Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Book Review: Tyndale
I'm embarrassed to admit that before reading this biography, I had little to no knowledge on who William Tyndale really was. Maybe the name did sound vaguely familiar, and I was able to at least link it to the Church, but other than that, nothing. And so after reading Tyndale: The Man Who Gave God an English Voice by David Teems, I was astounded by what a major role he played in providing us with the Bible we recognise today. Apart from the religious aspects, I was actually even more shocked at the contributions he made to the modern literary world. How many times had I used, heard, or said phrases like "a moment in time" or "seek and you shall find" or even the famous "let there be light"? Well, these sayings were all coined by Tyndale in the 1500's when he undertook the mighty task of translating the Bible from Latin and Hebrew to English. Truly unbelievable. I laugh to think I consider myself something of a writer when I'm so unfamiliar with the man who had such a strong impact on the English language. Not only did he first record these phrases, but even words like "Passover" and "scapegoat" are credited to Tyndale.
While I normally don't go to in depth on the subject matter in book reviews for fear of spoiling the plot, the life of William Tyndale is really too intriguing for me to not ramble a little more. Tyndale was an English scholar and translator who was determined to spread the word of God to even common people.
"I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost!"
Tyndale managed to translate many biblical works in secret, of which the the works we know today were based largely on. Some even estimate that in the King James Bible, 83% of the New Testament and 76% of the Old Testament were the works of Tyndale. In the end, he was betrayed to the Crown and was pronounced guilty of heresy. He died on the stake with his last words being "Lord!Open the King of England's eyes."
Tyndale: The Man Who Gave God an English Voice is a beautifully written biography of a fascinating man. A recipe for success in a book! Teems does a wonderful job of weaving a tale of the intricacies of Tyndale's life while also showing insight on why certain events played out the way they did. I'm extremely grateful that Booksneeze allowed me to discover this amazing historical literary giant through modern literary talent! 5/5