddarth

    A hero of the faith if there ever was one, William Tyndale lived in exile and was eventually killed to bring the Word of God to the English speaking world. Until Tyndale's efforts in the early 16th century, the Catholic church dictated how, when, and by whom the Scriptures would be imparted to their parishioners, always in Latin (which few could understand) with a Vulgate translation that was lacking in the first place. Tyndale's vision that "even the plough-boy" could be personally transformed A hero of the faith if there ever was one, William Tyndale lived in exile and was eventually killed to bring the Word of God to the English speaking world. Until Tyndale's efforts in the early 16th century, the Catholic church dictated how, when, and by whom the Scriptures would be imparted to their parishioners, always in Latin (which few could understand) with a Vulgate translation that was lacking in the first place. Tyndale's vision that "even the plough-boy" could be personally transformed by the Word of God was realized in his lifetime with his several translations of the New Testament and books of the Old, and his legacy continues to this day. This biography is insightful, and carefully researched and written; an easy read as well, as the author chooses to tell the story rather than spew facts and numbers. Highly recommended, not only for Christians interested in the intense history of faith in God and the Bible, but for anyone interested in the history and linguistic properties of the English language, of which Tyndale is considered a pioneer.

  13. 4 out of 5

    G0thamite

    A solid review of the life of William Tyndale and his struggles to bring about the first printed New Testament translated from the Greek into English. After understanding the history, I now have a jaded opinion of Sir Thomas More, who played a part in Tyndale's downfall. Daniell spends a great deal of time discussing the English text in Tyndale's time and its superiority to other translators of the day. Great read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Excellent biography. Be forewarned: this is an academic biography, so it is dense at times. But scattered throughout are gems on the core convictions of Tyndale's life, as well as numerous insights into his brilliance as a translator. I left more grateful for the oft under-appreciated gift of a complete Bible in English, a debt which we owe primarily to Tyndale's labors.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Josh Czinger

    I enjoyed the author and his portrayal of Tyndale. His passion for the subject comes out in his writing. If his portrayal is to be believed, then the style of the book is no less than his homage paid to his subject.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    I profoundly enjoyed this biography of William Tyndale by David Daniell. I don't lightly throw around 5-star ratings but this one merited it. Warnings and caveats first: the book is not a "page-turner" or an easy read. Daniell has poured into this biography a lifetime of study in literature, history, the Scriptures, and Tyndale's life. But what at first may seem like a shortcoming is really part of the great worth of this book - namely that it is the result of a huge amount of research and reflec I profoundly enjoyed this biography of William Tyndale by David Daniell. I don't lightly throw around 5-star ratings but this one merited it. Warnings and caveats first: the book is not a "page-turner" or an easy read. Daniell has poured into this biography a lifetime of study in literature, history, the Scriptures, and Tyndale's life. But what at first may seem like a shortcoming is really part of the great worth of this book - namely that it is the result of a huge amount of research and reflection. This gives the book a certain authority and weight that it otherwise wouldn't have. There are extended sections where Daniell takes the reader through a dense and close reading of Tyndale's translations, marginal notes (comments), or other writings, in comparison with various other sources such as other translations (Jerome's Latin Vulgate, Luther's New Testament, other English versions like the 1611 Authorized Version, or even other revisions of Tyndale's own work). This can at times get tedious and tend to bog down in countless inscrutable details. However, there is a lot to be learned even in these sections. My advice is to buckle down and give it a shot, and if need be, skip ahead to the next section. The narrative-drive sections make for easier going, and Daniell does a good job of mixing the two regularly to keep things moving. I highly recommend listening to John Piper's 2006 conference message which was based almost entirely on his reading of this book: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/... William Tyndale was a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life and made a remarkable impact on the world not only in his time but also in our day. He does not get much attention compared to other reformers like Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli, but in terms of his impact on England and the English reformation, he is a major figure. Unfortunately we don't know as much about him as we do those other reformers. He did not live very long and did not write about himself much. He spent his active years in hiding, translating the Bible from the original languages with astounding skill and clarity into a vernacular English which still rings in our ears. This book not only gave me a deep appreciation for Tyndale, but renewed my appreciation for Bible translation and the gift of having the Scriptures in my own language - as well as the eternally significant work of those who to this day labor in translating the Scriptures into languages which do not yet have them. I think especially of the organization Wycliffe Bible Translators who ironically are following more in Tyndale's footsteps than Wycliffe's since Wycliffe (who lived more than 100 years before Tyndale) was only able to translate from the Latin Vulgate into English. It is amazing to think that when Tyndale translated Genesis 1:1, it was the first time in history that any ancient Hebrew had been translated into English. It is also amazing to think that in Tyndale's day, in the early 1500's, we hear of seven men being burned at the stake publicly for this heinous crime: teaching the Lord's Prayer to their families in English (instead of Latin). Many more similarly unthinkable persecutions and executions took place at this time in history, which we forget and ignore to our detriment. There are many more insights to be found throughout these pages. I recommend it very highly for anyone willing to brave a sometimes dense and daunting book - the rewards are great.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katelynn Richardson

    After reading this biography, and the excerpts of Tyndale’s translations and writings included within, this man has become a personal hero. His steady character, love for Christ, skill with language, and willingness to stand against lies--even at the risk of his own life--should be an inspiration to every Christian, especially those who read an English Bible, where even modern translations are still largely based in Tyndale’s work. Many don’t realize that for centuries, most people in England did After reading this biography, and the excerpts of Tyndale’s translations and writings included within, this man has become a personal hero. His steady character, love for Christ, skill with language, and willingness to stand against lies--even at the risk of his own life--should be an inspiration to every Christian, especially those who read an English Bible, where even modern translations are still largely based in Tyndale’s work. Many don’t realize that for centuries, most people in England did not have access to Scripture. No full English Bible was available until John Wycliff first translated it from the Latin Vulgate in the late 1300s. In 1408, possessing an English Bible was made illegal under the Constitutions of Oxford. Translating or even reading one, without the expressed permission of a bishop, was punishable under heresy laws. The Scripture was locked in Latn, a language few spoke, and accessible only through the priests, who conducted services in Latin (further perpetuating the problem). That’s why Tyndale was so revolutionary. Picking up the legacy of Wycliff, he fought to give the common people a Bible and eventually succeeded--though after being condemned as a heretic and burnt at the stake. He carried his mission to death, crying out the last words, “Lord! Open the King of England's eyes.” Tyndale was a powerhouse of the Reformation and the first to translate the Bible from Greek into English. Moved by the Word of God, he knew every man must have access to it in his own tongue. His care for the common man spurred him to make this profound promise to a clergyman, “If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy who drives a plough to know more of the scriptures than you do.” David Daniell has done an excellent job researching and organizing William Tyndale: A Biography. Though it is academic in tone, dense with information, and at times difficult to sift through, it covers so much ground. The detail Daniell includes not only provides context about other Reformation figures, but also explains aspects of Tyndale rarely discussed--his rhetorical craftsmanship, his skill in both Hebrew and Greek, his influence on shaping the English language. I had no idea how many phrases and words he coined. Even in the tedious word-by-word analysis of translations found on many pages, I found myself captivated. This book does assume some prior knowledge of the English Reformation. It’s a great read, but probably not the first book you want to pick up. That said, if you have some familiarity with the background, I would highly recommend giving it a try! It’s not everyone's cup of tea, but even if you have to skim past the frequent asides and lengthy quotations, you’ll gain a lot of insight. Read my full review on my book blog here.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dean

    A very interesting books. Slightly on the academic side but clearly a very thorougher biography of William Tyndale's life and accomplishments. One of the best features of this book is the way that Daniell focuses upon the craft of Tyndale's translation and phrasing. I particularly liked the way that he compared it to the Latin and the Lollard versions. I also got the sense of how Tyndale was able to communicate the gospel in a way that would have been more understood by the 'boy at the plough'. A very interesting books. Slightly on the academic side but clearly a very thorougher biography of William Tyndale's life and accomplishments. One of the best features of this book is the way that Daniell focuses upon the craft of Tyndale's translation and phrasing. I particularly liked the way that he compared it to the Latin and the Lollard versions. I also got the sense of how Tyndale was able to communicate the gospel in a way that would have been more understood by the 'boy at the plough'. It's quite difficult to believe how England had got itself in such a position where translating the Bible from Latin to English was such a heinous crime. Whilst Daniell explains this well it is still quite difficult to get one's head around this - especially when all of Europe had access to the bible in their own languages.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    In many ways rightly considered the definitive biography of William Tyndale, this reader could still have hoped for something a bit more neutral in tone and dense in detail. Daniell is the pre-eminent Tyndale scholar and this contribution to that study is immense. It is clear, however, that Daniell approaches Tyndale as almost a mythic hero figure, and assigns all his (many) enemies an equally almost mythic evilness. Tyndale was undoubtedly a great scholar and man of integrity and faith. Daniell In many ways rightly considered the definitive biography of William Tyndale, this reader could still have hoped for something a bit more neutral in tone and dense in detail. Daniell is the pre-eminent Tyndale scholar and this contribution to that study is immense. It is clear, however, that Daniell approaches Tyndale as almost a mythic hero figure, and assigns all his (many) enemies an equally almost mythic evilness. Tyndale was undoubtedly a great scholar and man of integrity and faith. Daniell does not need to fawn quite so strongly over Tyndale for that picture to be painted. The details Daniell pulls together in various places are important for the study of Tyndale, but do bog down the text at times. I have certainly read worse, but I have read better. All-in-all, for anyone seriously interested in Tyndale, this is a must-read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joel Zartman

    Not only does Daniell know how to deal with the theology and the politics, he knows how to deal with Tyndale’s considerable and daunting linguistic and literary skills. One of the best things about this biography is the guided appreciation in the problems of translating an ancient text into English. Tyndale’s translation has dominated English Bible translation for centuries, and his phrasing and rhythms have informed the way English is spoken since people have read them. The observations Daniel Not only does Daniell know how to deal with the theology and the politics, he knows how to deal with Tyndale’s considerable and daunting linguistic and literary skills. One of the best things about this biography is the guided appreciation in the problems of translating an ancient text into English. Tyndale’s translation has dominated English Bible translation for centuries, and his phrasing and rhythms have informed the way English is spoken since people have read them. The observations Daniel offers are interesting for anybody who cares about making best use of the English language; illuminating too.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tim Chesterton

    I'm glad to have read this book, which did a lot to fill out my knowledge of Tyndale. I found it a little tedious at times, and think it could have been cut down by about 25% without losing anything in the editing. Some of the exhaustive descriptions of Tyndale's polemical writings were difficult to follow and might have been abbreviated. The part I enjoyed the most was the analysis of his Hebrew translations toward the end, and the comparison of them with other translations (AV, Vulgate, Luther I'm glad to have read this book, which did a lot to fill out my knowledge of Tyndale. I found it a little tedious at times, and think it could have been cut down by about 25% without losing anything in the editing. Some of the exhaustive descriptions of Tyndale's polemical writings were difficult to follow and might have been abbreviated. The part I enjoyed the most was the analysis of his Hebrew translations toward the end, and the comparison of them with other translations (AV, Vulgate, Luther's German etc.). I have copies of both Tyndale's New Testaments (1526 and 1534) and this book has definitely motivated me to read them.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Greg Wilson

    Tyndale was an extraordinary man who died a martyr's death. He was an English reformer whose goal was for the ploughboy to know more scripture than the learned men of the Catholic church. When he died at the stake, his final words were "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes." Much of the King James Bible was a direct result of his Greek and Hebrew translation work. Very detailed biography of over 400 pages, but worth the time invested.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael Burchfield

    Excellent account of William Tyndale, his translation work, the history surrounding his work and his life, from birth to martyrdom. For those not interested in a lot of detail regarding how he used language and his actual translation work, a less detailed account will suffice. But for a reader whines interested in a thorough treatment of Tyndale's life, times and work, Daniell's book is essential.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    This is outstanding. The historical work is first rate, and the literary biographical aspects are impressive. My read was for teaching prep, so I didn't read every word, mainly focusing on the narrative chapters. But Daniell is a fantastic writer and this is highly recommended.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stan Shelley

    Tyndale is one of the greatest men in history and Daniell does him justice. Tyndale, more than anyone else, was responsible for giving us an accurate and beautiful Bible in English. I gave it four stars because sometimes the book gets a bit too detailed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richelle

    This book isn't just a biography of Tyndale, but also a history of the era he lived in, and a commentary on translation and publication at the time. It's quite informative, but dry and slow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dónal Walsh

    Excellent albeit quite long in parts, bio of Tyndale. Huge lessons for today

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jarwani Sembor

    I want to read a biography by Williams tyndale

  29. 5 out of 5

    Braden Bolton

    This book was skillfully written and includes lots of information about William Tyndale, the history of Bible translations in Europe, and history of the monarchy in England. Some of the information I was not able to understand due to a lack of historical knowledge prior to reading, yet the writer explains the themes he presents in a way that the reader can infer a lot from his statements. There was a lot of information to process and filter through to get to the strict linguistic focus, which wa This book was skillfully written and includes lots of information about William Tyndale, the history of Bible translations in Europe, and history of the monarchy in England. Some of the information I was not able to understand due to a lack of historical knowledge prior to reading, yet the writer explains the themes he presents in a way that the reader can infer a lot from his statements. There was a lot of information to process and filter through to get to the strict linguistic focus, which was the reason why I was reading the book, but everything I was able to glean from this work has been beneficial to my learning, to my career, and to my personal life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lynette

    (I definitely skimmed sections of this large scholarly volume, but I gained so much from what I read) “And when the gospel is preached unto us we believe the mercy of God, and in believing we believe the spirit of God, which is the earnest of eternal life, and we are in eternal life already, and feel already in our hearts the sweetness thereof, and are overcome with the kindness of God and Christ and therefore love the will of God, and of love are ready to work freely, and not to obtain that whic (I definitely skimmed sections of this large scholarly volume, but I gained so much from what I read) “And when the gospel is preached unto us we believe the mercy of God, and in believing we believe the spirit of God, which is the earnest of eternal life, and we are in eternal life already, and feel already in our hearts the sweetness thereof, and are overcome with the kindness of God and Christ and therefore love the will of God, and of love are ready to work freely, and not to obtain that which is given us freely and whereof we are heirs already” – William Tyndale in The Parable of the Wicked Mammon (quoted on page 164-165)

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