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God's Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible---A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal [Hardcover]

By Brian Moynahan (Author)
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Item Number 158899  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   416
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.5" Width: 6.42" Height: 1.36"
Weight:   1.7 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 31, 2003
Publisher   St. Martin's Press
ISBN  0312314868  
EAN  9780312314866  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
The English Bible---the mot familiar book in our language---is the product of a man who was exiled, vilified, betrayed, then strangled, then burnt.

William Tyndale left England in 1524 to translate the word of God into English. This was heresy, punishable by death. Sir Thomas More, hailed as a saint and a man for all seasons, considered it his divine duty to pursue Tyndale. He did so with an obsessive ferocity that, in all probability, led to Tyndale's capture and death.

The words that Tyndale wrote during his desperate exile have a beauty and familiarity that still resonate across the English-speaking world: "Death, where is thy sting?...eat, drink, and be merry...our Father which art in heaven."

His New Testament, which he translated, edited, financed, printed, and smuggled into England in 1526, passed with few changes into subsequent versions of the Bible. So did those books of the Old Testament that he lived to finish.

Brian Moynahan's lucid and meticulously researched biography illuminates Tyndale's life, from his childhood in England, to his death outside Brussels. It chronicles the birth pangs of the Reformation, the wrath of Henry VIII, the sympathy of Anne Boleyn, and the consuming malice of Thomas More. Above all, it reveals the English Bible as a labor of love, for which a man in an age more spiritual than our own willingly gave his life.




Buy God's Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible---A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal by Brian Moynahan from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780312314866 & 0312314868

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More About Brian Moynahan

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! BRIAN MOYNAHAN graduated with honors from Cambridge University and embarked on a career as an author and journalist. He served on the staff of "The Yorkshire Post," "Town" Magazine, and "The Times" (London). Since 1989, he has concentrated on writing histories while continuing to write for British and American newspapers. His previous books include "Airport International," "Fool's Paradise," "Claws of the Bear," "Comrades," "The Russian Century," and "A Biography of Rasputin."

Brian Moynahan was born in 1941.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Spirituality is Passion  Mar 24, 2008
Perhaps it's hard to imagine, in this culture that seems so often frivolous and egocentric, caring enough about anything to put one's life at stake in service to it.

That's exactly what William Tyndale did in his long, rebellious quest to contribute to the translation, publication, and wider dissemination of the Bible, arguably the most important, influential text ever published.

Tyndale's is an oft-told tale, but it's told with verve and sparkling style here. This is one of those fine books that reminds the reader that true stories really are sometimes better than fiction! I recommend this experience to all who love a good yarn with plenty of intrigue, twists and turns.

--Robert McDowell, The Poetry Mentor (www.robertmcdowell.net), author of POETRY AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE, July 15th, 2008, Free Press
 
The Fugitive  Sep 15, 2007
Moynahan's book is informative, well-written and well-produced (except for sources rather than footnotes). Despite some reviewers strained concerns, the book represents no threat to people of faith. In fact it celebrates them. It depicts the struggles and underlying genius of a gifted translator and polemicist, William Tyndale and is as exciting as a thriller. Cleverly and informatively interweaving the emergence of the new printing industry - Moynahan presents a Europe that is surprisingly cosmopolitan. Tyndale wanders from Antwerp to Cologne to Maintz to Hamburg, pursued by Wolsey's spies, ambassadors and priests. Tyndale managed because he was a polyglot - English, German, French, Dutch, Greek, Latin and Hebrew - and he had many supporters especially among the men and women of business and industry.

In celebrating Tyndale's accomplishments, Moynahan does a number on the much and overly celebrated Thomas More. I am a practicing Catholic and Englishman too boot, brought up on the presumed saintliness of Thomas More. Stimulated by C. J. Sansom's 16th Century murder mystery - Dissolution, I have read in quick order biographies of Wolsey, Cromwell and now Tyndale. I no longer think of More as "blessed". True, More stood by his principles and was erudite - but he appears fanatical, twisted and sadistic and demonstrated little belief in the sanctity of human life. After reading Moynahan's description of More's pursuit of Tyndale and other evangelicals, I defy anyone to see More's Utopia as a pleasant place.

Moynahan effectively brings to life the leading characters of this troubled, violent, vicious and generally un-Christian period. The work and genius of Master William Tyndale - who appears to have been more saintly than Thomas More - have been largely submerged in the blood and fire of the times: Blood and fire in large measure shed and stoked in the name of us Catholics. While much of the Reformation was driven by avarice, greed and geo-politics, the reality is that the Church had become wedded to form over substance, and the Rome of the Medicii Popes was closer to today's Hollywood than to Heaven. It is stunning to see the attitude of the Catholic Church towards the Bible and the laity. Great things were at stake just as they are today, but the manner in which those great things were championed and protected was intolerant, immoral and deeply un-Christian.
 
A MODERN HERETIC'S PROPAGANDA HIT PIECE  Jun 27, 2007
IT IS SO EASY TO ATTACK THE ANGLICANS, LUTHERANS , AND EPISCOPALIANS FOR THEIR HERESY THAT IT IS SELF-EVIDENT, BUT MR.MOYNAHAN'S OBSSESSIVE HATRED OF MORE IS CAUSE FOR CONCERN OVER HIS REAL IQ REGARDING THE WHOLE ISSUES OF THE SO-CALLED "REFORMATION"[ BUT MORE ACCURATELY TO BE TERMED THE PROTESTANT'S WAR ON THE ONE AND TRUE CHURCH ]PERHAPS MR.MOYNAHAN IS IGNORANT OVER THE SEVERE FRACTURING OF THE EPISCOPALIAN CHURCH IN THE USA -PERHAPS EVIDENCE THAT IT WAS HERESY AND THIS OF COURSE WILL LEAD BACK TO CANTERBURY EVENTUALLY. ACCUSATIONS ARE MADE AGAINST THE CATHOLIC THROUGH BLIND AND STUPID STORIES[ AS IF PEOPLE LEARN THEIR THEOLOGY FROM HELLISH HOLLYWOOD ] MORE IS STILL WELL KNOWN 572 YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH AND IN FACT, IS OFTEN REFERRED TO AS "A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS." TYNDALE IS A CURIOUS ANSWER TO A TRIVIA QUESTION. DR. JOHNSON EVEN MENTIONED MORE IN GLOWING PRAISE. THIS BOOK IS A PIECE OF PROPAGANDA GARBAGE - BURN IT LIKE MORE BURNED THE HERETICS TRYING TO KILL THE CHURCH. WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE NO GUIDANCE AND DETERMINE THEIR OWN MEANINGS FROM THEIR VERNACULAR?AS TYNDALE WANTED [ AS MOYNAHAN DEFENDS ] THIS IS THE KORAN....
 
An Excellent Biography  Oct 24, 2006
God's Bestseller is the second biography of Tyndale I have read this year and one of only a few produced in recent decades. Written by Brian Moynahan, the subtitle provides a glimpse of the author's emphases: "William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible--A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal." Less-scholarly than David Daniell's William Tyndale: A Biography, God's Bestseller is also more readable, as evidenced by the Mail on Sunday's endorsement which suggests it is "almost worthy of LeCarre."

Though William Tyndale died almost 500 years ago, we continue to read and enjoy his Bible. The first man to translate Scripture into English, much of Tyndale's language and vocabulary continue to used commonly within the church and without. He coined words and phrases such as My brother's keeper, passover and scapegoat. Other commonly used phrases include let there be light, the powers that be, my brother's keeper, the salt of the earth and a law unto themselves. His mastery of English, though the language was still in its infancy, was unparalleled in his age. "In the begynnynge was the worde, and the worde was with God: the the word was God. The same was in the begynnynge with God. All thinges were made by it and with out it was made nothinge that was made. In it was lyfe and the lyfe was the lyght of men. And the light shyneth in the darknes but the darknes comprehended it not." Those verses passed into the King James and subsequent translations almost untouched.

Tyndale's mastery of the language is evident in passages of Scripture he was able to translate only in part before his untimely death. Read aloud these passages from Song of Solomon as they were written by Tyndale and then by the writers of the King James. "Up and haste my love, my dove, my bewtifull and come away..." The King James renders this same passage with far less skill, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." Tyndale writes, "For now is wynter gone and the rayne departed and past." The King James bumbles, "For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over, and gone." The cadence, the use of language, is unmatched. We can only imagine how Tyndale would have rendered the Psalms, Job and other poetic books had he been granted long life.

But as we know, Tyndale was not able to complete his translation of the Old Testament. He did not write his own epitaph as was the custom at the time. But as Moynahan points out, a passage he left from 1 Corinthians seems to serve well: "'And though I gave my body even that I burned, and yet had no love, it profiteth me nothing.' That used love and not charity was technical evidence of his heresy, of course, and the prime reason why More wanted him brunt. But Tyndale did not die for charity; he died for love, for the love of God's words and of their readers, and the most familiar work in the English language is thereby given the added grace of being a labour of love." We see this love evident in his reply to Henry VIII when offered safe passage to his native England. Were Henry to grant even a bare text of Scripture to the common people, Tyndale promised, "I shall immediately make faithful promise never to write more, nor abide two days in these parts after the same: but immediately to repair unto his realm, and there most humbly submit myself at the feet of his royal majesty, offering my body to suffer what pain or torture, yea, what death his grace will, so this be obtained. And till that time, I will abide the asperity of all chances, whatsoever shall come, and endure my life in as many pains as it is able to bear and suffer." The king would never submit to so audacious a demand and soon decreed that Tyndale be hunted down and killed. Though agents of Henry were never able to find Tyndale, he did eventually fall into the hands of the church authorities and was put to death. His last words, soon to be a rallying cry for English Protestants, were near-prophetic. "Oh Lord, open the King of England's eyes," he cried. Only a few short years later, Henry authorized an English translation of the Bible and, ironically, one based largely on the work of Tyndale.

Tyndale's name may not be widely known, but his influence is still felt. "Tyndale's traces are everywhere, of course. 'That old tongue, with its clang and its flavour,' as the critic Edmund Wilson wrote of the Bible, 'that we have been living with all our lives,' is Tyndale's tongue. Its cadence, its rolling and happy phrases, its consolations and the elegance of its solace, are his."

Despite his influence and his importance to the development of the English language, Tyndale is relatively unknown to both Christians and non-Christians. It is to our detriment that we forget about this great man of faith who gave his life for his conviction that the Word of God must go forth and must be made available in the common tongue. Moynahan's biography is an excellent introduction to Tyndale's life and influence. It is written in a way that will appeal to any reader, it still conveys a great deal of information and is clearly the result of meticulous research. It is one of the best biographies I have read this year and I commend it to you.
 
Moynahan Sells Me on Tyndale  Apr 25, 2006
Few history books have influenced my thinking as has Brian Moynahan's "God's Bestseller: William Tyndale" (2002). I found this 422-page (hardback) difficult to put down. I was often cheering for and, in the end, crying over the life of William Tyndale.

Moynahan portrays Tyndale as a man of rare talent and extraordinary vision. Almost from the beginning of his clerical career he wanted to offer the Bible to the English-speaking world. One feels Tyndale's early clandestine efforts for bringing Scripture into English. One is fearful as the Gloucestershire clerk quickly leaves for the continent evading royal arrest to begin his life-long passion.

Moynahan's narrative correctly shows Thomas More' villainous pursuit of Tyndale. As Henry VIII's Chancellor More had all the power, money and legal statute needed to track Tyndale down and ultimately execute him. Tyndale's short life was lived as a fugitive from royal pursuit. He was constantly on the move (Tyndale had few friends and no family by the end). Moynahan's is an exciitng and illuminating heart-in-the-throat narrative. He reveals all the nasty 16th century politics of Henry's torturous and corrupt reign.

Even as Moynahan show's William Tyndale's life as the stuff for an exciting Hollywood drama, he also takes time to explain Tyndale's evasive personal life. We learn that Tyndale may have met Martin Luther and learned German at the Protestant master's feet. We see Tyndale's various correspondences with many of the leaders of his age (the letters are still extant). We learn that Tyndale's translations were often completed in the middle of the night just hours before he was forced to flee the king's men.

We discover Thomas More's personal obsession with Tyndale (a compulsion that ultimately brought Tyndale to the fiery stake). In the end William Tyndale was captured through the duplicity of a "friend" and burned alive in Brussels (in 1526) because he was the first to translate (and publish) Scripture into English. (Ironically, Thomas More- staunch Roman Catholic- met his downfall at the hands of Thomas Cromwell- Protestant- weeks before Tyndale's capture. Cromwell's meteoric rise to power, as Henry's new Chancellor, did not allow time for Cromwell to block Emperor Charles V's- a royal Roman Catholic- execution of Tyndale.)

Moynahan offers a considerable portion of Tyndale's original translation (only three original copies survive). He reports that 84% of the King James Version New Testament and 78% of the KJV Old Testament are lifted from Tyndale's translation. (The 1611 KJV composers used Tyndale as their guide for English Scripture.)

This is a fast paced story of intrigue, arrest evasion, governmental corruption, betrayal, and divine inspiration. Through all the political turmoil in the first third of the 16th century, William Tyndale prepared a brilliant translation of God's Word for his fellow Englishmen. His was the original pioneering effort that made the Bible accessible to all English speakers.

This book in very recommendable to all: scholars, students, historians, theologians, Bible studiers, and those looking to read an exciting (real life) story. Moynahan will sell you, too, on William Tyndale.
 

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