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

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  35 reviews
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.
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 23rd 2003 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  187 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I got interested in the Tudors, I have also developed an interest in the Reformation. It appears to be exactly what people need again today in several religions. While the hero of the Reformation remains Martin Luther of Germany, the English Tyndale had a hand in making England more receptive to the new ideas floating around at the time.

William Tyndale, a priest himself, decides at quite a young age that the Catholic Church is too corrupt and only a complete upheaval would change thi
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. I will never read the Bible again and not think of William Tyndale and his belief in making the Bible available to everyone. He gave his life for the Bible. Highly reccomended to anyone who reads the Bible.
G. Lawrence
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. A fascinating account of Tyndale, his work, and his nemesis, Thomas More. Engagingly told, lively, fair and balanced. Excellent work. I'd give it ten stars if I could! ...more
Sep 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-books
I really like to read scriptures and they are important to me. This book helped me appreciate good ol' William Tyndale ever so much more. I knew he did a lot for me but you get an in depth look at what a sweet, tender-hearted, pro woman, unselfish, man he was.
It wasn't always easy reading and it took time to get through to be sure, but I am very glad I pushed through and finished. It was worth it.
I'll probably never feel the same about the Bible again and will continue to have a deep respect f
John Baker
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprisingly good read, given its a history book disguised as a near-thriller! All sorts of interesting stuff happening through this time period.

I was surprised (should not have been but there you are) that this first major piece of widely-read publishing in English brought concordances into fashion, to aid the reader. I realized that the difficulty in reading "olde English" is there were no common spellings for words used in daily speech so pretty much anything goes. A 'u' might be in place o
Jefferson Vann
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Reynolds
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thorough, readable and dispassionate. It’s hard not to turn a history of this period into a pile-on against the persecutors or being an apologist for them, depending on your perspective. Moynahan manages it, and gives a well-structured portrait of the time whilst taking us deep with the characters.
Leon Olivier, Jr
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book and detailed History of Tyndale, the development of the English language Bible, and his interactions with St Thomas More. In this book More is painted as vindictive and self serving. I think there is much more to him.
He also spent time on the evolution of Henry VIII views on religion pointing out that the were self serving and overall very conservative.
Joe Schweitzer
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took a few restarts for me to read this. Some of the historical facts were hard to grasp at first. But I am forever grateful for the protestant movement and their sacrifice to get the Bible accessible, translated and into the hands of the common man.
Rob Markley
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian, history
I'm filling this in a long time after reading and afraid it didn't leave much of an impression ...more
Ashley Armstrong
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about a figure central to the Reformation, and one important also in the history of printing and, by extension, popular literacy.
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read. So happy that I saw this on the shelves as I was hunting for something else to read. Reveals the lively drama that played out in the early 1500’s as so-called Christians took to burning people who questioned authority. The very drama of such a practice ensured (burnings were very dramatic and ritualistic) that the martyrs would be remembered long after their grisly demise.

I was surprised and intrigued to learn more of the character of Tyndale and his chief adversary, the man for
Apr 25, 2010 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. Several people recommended "Fire in the Bones" by Wilcox as a biography of William Tyndale, but it was not available at our library so I got this instead. It is a history book, but to me it is fascinating to discover all the political intrigue that went on to try and stop the printing of the Bible into English.

**I am not quite done with it, and I would add a few more comments about the book. The author really tries to make sure he quotes from original sources, but at times it is hard
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the history of William Tyndale's struggle to translate and publish the Bible into english. It really is appalling how viciously he and other supporters were opposed. I would imagine it might be a little hard to read if you are Catholic, as this history shows that the Catholic church actively pursued with violent efforts the suppression of the english translation, for reasons that appear to be quite self-serving.

I can see honest, pure intent in both Tyndale and More. However, kn
Caroline Greeven
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am not religious and have no interest in the Catholic Church, the bible or religious dogma in general and yet this is still one of the most profoundly moving books I have ever read. I think about the ideas, the personalities and the questions this book raises on a regular basis. It is a truly gripping description of the power of the written word and the bravery of people who sought to share those words (knowing they risked their lives to do so)..

What I really love about this book are the passa
Laura Mathieson
Oct 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Bibliophiles
It's a scholarly book, a biography of the first person to translate the Bible into English. This was considered heresy at the time, especially by Thomas More, who hated Tyndale and brought great passion to bear in order to catch and burn him. There's a lot of intrigue in the book, meticulously researched, but the author keeps us straight through all the switching allegiances. Also fascinating are the explanations of how the individual words were used to create a crisis in the Church - how using ...more
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This is definitely a very interesting book! I asked for it as a birthday gift from my in-laws (they let me pick one) last year because I have a fascination for the Renaissance, particularly the Reformation. This book tells the story of William Tyndale, the first man to, at the time illegally, translate the Bible into English. His translation is still the base for many modern translations. The book traces his footsteps from Gloucestershire, where he was born, and the Low Countries and Germany, wh ...more
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith, history
Loved this book. Moynahan really brings the historical events to life. I knew that William Tyndale was burned for translating the bible into English, but that means more to me now after having read about the political and religious tensions in Europe at the beginning of the reformation. One comes to really admire and love Tyndale for his brilliance as a translator, his humility as a Christian, his dedication to his life's work, and his sacrifice. He's now on my short list of people I'd like to m ...more
Karla Goforth Abreu
Mar 22, 2010 rated it liked it
I would have given this more stars, but at times, the book becomes laborious in reading. It is quite long--but very well researched. The reader, if not a well studied Christian historian, will be astounded at the life threatening situations that were encountered by those who attempted to translate scripture into the English language. The author has attempted a grand task in this account and done well. I just have not had time to finish the book, though glad to have it on my shelf (about halfway ...more
Nov 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Those who only know Thomas More through Bolt's movie A man For All Seasons wil be enlightened to find what a completely intolerant and bloodthirsty bastard he was. Tyndale by contrast was a saint, and this book is the most exciting I've read on his struggle to bring the Bible in English to a beleagured people, my fellow countrymen. ...more
Leila Bowers
Nov 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It's more accessible than the Yale biography (which is amazing for its detail and scholarly, exhaustive approach). Moynahan makes a compelling case for who hunted Tyndale at the end. He also balances a disucssion of Henry VIII's court, those lesser known men and women who fought for God's Word, and Tyndale's own life and translation. Everyone should read this book. ...more
Feb 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very interesting account of how we got our English Bible. Covers Tyndale in depth as well as the people surrounding his persecution. Loved the well researched examples of church corruption and retorts that went back and forth. Very eye opening and makes one treasure the access we have to the bible today.
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: incomplete
I really enjoyed this book and all of the information it had to offer, I never knew any of the stuff about the Catholic church or William Tyndale. I didn't quite finish it because it was a little more involved than I had time for right now, but it will be a book I would pick up again. If you want to know about how the King James Version of the Bible came to existence, read this book. ...more
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the story of William Tyndale, who was the primary translator of the Bible into English. I was amazed by how people could be put to death because they didn't believe or questioned the doctrines of the Church in the 1500s. An interesting tale of how the Bible came to be in modern times. ...more
Maria Farrow
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully informative book about a little known part of history. You may agree or disagree with their views but the bravery of Tyndale and others in defending their right to translate the bible into the vernacular was truly a mark of their faith.
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-history
This book fills a gap in history by emphasising William Tyndale's importance to the Reformation. Recent studies have shown the King James Bible is mostly Tyndale's work, for which he received no credit. ...more
Nov 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Truthfully I didn't get all the way through this book--got distracted by many other topics. But--the portions I read were a good read. I'd go back when I had more time to spend and reread it all the way to the end. ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

An amazing and largely untold story. Tyndale was an incredible genius and he is writing about and dealing with issues that are still relevant to the church almost 500 years later. As much as things change, they stay the same.
Mark Phillips
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Won't be everybody's 'cup of tea' but I got a lot out of it, increased my understanding of the Times, and also the English Language and it's development, of course an interest in the Bible itself was also a motivation! ...more
Amanda Witt
My first long book of the year but worth it.
A very descriptive read of the rules and laws surrounding England in the 1500's and how William Tyndale risked his life by translating the Bible into English.
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Brian Moynahan is an English journalist and historical writer.

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