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William Tyndale (03:19)


In 1536, the English priest was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. Though he influenced the rise of Protestantism, the English Reformation, and the development of modern English, he was written out of Tudor England's history.

Tyndale's Early Life (03:17)

Tyndale was born in Gloucestershire in 1494 and grew-up among common farming families. His family was strictly Roman Catholic; all religious sermons and texts were in Latin. The language barrier gave the church control over its subjects.

Tyndale's Education (05:53)

Tyndale studied at the Magdalen School in Oxford and developed ideas to translate the Bible. Henry VIII became king and surrounded himself with religious scholars like Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Moore. Tyndale began to follow the work of Erasmus and Martin Luther.

Tyndale's Early Career (03:03)

In 1522, Tyndale was posted as a priest in Gloucestershire and his radical ideas drew attention. He voiced his desire to translate the Bible, angering the clergy, and left for London.

Tyndale in London (03:02)

In Henry VIII's London, heretic hunters and religious executions were common. Cuthbert Tunstall rejected Tyndale's translation idea. Fearing accusations of heresy and knowing he could never publish an English Bible in England, Tyndale fled to Germany.

Tyndale in Hiding (03:19)

Tyndale went to Germany for two years and began translating the New Testament. Despite the risk of death, English merchants and printer Peter Quentel helped fund and print Tyndale's work. An English heretic hunter got word of Quentel's printing in Cologne and wrote to Wolsey.

Tyndale's Bible (04:27)

Thousands of Tyndale's English New Testaments were printed in 1526. The copies were small and could be easily hidden. His word choice reflected his ideas of democratization and equality among believers.

Response to Tyndale's Bible (05:00)

The translation was popular in England, causing Tunstall, Moore, and Wolsey to hunt for Tyndale. Tunstall gave a sermon against Tyndale's translation and led a burning of copies in London. Tyndale began writing criticism of the clergy in England.

Tyndale's Hunters (03:12)

Moore was charged with silencing Tyndale. He wrote a book criticizing Tyndale's views saying they would cause a collapse of the Catholic Church and the English state.

Tyndale's Royal Influence (06:41)

Henry fell in love with Anne Boleyn and attempted to get his marriage annulled. He obtained a copy of Tyndale's book "The Obedience of a Christian Man", it focused on the authority of scripture over the pope, and offered Tyndale an appointment at court; Tyndale refused.

Tyndale and Moore (03:02)

In 1531, Henry broke with the Catholic Church and made himself head of the Church of England. He kept his conservative Catholic beliefs, so Tyndale's war of words with Moore continued.

Tyndale's Old Testament (02:27)

Despite the execution of his supporters, Tyndale translated and published the first five books of the Old Testament. Henry married Anne and Protestant support in his court grew; Moore was executed for treason.

Tyndale's Arrest and Death (04:56)

Holy Roman Emperor Charles V began purging heretics and Tyndale was again hunted. In 1535, a British spy helped secure Tyndale's arrest in Antwerp. He spent 14 months in prison and was executed for heresy.

Tyndale's Impact (07:28)

Tyndale was unable to finish his translation but managed the New Testament and first five books of the Old Testament. In 1536, Henry VIII funded the publication of an English Bible in England. Most of the phrases from the King James Bible were taken from Tyndale's work.

Credits: The Most Dangerous Man In Tudor England (00:27)

Credits: The Most Dangerous Man In Tudor England

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The Most Dangerous Man In Tudor England

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Melvyn Bragg explores the dramatic story of William Tyndale and his mission to translate The Bible into English. Bragg reveals the story of a man whose life and legacy have been hidden from history, but whose impact on Christianity in Britain and on the English language endures today. His radical translation of The Bible into English made him a profound threat to the authority of the church and state, and set him on a fateful collision course with Henry VIII's heretic hunters and those of the pope.

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL188003

ISBN: 978-1-64867-227-9

Copyright date: ©2013

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