Tyndale's Old Testament

Translated by William Tyndale; Edited by David Daniell

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In the 1530s William Tyndale translated the first fourteen books of the Old Testament into English from the original Hebrew, a translation that laid the foundation of all subsequent English bibles, including the celebrated Authorized Version (King James Bible) of 1611. Tyndale was the first to translate the Hebrew Bible into English—the first, in fact, to translate anything from Hebrew into English: At the time, that language was virtually unknown in England, and Tyndale had learned his excellent Hebrew while he was exiled to the Low Countries and Germany for political reasons. The publication of Tyndale's Old Testament, on top of his earlier and later translations of the New Testament, outraged the clerical establishment by giving the people access to the word of God in English. Tyndale was hunted down and subsequently burned at the stake for blasphemy.

Tyndale translated and printed the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) in 1530 as a pocket book, revising Genesis in 1534. He also translated and printed the Book of Jonah, probably in 1531. In addition, there is now little doubt that after translating the Pentateuch, Tyndale went on to translate the historical books of the Old Testament—Joshua to 2 Chronicles—for there is overwhelming evidence that those books, as they appeared in the 1537 "Matthew's" Bible, were Tyndale's work.

The present volume contains the Pentateuch (unavailable now except in an out-of-print and unreliably edited Victorian facsimile) and the historical books, which have not been in print since 1551 and are of great importance both to scholars and to the general reader. The spelling in the texts has been modernized to show them as the modern productions they once were, and Tyndale's introductions and marginal notes are included. David Daniell's introduction explores Tyndale's astonishing achievement in single-handedly turning the Hebrew into English of great variety, force, and beauty.

David Daniell is senior lecturer in English at University College, London.

"The English Old Testament that underpinned the King James Bible and laid the foundations of language and sayings now taken for granted is [now] published for the first time in nearly 450 years."—Ruth Gledhill, Times of London

"Magnificent. . . . A handsome production [and] a work of spiritual beauty."—Edward Norman, The Times, London

"Splendid. . . . This is not only an elegant edition of a long buried English classic; it is also a fine work of scholarship by an editor sensitive to the beauty of our language."—Hugh Trevor-Roper, Sunday Telegraph

"Any library that has Daniell's previous volume will want to add this one to its collection. Recommended to public, academic, and seminary libraries."—Library Journal

"This edition of Tyndale's 1530s translation, with modern spelling and layout, invites reading the Bible connectedly, and for pleasure."—Margot Lawrence, Weekend Telegraph

"A most valuable contribution to the study of the Bible in English."—International Review of Biblical Studies

"Daniell's edition . . . will fill a lamentable lacuna on the shelves of scholar and layperson who share a love of the Bible in English."—Peter W. Coxon, Biblical Interpretation
ISBN: 9780300052114
Publication Date: November 25, 1992
688 pages, 8 1/4 x 10 1/4
Tyndale's New Testament

Translated by William Tyndale; In a modern-spelling edition

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William Tyndale

A Biography

David Daniell

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