Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Tyndale, William

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From volume XXIII of the work.
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TYNDALE, William (c. 1484-1536), translator of the New Testament and Pentateuch (English Bible vol. viii. pp. 384, 385), was born in Gloucestershire, possibly in the parish of Slimbridge, about the year 1484. Of his early education nothing is known; about his twentieth year he went to Oxford, where tradition has it that he was entered of Magdalen Hall. He afterwards resided at Cambridge. Ordained to the priesthood, probably towards the close of 1521, he entered the household of Sir John Walsh, Little Sodbury, Gloucestershire, in the capacity of chaplain and domestic tutor. Here he spent two years, and in the course of his private studies began to contemplate seriously the work of translating the New Testament into English. His sympathy with the "new learning," which he had not concealed in conversation with the higher clergy of the neighbourhood at Sir John's table, led to his being summoned before the chancellor of Worcester as a suspected heretic; and "with the goodwill of his master" he left for London in the summer of 1523. There he preached a little at St Dunstan-in-the-West, and worked at his translation, living for some months in the house of Humphrey Monmouth, an alderman; but finding publication impossible in England he sailed for Hamburg in May 1524. After visiting Luther at Witten berg, he settled in Cologne, where he made some progress with a quarto edition of his New Testament, when the interference of the authorities of the town compelled his flight to Worms. The octavo edition (see vol. viii. p. 384) was here completed in 1526. Where Tyndale resided in the interval between 1526 and 1530—the year of publication of his translation of the Pentateuch—is not known; his Parable of the Wicked Mammon (1527), Obedience of a Christian Man (1528), and Practice of Prelates (1530), all bear to have been printed at "Marlborowe in the land of Hesse" or "Marborch." From 1530 onwards he appears to have lived chiefly in Antwerp, but of his life there hardly anything is recorded, except that as a marked man he was continually the subject of plots and intrigues, and that at last he was arrested and thrown into prison in the castle of Vilvorde, some six miles from Brussels, in 1535. Having been found guilty of heresy, he was put to death by strangling, and his body afterwards burnt at the stake on October 6, 1536.

The Works of Tyndale were first published along with those of Frith (q.v.) and Barnes, "three worthy Martyrs and principal Teachers of the Church of England," by John Daye, in 1573 (folio). His Doctrinal Treatises and Introductions to Different Portions of the Holy Scripture were published by the Parker Society in 1848. For biography, see Demaus, William Tyndale (London, 1871); also the Introduction to Mombert's critical reprint of Tyndale's Pentateuch (New York, 1884), where a full bibliography is given. There seems no reason to doubt that the translation of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles in Matthew's Bible is substantially the work of Tyndale.