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The October Testament: The New Testament of the New Matthew Bible Paperback – April 6, 2016
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About the Author
The primary author of the October Testament is the English martyr William Tyndale. This is his final New Testament translation of 1535. Two years later, his friend John Rogers first published these scriptures in a little-known but very important Reformation Bible called the Matthew Bible. A second edition was published in 1549, from which this update is made. Rogers was martyred in 1555, burned at the stake in Smithfield, England. The wine-colored cover, therefore, is symbolic of the blood with which this bible was bought. Ruth Magnusson Davis is founder and editor of the New Matthew Bible Project. Her work is to update the Matthew Bible: not to make a modern bible, but to keep the language of the original as much as possible, which she calls the real language of the faith. Because the KJV New Testament was largely taken from Tyndale, readers will find much that is familiar here, and beautiful, but will find it easier to understand than the KJV. Ruth, a retired lawyer, is a scholar of early modern English, the writings of William Tyndale, and the Matthew Bible. In 2009 she retired from professional practice in order to undertake this work full-time. In October 2015, she completed the New Testament, "The October Testament." Then she began work on the interior layout and attending to all the details of publishing. In March 2016 the October Testament finally became available for sale, and was immediately well received. Ruth's fine editorial hand is almost unnoticeable. Tyndale continues to shine through. Rogers' style in his annotations is distinctly his. Readers comment repeatedly on both the flow and the clarity of the New Matthew Bible scriptures, and also on the beauty of the original style, which Ruth, with her delicate touch, has masterfully retained.
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Tyndale's translation as gently updated by Ruth Magnusson Davis gives me insights that I had not had before. The inclusion of the notes made by Myles Coverdale is also a blessing. And the preliminary material about the history of the New Matthew Bible and how Ruth has applied herself to gently updating it is fascinating if like me you have an interest in church history and linguistics. But don't be afraid, this book is not for scholars or academics, it is for everyone who can read ordinary everyday English.
I've been reading the Bible for decades, using various different english translations. It appears to me that Ruth has a fine eye for detail and has worked diligently to understand how best to update Tyndale's early modern english, while retaining just a soupcon of slightly old fashioned but not incomprehensible words and syntax in order to retain the majesty and dignity of the text.
May the Lord enable Ruth Magnusson Davis to complete the New Matthew Bible.
“When the town clerk had ceased the people, he said: ye men of Ephesus, what man is it that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which came from heaven. Seeing then that no man saith here against, ye ought to be content, and to do nothing rashly: For ye have brought hither these men which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet despisers of your goddess. Wherefore if Demetrius and the craftsmen which are with him, have any saying to any man, the law is open, and there are rulers, let them accuse one another. If ye go about any other thing, it may be determined in a lawful congregation. For we are in jeopardy to be accused of this day’s business: forasmuch as there is no cause whereby we may give a reckoning of this concourse of people. And when he had thus spoken, he let the congregation depart.”
Not only punctuation and word order, but so many words don’t make sense in this passage. We don’t use ‘ruler’ this way, or ‘cease.’ A supplement at the back of the New Testament explains how ‘congregation’ was used in an obsolete way, and also ‘church’.
“When the town clerk had quieted the people, he said, Men of Ephesus, what man is it that does not know that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana and of the image that came from heaven? Seeing then that no one here denies this, you ought to be quiet, and do nothing rashly. For you have brought here these men who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. And so if Demetrius and the craftsmen that are with him have any charge against anyone, the court is open, and there are deputies. Let them bring complaints against one another. If you have any other matter, it may be determined in a lawful assembly. For we are at risk of charges being made against us for this day’s uproar, since there is no good reason we can give to account for this mob of people.
And when he had thus spoken, he let the assembly depart.”
The original notes from the Matthew Bible are updated also, and are eye-opening. Highly recommended.
The digital version, available on the Olive Tree app contains the following in the introduction to this Testament:
A thoughtful examination of Charismatic spiritual practices, and a clear explanation of why they ought to be avoided as not only unbiblical, but also spiritually dangerous.
The October Testament:
The full New Testament from the Matthew Bible, gently and faithfully updated for today, containing the scriptures as updated herein, the original Matthew Bible commentaries, and additional notes from Tyndale’s 1534 annotated New Testament. It also contains Tyndale’s prologue to the book of (Tyndale NT: 21st Cen) Romans, which he took largely from Martin Luther, and which John Rogers incorporated in the Matthew Bible.