Booklet Review: A Tribute To William Tyndale

A Tribute To William Tyndale, by Fred Coulter

Before starting my current blog, I read a great many books by and about William Tyndale, and may even reread them so that I can give them a proper and public review.  Once, when I lived in Florida, I even write and delivered a speech about William Tyndale as a religious bibliophile of a stripe not so different than my own [1], and this booklet is written by someone with as much interest in and fondness for that great English martyr as I have.  Understanding the fondness of the author for William Tyndale explains a great deal about his approach to matters of authority, for William Tyndale was an exceptionally able freelance translator who undertook to teach himself koine Greek and biblical Hebrew in order to translate the Bible from its original language into English for the first time ever, a task that was illegal and which eventually led to a brutal death by being strangled and burned at the stake in what is Belgium today after being betrayed into the hands of Catholics by a worthless scoundrel.  Perhaps being fond of Tyndale in the face of the dangers he faced is a recognition of kinship among those who speak unpleasant truths to ungodly authorities at some risk to their own safety and well-being even in contemporary times.

The booklet itself is about 40 pages long or so and can be seen as a condensed and paraphrased set of excerpts from David Daniell’s excellent biography of William Tyndale, and those who are familiar with that book will read much that is familiar in this booklet.  Indeed, Daniell is excerpted to such a high degree and the level of quoting is so extensive that one wonders to what extent it is fair to consider Coulter the author of this booklet at all, which is not necessarily a bad thing since Daniell’s style of writing is much more enjoyable to read than Coulter’s as a general rule.  The tribute takes more of a biographical turn along with some comments of light textual criticism about Tyndale’s translation and some of its errors and awkwardness.  Nonetheless, the booklet is a fitting tribute to one of the more obscure heroes of Bible translation in the English Speaking world, and those who have a fondness for the Bible in English would do well to seek this book out as encouragement to read Daniell’s fuller and far lengthier biography for themselves.

The booklet is notable and strikingly original in at least one area, though, and that is suggesting a great what-if of the history of the Bible in English.  The author suggests that Tyndale’s isolation from other Hellenistic Christians and his growing understanding of the Sabbath would have drastically affected English Protestantism in a more pronomian perspective had he lived and not died as early and as horribly as he did.  While I would prefer not to speculate on various counterfactual scenarios, it does speak highly of the integrity of William Tyndale as a man that his study of Hebrew and his translation of the biblical material of the Hebrew Scriptures into English encouraged him to have a better view of the Sabbath law than that possessed by many who falsely consider themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ.  It speaks less highly of the committee responsible for the King James Version of the Bible that they plundered so freely from Tyndale without giving attribution and thus deceiving people into believing that any committee has been responsible for a work of striking creativity like the English Bible.  Even so, there is a great deal in this booklet that explains how Coulter sees himself to be like Tyndale as a translator, which explains a lot about his approach to questions of authority as well.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/03/16/book-review-the-october-testament/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/02/23/it-is-a-truth-universally-acknowledged-that-a-bibliophile-must-be-in-want-of-more-books/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/12/24/true-confessions-of-a-bibliophile/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/02/15/the-politics-of-literature/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity, History and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Booklet Review: A Tribute To William Tyndale

  1. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Reblogged this on James' Ramblings.

  2. Pingback: Audiobook Review: Great Courses: The History Of The English Language: Part 2 | Edge Induced Cohesion

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