This translation of the New Testament into English from its original Greek was printed in Germany in 1534 and smuggled back into England. It therefore escaped the fate of Tyndale’s previous version, which had been seized and publicly burnt by the authorities. The 1534 edition outraged the clerical establishment by giving the laity access to the word of God, in print in English for the first time. Tyndale, who was already in exile for political reasons, was hunted down and subsequently burned at the stake for blasphemy.
For the next eighty yearsthe years of Shakespeare among othersTyndale’s masterly translation formed the basis of all English bibles. And when the authorized King James Bible was published in 1611, many of its finest passages were taken unchanged, though unacknowledged, from Tyndale’s work.
Although, therefore, this astounding work of pioneering scholarship was the basis of all subsequent English bibles until after the Second World War, and though it was the version of the Bible used by some of our greatest poets, it is today virtually unknown because of its suppression for political reasons because of its difficult early sixteenth-century spelling.
Now for the first time this version is published in modern spelling, as the modern book it once was, so that this masterly work of English prose by one of the great geniuses of the as is available to today’s reader.