By Brian Moynahan

The good echoing words of the King James Bible that experience boomed throughout the English-speaking brain for four hundred years – an eye fixed for a watch . . . consume, drink and be merry . . . . dying, the place is thy sting? . . . guy shall now not reside by way of bread on my own – are principally the paintings of a guy whose genius for phrases fits Shakespeare. yet William Tyndale, the younger Gloucestershire coach who wrote them, paid for them together with his existence. He used to be persecuted, exiled and finally burned on the stake.

Book of fireplace is the exciting, relocating tale of the fellow who first translated the be aware of God into the English vernacular. Tyndale did so in defiance of church and country, hunted by means of the implacable enmity and the brokers of the sainted Thomas extra. He used to be ultimately betrayed, yet by means of then his braveness and poetic intuition had supplied the spine of the one most important paintings within the English language. The Tudor heretic had replaced the literary, spiritual and political panorama for ever.

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Additional resources for Book of Fire: William Tyndale, Thomas More and the Bloody Birth of the English Bible

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Elaborate glosses were built on verses, sentences and individual words. Some of these glosses touched deep issues of faith, but many were ludicrous; the number of angels who could be gathered on the point of a needle was discussed in one example, while another, cited by Erasmus, posed the question of whether Christ could have taken on the likeness of a mule, and, if so, whether a mule could be crucified. Tyndale himself attended a degree ceremony for doctors of divinity at which a formal disputation was heard over whether the widow has more merit than the virgin.

Generations of scholars had paid lip service to the Bible, of course. They mined it for individual texts to use in debates and sermons, and they wrote copious notes and glosses on passages within it. But their approach was logical and scholastic; they did not think of it as a work that was alive and breathing, like the God who had created it. It was a priestly text, dusty, locked up in Latin, safely beyond the reach of the English at large. Religion had come to mean the Church itself, and its traditions.

Heresy had been declared to be ‘treason against God’ by Pope Innocent III in 1199, and was thus regarded as the worst of all crimes. Its ‘vileness’ was said to ‘render pure even Sodom and Gomorrah’, while the great medieval theologian St Thomas Aquinas declared that it separated man from God more than any other sin. The Church imposed a double jeopardy on heretics. The earthly poena sensus, the punishment of the senses, was achieved by the stake and the fire. If, like Wycliffe, the person was convicted after he was dead, the penalty was imposed on his remains.

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Book of Fire: William Tyndale, Thomas More and the Bloody Birth of the English Bible by Brian Moynahan


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