- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics (October 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140434771
- ISBN-13: 978-0140434774
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Obedience of a Christian Man (Penguin Classics) Paperback – October 1, 2000
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The Obedience of a Christian Man by William Tyndale, a principal translator of the King James Bible, was published in 1528, three years after the first publication of his English translation of the New Testament. Obedience defends the basic goal of his translation, and of the English Reformation that he helped incite: opening direct access for all believers, even the "boy that driveth the plough" to Scripture, the supreme authority of the Church. For reformers such as Tyndale, obedience to Scripture was a revolutionary act requiring complete commitment. Tyndale described this commitment with forcefulness that still reads fresh today:
To preach God's word is too much for half a man. And to minister a temporal kingdom is too much for half a man also. Either other requireth an whole man. One therefore cannot well do both.
The book is a landmark of political thought, expounding another fundamental principle of the English Reformation: that the king is the supreme authority of the state. (Tyndale's ideal of royal authority, however, is determined by Scripture's authority: "The most despised person in his realm is the king's brother and fellow member with him and equal with him in the kingdom of God and Christ.") The Obedience of Christian Man includes much rhetoric about obedience of woman to man that now appears archaic and offensive, but its tough-minded description of the uneasy relationship between power and love is timeless. --Michael Joseph Gross
About the Author
William Tyndale (c1495-1536) produced the first translation of the New Testament from the original Greek rather than the church's Latin version. It was denounced by the English bishops and Tyndale settled in Antwerp. Arrested for heresy and imprisoned in 1535, he was then strangled and burnt at the stake. David Daniell is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of London, author of the authoritative biography of Tyndale (Yale, 1994) and editor of Tyndale's Biblical translations.
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Top customer reviews
Tyndale here is very readable, accessible, and is worth the inquiry particularly for anyone interested in the Christian life as told by this brilliant and dedicated scholar. The text was modernized, which is commendable. OCM was written in the first tumultuous wave of the Protestant Reformation, so Tyndale can be somewhat ruthless with the Roman Catholic church and the papacy (that eventually had him burned at the stake). But Tyndale is much more than an English Luther. You would not find a Shakespeare in Luther. That honor goes to the Englishman. His English sustains both simplicity and grandeur, economy and splendor. As scholars still maintain, "no Tyndale, no Shakespeare."
I recommend this book certainly, but I commend you to William Tyndale himself, particularly if you love the English language. [Protestant Reformation, Tudor England, English language]
"O how sore differeth the doctrine of Christ and his apostles from the doctrine of the pope and his apostles!"
"God requireth the law to be kept by all men, let them keep it for whatever purpose they will. Will they not keep the law? So vouchsafeth he not that they enjoy this temporal life."
"...mark this: the root of all evil, the great damnation and most terrible wrath and vengeance of God that we are in, is natural blindness. We are all out of the right way, every man his ways: one judgeth this best, and another that to be best. Now is worldly wit nothing else but craft and subtlety, to obtain that which we judge falsely to be best. As I err in my wit, so err I in my will. When I judge that to be evil which indeed is good, then hate I that which is good. And when I suppose that good which is evil indeed, then love I evil."
"Let us receive all things of God, whether it be good or bad: let us humble ourselves under his mighty hand, and submit ourselves unto his nurture and chastising, and not withdraw ourselves from his correction."
"Compare the pope's doctrine unto the word of God, and thou shalt find that there hath been, and yet is, a great going out of the way; and that evil men and deceivers (as Paul prophesied in 2 Timothy 3) have prevailed, and waxed worse and worse, beguiling others as they are beguiled themselves."
"Now must a sacrament be an outward sign that may be seen, to signify, to represent, and to put a man in remembrance of some spiritual promise, which cannot be seen except by faith only."
"Antichrist turneth the roots of the trees upward. He maketh the goodness of God the branches, and our goodness the roots. We must be first good, after antichrist's doctrine, and move God, and compel him to be good again for our goodness' sake: so must God's goodness spring out of our goodness. Nay, verily, God's goodness is the root of all goodness; and our goodness, if we have any, springeth out of his goodness."
Much of what contemporary English speaking Protestant Christians assume (God is the source of life, God rules through human leaders, leave a place for Divine vengeance, believing leaders should rule with truth, Christ is the believer's mediator before God, etc.) is originally offered here. Writing from the Reformation's genesis, Tyndale is the first to proffer an English theology.
Editor David Daniell provides a helpful text with this paperback edition (2000). He alters Tyndale's 16th century language slightly for the sake of contemporary learning. Readers are focused by "Obedience's" idioms and practical theological application as well as amused by its various Reform era words (i.e. "volo", "shriven", aneled", "neverthelater", "menpleasers", etc.). These terms are presented with no textual definition and thus help convey the book's 16th century flavor. These idioms do not distract Tyndale's original theological tenants from effective 21st century application.
"Obedience" is somewhat technical and assumes readers' biblical familiarity. Tyndale is replete with Scripture quotes, and illusions. His illustrations are interesting- taken from his 1520s and 30s life as a fugitive from King Henry VIII's sheriffs (William Tyndale was ultimately captured in Belgium and burned as a heretic on October 6, 1536... 470 years ago this month). (Beware, as with all the earliest Protestant Reformers, Tyndale has a pronounced disregard, and verbal dislike, for Roman Catholic clergy and the Pope.) This book is recommended to all 16th century buffs, theology students, church historians, and pastors.