Anne M. O'Donnell (S.N.D.) & John T. Day: Tyndale Commemoration in Washington. D.C.

A conference on WILLIAM TYNDALE: CHURCH, STATE & WORD was held at the Catholic University of America and the Folger Shakespeare Library, 14-17 July 1994. Eighty people registered from the U.S.A., Canada, England, France, Italy and Japan.

On 14 July, three panels at Catholic University focused on "Northern Humanism." In the first, Robert Coogan examined Christ's presence as seen by Franciscans in the Eucharist and by Tyndale in the Bible: Germain Marc'hadour defended Fisher's translation of fides quae per dilectionem operatur (Gal. 5:6) against Tyndale's attack in Obedience: Anne Richardson positioned Tyndale among five humanist types: classical scholar, secretarial Latinist, Hebraist, New Testament philologist and committed Christian. In the second panel Louis Martz dramatized the rhetoric of confutation in More's and Tyndale's polemical works: Brian Cummings placed More's defense of Speech and Spirit against Tyndale's support of Book and Letter; Elizabeth McCutcheon unfolded the pathos in prison letters written or received by More, Tyndale and Frith. In the third panel R.J. Schoeck reviewed the history of the church canons cited against Tyndale; Clare Murphy documented Mores attitude to the Turks in Utopia and Dialogue of Comfort with Tyndale's in Obedience and Answer to More: Jos Vercruysse assessed the case against Tyndale made by the Louvain theologian Jacobus Latomus.

Fleeing a late afternoon thunderstorm, the conferees attended a reception in Mullen Library and viewed an exhibit of rare books, e.g.: Deutsche Bibel (Nuremberg, 1483), Les sept pseaulmes en francoys (Paris, 1487) and John Donne's autographed copy of The workes of Sir Thomas More Knyght (London, 1557). In the evening, W.F. de Hertogh showed slides of the Tyndale Museum in Vilvoorde before the film God's Outlaw.

On 15 July the conference moved to Capitol Hill for three panels on "Tyndale and the Reformation." The opening session took place in a nearby Lutheran church and the other two sessions in the Folger Theater. In the first, Richard Graham balanced Tyndale's subjective explanation of the Lord's Prayer in Exposition upon Matthew with Luther's objective commentary in a 1532 sermon-series; John Day clarified the difference between Tyndale's covenant theology and Frith's double justification in Testament of William Tracy; Eric Lund contrasted Tyndale's and Frith's theology of the Lord's Supper: physical sign versus spiritual eating. In the second panel William Stafford delineated Tyndale's multifaceted view of the laity; Peter Auksi argued that Tyndale enhanced his credibility by appealing to impersonal folk wisdom: Donald Millus declaimed the earthy language which prompted Victorian editors to bowdlerize Tyndale. In the third panel Gerald Hammond illustrated Tyndale's developing knowledge of Hebrew from Josua to 2 Chronicles as well as from his revisions in the 1534 New Testament: Douglas Parker displayed Tyndale's ambiguous attitude toward interpreting scripture literally and reading with "feeling faith"; Mary Jane Barnett asserted that Tyndale split the literal sense of scripture into "true" and "(non) true", thus readmitting allegory into hermeneutics. In the afternoon Anne O'Donnell lectured on "Erasmus and Tyndale as Biblical Exegetes" for the Erasmus Society. Comparing key New Testament passages from Tyndale's Independent Works with Erasmus' Annotations and Paraphrases, she traced Tyndale's theology from justification by faith to the law written in our hearts.

On 16 July there were three panels on "Tyndale, Politics and Literature" in the Folger. In the first. John Dick outlined the theological changes made in Mammon and Practice of Prelates after Tyndale's death: Thomas Wyly evaluated Tyndale's political opinions of English foreign policy. Henry Vlll's divorce proceedings, Wolsey's fall and More's rise; David lanes situated Tyndale's theory of absolute obedience to kings and magistrates in a tradition of resistance to secular authority; Matthew DeCoursey revealed the paradigm of promise-tribulation-fulfilment in biblical narratives in Tyndale's Obedience. In the second panel Arthur Kinney allied the hidden exegesis of Skelton with the open exegesis of Tyndale in their anti-Wolsey satires, Rudolph Almasy juxtaposed the errancy of Spenser's Red Crosse Knighte to Tyndale's steadfast life; Mary Rhinelander McCarl explained how Puritans adopted the pseudo-Chaucerian Plowman's Tale to their reforming purposes in 1606. In the third panel Dale Hoak depicted the arched crown as a symbol of imperial kingship from Henry V to Henry VIII: Drew Clark analyzed the role of corrupt prelate in Tyndale. Marlowe. Shakespeare and Wehster: Ramie Targoff applied Tyndale's comments on authentic prayer in Exposition upon Matthew to Claudius' failed prayer in Hamlet.

Metaphorically offering the best wine last, David Evans of the British Embassy introduced the final speaker. David Daniell acclaimed Tyndale's genius for language from his Gloucestershire speech to his Hebrew studies. especially in the virtuoso translation of "Gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks" (3 Kings 10:22). Afterwards, there was a reception in the Great Hall.

Sunday 17 July began with a service from the Book of Common Prayer in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where John Day preached. Later, Germain Marc'hadour concelebrated a Latin Mass. The day concluded with Evensong at the Washington National Cathedral (Episcopal), where David Daniell preached.

Taking advantage of the extended visits of our two distinguished scholars, we arranged for David Daniell to speak on "Tyndale's Testament" at the Washington National Cathedral on 12 July and Germain Marc'hadour to speak on "Thomas More: A Saint for All Seasons" at St. Ann's Church on 13 July.

The conference was supported entirely by private funds and volunteer service. We thank especially the Episcopal School of Theology, University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee for designing our striking red brochure, and the Folger Shakespeare Library for donating use of the Elizabethan Theater and Great Hall. In gratitude, we were able to give each institution a copy of the Tyndale portrait reproduced by Valentine Fine Art Limited.

Valid XHTML 1.0!