Forbidden to work in England, Tyndale translated and printed in English the New Testament and half the Old Testament between 1525 and 1535 in Germany and the Low Countries. He worked from the Greek and Hebrew original texts when knowledge of those languages in England was rare. His pocket-sized Bible translations were smuggled into England, and then ruthlessly sought out by the Church, confiscated and destroyed. Condemned as a heretic, Tyndale was strangled and burned outside Brussels in 1536.
Photo: Statue of William Tyndale by Lawrence Holofcener (2000), Millennium Square, Bristol, United Kingdom.
© Brian Buxton.
Tyndale's English translation of the New Testament was taken almost word for word into the much praised Authorised Version (King James Bible) of 1611, which also reproduces a great deal of his Old Testament. From there his words passed into our common understanding.
People across the world honour him as a great Englishman. His solitary courage, and his skill with languages - including, supremely, his own - enriched English history and then reached out to affect all English-speaking nations.
His influence has been as wide as Shakespeare's. His phrases are so well-known that they are often thought to be proverbial - 'let there be light', 'we live and move and have our being', 'fight the good fight', 'the signs of the times', 'the powers that be', 'a law unto themselves', and hundreds more. The familiar words telling the great Bible stories are usually Tyndale's.
Aims of the Tyndale Society
The aims of the Society are to promote a greater knowledge and understanding of the importance of the contribution made by Tyndale to the English Reformation by his Biblical translations and theological writings, and to encourage relevant research and study.
Membership of the Society is international and we warmly encourage anyone interested in its aims to join. The Society is in no way a credal body and all are welcome into membership regardless of their personal religion or other philosophy of life. Lower down this page is information on membership and applying to become a member.
A Brief History of the Society
The Tyndale Society was inaugurated in 1995. It followed on from the activities organised the previous year by the William Tyndale Quincentenary Trust. The founder chairman, holding office until 2005, was Professor David Daniell, author of the major modern biography of Tyndale and editor of editions of several of his works.
The Society pursues these purposes primarily through publications and events. There are two regular publications. The Tyndale Society Journal, issued twice a year, includes several in depth articles by members and others, as well as book reviews, notices, reports of events, and other Society matters. Reformation is issued once a year and is an academic journal with a range of articles by scholars specialising in Reformation issues.
International conferences have been held in several centres, including Tyndale's place of education, Hertford College, Oxford, where it is intended to mark the Society's twentieth anniversary in 2015. Major conferences have also been held in Antwerp and Geneva. More localised events, both residential conferences and study days, have been organised in the United Kingdom and in the United States of America.
In England it has been customary to hold an annual carol service in the church of St. Mary Abchurch, in the city of London, with singing led by the English Chamber Choir and readings from Tyndale's translations.
Tyndale famously said that he wanted "the boy that driveth the plough" to have the Scripture. At an early stage the society appointed a Ploughboy Convenor to co-ordinate the taking of the story of Tyndale into a variety of groups through talks, audio-visual presentations etc.
More recently a Fellowship of Tyndale Theologians was inaugurated by the Reverend Dr. Ralph Werrell through which those engaged in studying aspects of Tyndale's theology could make contact with others researching similar areas and could identify topics to which attention could usefully be given. Dr. Werrell himself has published The Theology of William Tyndale (2006) and The Roots of Tyndale's Theology (2013). He is currently working on a third book, The Blood of Christ in the Theology of William Tyndale.
Members of the Tyndale Society on College Green, Bristol,
with the Lord Mayor's Chapel in the background.
William Tyndale is said to have preached on this open space c.1523.
Photo © Brian Buxton.
All members receive:
• The Tyndale Society Journal twice a year.
• Details of forthcoming conferences and other events,
sometimes including visits to sites not generally open to the public.
• 25% discount if wishing to advertise in The Tyndale Society Journal.
Subscriptions (as at 2013)
UK annual subscription: £22-50
USA annual subscription: (USD)$45
In addition members can receive Reformation once a year at a significantly discounted price: —
UK annual subscription to include Reformation £45.00
USA annual subscription to include Reformation (USD)$90
Applying for Membership
To subscribe EITHER print off (see below) and complete the UK Membership Application Form or the USA Membership Application Form and forward this, with payment where applicable, to the appropriate membership secretary OR request a PayPal invoice from email@example.com .
Membership forms (in PDF format) can be downloaded by using the appropriate link below (use a right-click if you wish to save the form to disc).
Download UK Membership Application Form
Download USA Membership Application Form
If you have a query about membership of the Society, details for the relevant person to contact can be found on the Contacts page.
Tyndale Society Membership Blog
Visit the Tyndale Society Membership Blog ( www.thetyndalesociety.blogspot.co.uk ) to catch up on Society news and current items of interest.
Tyndale Society Events
Forthcoming Events, to which non-members are welcome, include the following:
2013 - Wednesday, 18th December, at 12-30pm
Annual Carol Service at St. Mary Abchurch, Abchurch Lane, London EC4 with The English Chamber Choir and scripture readings from the translations of William Tyndale. The service will be followed by refreshments to which all are welcome. After lunch members are invited to remain to discuss future plans.
There will be an opportunity to purchase copies of the recently published book The Roots of William Tyndale's Theology by society member, the Revd Dr Ralph Werrell. 'This is a scholarly work, dealing with deep theological issues, but it is not a difficult read and its thesis is an exciting one : that true Biblical Christian truth was long held in these islands, and that the Reformation owes far more to the Wickliffe-Tyndale line than is usually realised.' (S Westcott in the British Church Newspaper).
2014 - Saturday, 10th May
A Study Day in Ipswich, Suffolk (UK), based at St. Peter's by the Waterfront (featured in the 2013 BBC2 documentary on Thomas Cromwell).
There will be papers on two notable Reformation period figures associated with Ipswich. Thomas Wolsey as an educationalist who utilised St. Peter's as his college chapel, and the Protestant playwright and literary historian John Bale, a Suffolk man and one time prior of the Carmelite friars in Ipswich who wrote one of the earliest accounts of William Tyndale. Between the papers there will be a short walk around the streets associated with Wolsey.
Speakers: On Wolsey, Dr.John Blatchly, noted historian of Suffolk and author of many publications, most recently (with Diarmaid MacCulloch) Miracles in Lady Lane (2013). On Bale, Dr. Oliver Wort, Fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, and author of John Bale and Religious Conversion in Reformation England (2013).
In the afternoon attention will turn to late medieval trade between England and Europe, often a means of transmitting new ideas and publications. The significant medieval port of Ipswich and its trade will be highlighted.
Speakers : On the port of Ipswich, Dr. Nicholas Amor, author of Late Medieval Ipswich : Trade and Industry (2011) and chairman of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. The day will conclude with a presentation on one or more merchants who became involved in the unfolding Reformation. Between the papers there will be a short walk along the waterfront.
Ipswich has good rail links to Cambridge (80 mins.), London (70 mins.) and Peterborough (100 mins.), and is at the junction of the A12 (for M25) and the A14 (for A1, M1, M6). For those wishing to stay in Ipswich there is a range of hotel accommodation on and near the waterfront. Ipswich is a short drive from 'Benjamin Britten country', 'Constable country', the Suffolk 'wool churches', historic Colchester, and Britain's largest container port at Felixstowe.
Members will receive booking details with Tyndale Society Journal No. 43. Non-members are invited to register interest (without commitment at this stage) with Tyndale Society Membership Secretary, Gillian Guest, at firstname.lastname@example.org They will then be contacted for confirmation and payment in February. Cost £20 (subject to confirmation).
2015 - 1st to 4th October
Tyndale's Quiddities : Tyndale Society Oxford International Conference at Hertford College, Oxford.
The conference will focus on the non-translation writings of William Tyndale with special attention to his theology. Further details will be published in due course.