1526 - William Tyndale\'s New Testament
In 1408, the Constitutions of Oxford were passed which forbade anyone from translating or reading the Bible in English without the approval of his Bishop. Because of this prohibition, William Tyndale was not able to get permission to translate the Bible in England. He travelled to Germany in 1524 spent some time with Martin Luther and completed the translation of the New Testament in two years. Permission to print an English Bible in England was practically impossible, even though William Caxton had set up a printing press in Westminster in 1456. His press was certainly capable of printing large numbers of Bibles. As a result, the printed version of Tyndale\'s New Testament was published in Cologne, Germany in 1526.
In this version Tyndale promised \'\'to endeavour to revise his translation".
The demand for Bibles in England at this time encouraged the production of pirate copies of Tyndale\'s translation, many of which contained changes to the text, which were not improved translations. These deliberate and unfortunate changes to the text prompted Tyndale to complete his revised text, which was printed in 1534. "The New Testament diligently corrected and compared with the Greek by William Tyndale\'\'. A further revision was printed in 1535. Tyndale then turned his attention to the Old Testament. He was working on this translation even in prison but did not complete it.
In 1546, a proclamation by Henry VIII ordered that "no man or woman of what condition, estate or degree was to receive, have, take or keep Tyndale\'s or Coverdale\'s New Testaments". This resulted in many copies of Tyndale\'s Bibles being burnt. Cuthbert Tonstall, Bishop of London, purchased large numbers of these Bibles to burn them. However, his money was used to print even more copies. On the continent, William Tyndale was imprisoned, found guilty of heresy, executed and his body burnt.
Tyndale left a significant legacy. His translation has been the basis for several later texts including The Great Bible, 1539, The Authorized Version, 1611, Revised Version, 1881 and Revised Standard Version, 1946.
Source: F.F. Bruce, The English Bible, A History of Translations. Oxford University Press 1961. 234 pp