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William Tyndale

Tyndale, Tindal, or Tindale, William (all: tĭnˈdəl) [key], c.1494–1536, English biblical translator (see Bible) and Protestant martyr. He was probably ordained shortly before entering (c.1521) the household of Sir John Walsh of Gloucestershire as chaplain and tutor. His sympathy with the new learning led to disputes with the clergy, and he moved to London, determined to translate the New Testament into English. Finding that publication could not be accomplished in England, Tyndale went to Hamburg in 1524, visited Martin Luther in Wittenberg, and at Cologne began (1525) the printing of the New Testament. Interrupted by an injunction, he had the edition completed at Worms. When copies entered England, they were denounced by the bishops and suppressed (1526); Cardinal Wolsey ordered Tyndale seized at Worms. Living in concealment, Tyndale pursued his translation, issuing the Pentateuch (1530) and the Book of Jonah (1536). His work was later the basis of the King James Version of the Bible. His tracts in defense of the principles of the English Reformation, The Obedience of a Christian Man (1528) and The Parable of the Wicked Mammon (1528), were denounced by Sir Thomas More. The Practice of Prelates (1530), condemning the divorce of Henry VIII, drew the wrath of the king. Occupied with revising his translations, Tyndale was seized (1535) in Antwerp and confined in Vilvoorde Castle, near Brussels. His trial ended in condemnation for heresy, and he was strangled at the stake before his body was burned.

See biographies by J. F. Mozley (1937) and C. H. Williams (1969); study by E. W. Cleaveland (1911, repr. 1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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