From Publishers Weekly
The story of William Tyndale's translation of the Bible is familiar. Caught up in the Reformation's efforts to provide ordinary readers with the Scriptures in the vernacular, Tyndale set out to produce a faithful translation of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Old and New Testament. As journalist Moynahan points out in this exhaustively detailed biography, Tyndale's desire to complete such a translation brought him into conflict with the king and his court, for the fruits of the Reformation had yet to make their way into England. Thus, Tyndale set out on a life of self-imposed exile in Germany and Amsterdam, where he translated and printed his Bible. As his work made its way into England-thanks in large part to Anne Boleyn's advocacy-Sir Thomas More, one of England's most active heretic hunters, attempted in every possible way to have Tyndale tried as a heretic. Moynahan recounts the oft-told story of Tyndale's subterfuge and his remarkable contribution to the history of Bible translation while recreating the political and religious intrigue of early 16th-century England. Moynahan captures well More's hatred of Tyndale, whom he called "a hellhound in the kennel of the devil," as well as Tyndale's burning desire to contribute to God's work through Bible translation, even if it meant death at the stake. As Moynahan points out, Tyndale's translation still exists in the King James Version, since his words account for 84% of its New Testament and 76% of its Old Testament.
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*Starred Review* The Bible contains few stories more compelling than the one Moynahan tells here: the saga of how William Tyndale defied Church and King--at the eventual cost of his own life--to translate and print Holy Writ in English. In a narrative taut with tension and alive with fiery personalities, Moynahan chronicles the improbable career of the Oxford scholar who risked everything to produce a vernacular version of Scripture. When ecclesiastical opposition frustrated his translation work in England, Tyndale journeyed to the continent, there enduring 11 years of privation and danger as he translated and published the New Testament and much of the Old Testament, soon smuggled to eager English readers. Shrewd detective work enables Moynahan to track the fugitive during these difficult years, when royal and ecclesiastical agents frequently attempted to ensnare him. But in his most astonishing feat of sleuthing, Moynahan discovers that the man who masterminded Tyndale's eventual capture and execution was probably the renowned saint Thomas More, who himself died beneath the executioner's ax for opposing Henry VIII's divorce. Though he acknowledges that Tyndale and More shared ironically similar views of the king's matrimonial maneuvers, Moynahan generally accentuates the sharp contrast between the fearless champion of individual conscience and the ferocious foe of heretics. A gripping historical drama. Bryce Christensen
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