A beautiful literary tribute to William Tyndale, the poet-martyr-expatriate-outlaw-translator who gave us our English Bible
The English Bible was born in defiance, in exile, in flight, and in a form of exodus, the very elements that empowered William Tyndale to bring the English scripture to the common citizen. Being “a stranger in a strange land,” the very homesickness he struggled with gave life to the words of Jesus, Paul, and to the wandering Moses. Tyndale’s efforts ultimately cost him his life, but his contribution to English spirituality is measureless.
Even five centuries after his death at the stake, Tyndale’s presence looms wherever English is spoken. His single-word innovations, such as “Passover,” “beautiful,” and “atonement,” allowed the common man to more fully understand God’s blessings and promises. His natural lyricism shines in phrases like “Let not your hearts be troubled,” and “for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.” Every time we say the Lord’s Prayer as it is written in the King James Bible, use the word “love” as it is written in 1 Corinthians 13, or bless others with “The Lord bless thee and keep thee, the Lord make his face to shine upon thee,” we are reminded of the rich bounty Tyndale has given us.
Although Tyndale has been somewhat elusive to his biographers, Teems brings wit and wisdom to the story of the man known as the “architect of the English language,” the English Paul who defied a kingdom and a tyrannical church to introduce God to the plowboy.
©2012 David Teems (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Praise for Majestie: The King behind the King James Bible: “Engrossing and entertaining…A delightful read in every way.” (Publishers Weekly)
I think the author did a good job of filling in the background of the time
It is true! I view my precious Bible in renewed light!! Tyndale was awesome and a great servant of God.
I always appreciate a good reader with goo inflection and good pace
Tyndale was betrayed by a horrible man and sent to prison. He died..twice...well..that wasn't really possible, but it was clear that his enemies wanted him dead. He was strangled and burned.
I would eagerly listen to this again because it is packed full of details about the English language and I'm certain I did not absorb them all on the first listen.
Tyndale is the star while Thomas Moore plays a nasty villain in this real life drama.
It seems only fitting to have a distinctly English voice reading us this masterpiece. His voice transported me to the 1500s.
I was moved on two levels, spiritually and intellectually. As a Christ follower the sacrifices of Tyndale are inspiring and I realize the great debt I owe to him as a fellow believer. As a lover of words I was intrigued by the parallels Teems draws between Tyndale and Shakespeare.
The ending is superb in its humility, so persevere through to the end.
I appreciated how often Teems spent time to explain the historical context of events surrounding Tyndale's life. In this, I differ from other reviewers who would have preferred Teems stick closely to Tyndale's life. For example, hearing details about how Tyndale's contemporaries were treated regarding charges of heresy, or the political backstories surrounding Henry VIII's court helped me better understand Tyndale's bravery and the reason's he was tried as a heretic.
But I agree with several reviewers who did not care for multiple excursions into details/writings of others who had absolutely NOTHING to do with Tyndale's life (e.g. Walt Whitman). If I wanted to learn more about Whitman, I'll just purchase a biography on Whitman.
At one point, I realized Teems was spending considerable time on Tyndale's writing instead of Tyndale himself. This might bother some readers. Teems admitted from the outset, however, that much of Tyndale's life is still a mystery. I also realized it would be odd to write a biography on someone who was first and foremost a writer/author, and not spend time in literary analysis of the individual's works.
I don't remember what led me to select this title, but it turned out to be an unexpected gem, and I replay portions of the book often. The text tells the sparsely documented facts of Tyndale's extraordinary life, but also discusses his enormous and largely unsung impact on English language and literature and speculates about the psychology that drove the man. The author meanders a bit in his search for illuminating parallels -- Walt Whitman and Thomas Wolfe are drawn in at one point -- and that might alienate a listener or two or fail to convince, but that is a quibble. A great choice for people interested in language, history or spirituality. Oh, and the reading is lush and fabulous -- like caramel or hot buttered toast for the ears.
In a world where the Pope exerted supreme authority over the crowned heads of Europe, The Latin Bible was denied to any but the priests. Tyndale was determined that every "English Ploughman'" would be able to access the scriptures in his own tongue. He firmly believed that no other book was necessary; the Bible was all that was needed for any situation.
Tyndale was hounded by the authorities and forced to flee the country to fulfill his objective. Even so, he had to keep moving from town to town to evade his opposition. His mastery of the language was so good, that it is said that "without Tyndale, there would have been no Shakespeare". He added about 30,000 words to the English vocabulary.
This is a very objective account of a remarkable man to whom we owe a great debt - the Bble which we take so much for granted
The narration is top-notch.
The content had great potential - Tyndale is a great hero.
Yet, the author muses philosophically and poetically and quotes Walt Whitman and speaks of poetry, etc, so much that he drags down the narrative with needless weight
..... I wish he had stuck closer to the narrative of Tyndale's life and stayed away from these musings. The book could have been half as short and should have been more of a strict biography.
I am glad some of Tyndale's own letters were included. He is a powerful writer, even today.
Probably. Haven't read the print version, but I can't believe my reading of it could in any improve the magnificent reading that Simon Vance brings to this magnificent work.
He's such a fine reader. He reads with intelligence and respect for his authors. I can[t imagine that any author could ever complain he hasn't done him/her justice.
I am very happy go have discovered David Teems. What a writer! He writes with great charity and fairness to all. He is able to see and depict the many facets of the characters he brings to life. Thomas Moore could be just painted as a monster, William Tyndale as the Hero.
Many biographers are so keen on their subject they go overboard. Not David Teems. As much as we despair of the perfidy and shortcomings of Thomas Moore, he is given his due. Tyndale too, is not perfect, although it is hard to fault him. Just the prose and poetry he brought to the Bible take one's breath away.
I am enjoying this book. I haven't quite finished it, but wanted to sing it's praises sooner than later.
"The Voice We Had Before We Were Born"
Who can imagine that in relatively recent history ,possession of an English copy of Scripture, in England, could carry a death sentence;that death to be delived by burning at the stake,follwing weeks of torture and starvation? Those were the days ....but what a complex and compelling story is told about one of the central players in the Reformation era This book brings us to one of the great well-springs of the English language.The author takes us to the countryside between the Avon and the Severn,where Tyndale's people spoke a 'vulgar' middle English which was yet to come to full bloom,enriched by pastoral life and grounded in the rural vernacular .This spring undoubtedly fed the creative and inspired writing of Shakespeare and the King James Bible. Tyndale's daily speech rubbed up against the ancient Welsh tongue to the west and became imbued with its softness and musicality.Tyndale's inspiring story is told in a gripping and immediate style. This agnostic reader was enthralled by the religious struggles and faith-courage which Tyndale and other reformers displayed. It is a sobering reminder of the power of religious faith to drive otherwise civilised men to casual brutality,torture and murder. The smell of burning books and burning men is evoked throughout the chapters by David Teems who displays a deep humanist empathy for the characters who move across this stage. For me this is what audio books are best at. A wonderfully written book, beautifully read ,delivers an almost cinematic quality to what a casual bookshelf browser might mistake for a 'worthy' history of a bit player in Olde England.It is a deeply engaging experience which will bring you into the hearts and minds of the people who created so much of our literary and cultural inheritance.
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