- Wycliffe and Tyndale
[Wycliffe Gospels, Middle English]. England, fifteenth century.
Wycliffe Bible is the first major translation of the complete Bible into
English. The primary figure behind the translation was John Wycliffe (ca.
1330-1384), an English reformer who rejected many church rituals and
institutions, preferring the Bible as his sole authority.
translation (by Wycliffe and his followers) was widely circulated but in 1409 a
Provincial Synod, sitting at Oxford, outlawed his Bible, due to fear of
scriptural misinterpretation among lay readers, the erosion of clerical
authority and the propagation of heresy by dissident preachers.
first Wycliffe translation was a rigid, literal rendering from Latin texts
whose precise identity is not known. After Wycliffe’s death, a more flowing
translation, less confined by the Latin, was made - it is believed, chiefly by
Wycliffe’s secretary John Purvey (ca. 1354-1414). The Wycliffe Gospels
manuscript held in the Reed Collections follows the more idiomatic revision of
the text associated with Purvey.
The newe Testament in Englyshe and Latyn accordyng to the translacyon of doctour Erasmus of Roterodam. [London]: Prynted in Fletestrete by Robert Redman, 1538.
translation of the New Testament by William Tyndale (ca. 1494-1536) was the
first portion of the Bible in English ever to be printed.
publication of Luther’s German New Testament in 1522 inspired Tyndale to
undertake the first English translation based on the Greek rather than the
Latin. Forbidden to do so by the Bishop of London, Tyndale fled to Cologne,
where his first English New Testament, printed in 1525, was thoroughly
suppressed. In 1530, he translated the Pentateuch from the original Hebrew, and
in 1534, completed his revision of the New Testament (whose text would
profoundly influence the King James Bible in the following century). Captured
by Catholic authorities in Flanders in 1536, Tyndale was convicted of heresy
New Testament on display is the earliest diglot containing Tyndale’s English
New Testament with the Latin of Erasmus.