The only reason why we speak modern English is thanks to a largely unknown person called William Tyndale. William Tyndale left England in self imposed exile to Germany, where he translated the new testament from Greek to English. This was the time of Tudor England and all bibles where in Latin – even talking about translating the bible would see you killed as a heretic. As the English bibles began to flood into England – Henry VIII sent spy’s to try and catch Tyndale. All English bibles captured where burnt. During Henry rule he asked the pope for a divorce so he could marry Anne Boleyn Henry’s reason was that his first wife was the ex-wife of his brother and that the marriage should be annulled because it was not allowed as stated in the bible. The old rule of law came from the Pope‘s called canonised laws William Tyndale and Martin Luther both believe that it was faith that got you into heaven not going to church. Tyndale wanted the word of god available to even the plough boy in England. He didn’t see the need for cardinals or priests. After Henry married Anne Boleyn he had several Catholic members of his staff executed for treason. They would not swear that the King had powers over those of the Pope. William Tyndale believed that kings were chosen by God as his representatives on earth. William Tyndale was finally captured by the Holy Roman Empire and burnt alive as a heretic in Antwerp. After his death the irony is Henry brought out an English bible showing him giving the gift of God to the English people even though in the past he was responsible for the death of a lot of heretics. It is thanks to Tynsdale that the English language is how it is today. The end of the Tudor period lead to the reformation with wars between England and Catholic countries – England was now a Protestant country with its own church.
- Melvyn Bragg on William Tyndale: his genius matched that of Shakespeare (telegraph.co.uk)
- William Tyndale, Martyr and Burned at Stake for Printing the First English Bible (katenews2day.com)
- Melvyn Bragg on William Tyndale (article in the Telegraph newspaper) (sandystrachan.wordpress.com)