Society Notes


The Third Oxford International Tyndale Conference, Hertford College 6-9 September 1998

This promises to surpass the first two. As we go to press, the programme is not yet quite finished, but we can give here a good sense of what will happen. The general title of William Tyndale: the early years was always intended to be a large umbrella, and speakers will cover, at various lengths, a range of topics. Many other splendid things will happen in the course of the three days.

The first event is an opening service in Hertford College Chapel at 6.00pm on Sunday 6th. This will last about 40 minutes: it will be conducted by Professor Daniell, and the address will be given by Dr Hilary Day. After dinner, there will be a party to launch, we hope, two wonderful Tyndale Society publications: Bill Cooper’s complete old-spelling version of Tyndale’s first, 1526, New Testament: and Deborah Pollard’s complete Concordance to Tyndale’s modern-spelling Old and New Testaments, on CD-ROM.

Throughout Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings there will be plenary lectures, and then several sessions of shorter papers: we give some details of these below. Each morning, however, will begin with a 12-minute news briefing of Tyndale Society developments: on Monday from the Chairman; on Tuesday from the convenor of the Ploughboy Group, Rev. David Ireson; and on Wednesday from the Editor of Reformation, Andrew Hope. At some point, Dr Tony Tyndale, the distinguished descendant of William’s family, will tell us of his latest researches. One of the Ploughboy enterprises is the production of a slide-lecture about Tyndale, with some eighty slides and full lecture-notes, which members can take into local groups. This is the work of David Ireson, with David Green, and it will be shown at 4.30pm on Tuesday 8th, inviting comment. On each of the two weekday evenings, before dinner, there will be a short service of worship and meditation in the College Chapel: on Monday, it will be led by Eunice Burton; on Tuesday, by David Green. Each weekday evening, after dinner, there will be a presentation: on Monday it will be given by members Hans-Jorg and Hildegard Modlmayr of Borken-Gemen, Germany, a demonstration of the large-scale Missa Futura for soloists, choir and orchestra (words by William Blake and Hans-Jorg Modlmayr) which will mark the Millennium at the Philharmonie in Cologne, at the Lincoln Centre, New York, and elsewhere. On Tuesday evening Greg Thompson, whose A & BC Theatre Company produced the outstanding If I were Lifted Up From Earth at the Battersea Arts Centre last Easter, will present an account of that production, with actors performing scenes. This used only the words of Tyndale to tell the Passion and Easter story.

We are extremely fortunate in our plenary speakers; Dr Guido Latré of the Catholic University of Leuven on How Antwerp prepared for Tyndale; Andrew Hope of Oxford (the editor of Reformation) on William Tyndale and the Poyntz family; Dr John King of Ohio, the world authority on early Tudor literature, on The Light of Printing: Tyndale, Foxe, and Editorial Craft; Professor Andrew Pettegree, director of the unique St Andrews Reformation Institute, on Illustrating the Bible: a Protestant dilemma, and Professor David Daniell, Chairman of the Society, on The faith of William Tyndale. Thirty-minute papers will be given by Sir Rowland Whitehead, President of the Institute of Translators and Interpreters, on Tyndale and the art of translating: by Dr Linda Hunter Adams, Director of the Humanities Publications Center, Provo, Utah, on Renaissance Publishing Houses; by David Norton of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, the authority on English and American Bibles, on Dialect Bibles. There will be no fewer than sixteen 20-minute papers, given by speakers from Japan, USA, Canada, India, Ireland and the UK.

The last event, at 2.30pm on Wednesday 9th September, will be the customary Tyndale Forum, to be chaired by Peter Baker, Bursar of Hertford College and Treasurer of the Tyndale Society. At this Forum, to which members and friends can bring their concerns, we shall unveil the new Tyndale Society website.

This is perhaps a suitable occasion to point out that the Trustees of the Tyndale Society are aware that our conference is not cheap. We have kept attendance fees as low as we can (they are the same as in 1996): but unlike almost all other conferences world-wide, we are not subsidised by a university or a business (- yet. We do keep on trying.) The fee we charge is realistic. Without it, we could not hold a conference at all. We have generously been given donations by two members, which mean that there are a small number of bursaries to the conference available for students and impecunious scholars. For what is offered, however, the biennial International Oxford Tyndale Conferences are remarkable value. Register now !

The Fifth Annual Lambeth Tyndale Lecture,

Tuesday 29 September 1998 at 6.00pm

We are honoured that the lecturer this year is the Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams, who will speak on Tyndale and the Christian Society. Dr Williams was until 1992 Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, and Canon of Christ Church, in the University of Oxford. Attendance is free. There will be drinks, by the kind invitation of the Archbishop. As is customary, the lecture will be followed by a supper (at the Novotel Hotel, opposite Lambeth Palace). The price of the supper will be c.£14.00 per head - tickets available from the Secretary, Mrs Priscilla Frost.

Rowan Williams is becoming increasingly known as a poet: with his permission, we print in this number a poem, I saw him standing, from his collection After Silent Centuries (The Perpetua Press, Oxford, 1994: ISBN 1 870882 10 5).

Evensong at Gloucester Cathedral Tuesday 6 October 1998

Evensong will be at 5.30pm and will be followed by supper and a lecture. The speaker this year will be Canon John Tiller of Hereford Cathedral: In the Steps of William Tyndale: Miles Smith as Bible Translator A light supper will follow the lecture. Tickets for the supper can be obtained form David Green, 22 Fossfield, Winstone, Gloucestershire, GL7 7JY. Tel: (01285) 821651.

The Fifth Annual Hertford Tyndale Lecture, Examination Schools, Oxford, Thursday 22 October 1998 at 5.00pm. The Society is pleased to welcome to this occasion one of our founder members, Professor Jean Aitchison of Worcester College, Oxford. The title of her lecture, using a quotation from Thomas More, is Drinker of the devil’s dregs: Tyndale as a translator. Dr. Aitchison is Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication in the University of Oxford. Many members will have heard her give the BBC’s Reith Lectures in 1997. After the lecture, the Principal of Hertford College invites us to a reception in the Lodgings: we are most grateful to Sir Walter and Lady Bodmer for this.


The new British Library

The Tyndale Society was honoured to receive an invitation to the Opening of the new British Library building by Her Majesty the Queen on 25 June. This magnificent occasion was attended by your Chairman, a Patron (Baroness James) and a Trustee (Roy Sully). We might note here that the unique British Library illuminated copy of Tyndale’s 1526 Worms New Testament is magnificently displayed in the new John Ritblat Gallery, Treasures of the British Library. This, with the Pearson Gallery, was opened on the 20th April by the Culture Secretary, the Rt. Hon. Chris Smith. In his speech, the Chief Executive of the British Library, Dr Brian Lang, singled out 'the Tyndale Bible’ for mention. Several members of the Society were present.


The Trustees, Patrons and members of the Society express here their thanks for donations to Society funds: to Charlie and Nancy Munger, for the second time; and to members Robert and Grace Carter, and Steve and Deirdre Sohmer.

New Patron

We are particularly pleased that David Zeidberg, the distinguished Director of the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, has accepted our invitation to be a Patron. This institution is one of the world’s great private libraries (with an art gallery and 230 acres of spectacular gardens) and a centre of international scholarship. It was the first American host to the British Library’s Let There Be Light exhibition (see Journal 6, February 1997). David Zeidberg’s interests include the earliest European printed book trade, very relevant to Tyndale’s works.

New name

Until very recently, one of the largest, and oldest, seminaries in North America (and with 1,100 students, certainly the largest in Canada) was known as 'Ontario Bible College / Ontario Theological Seminary’, in Toronto. From 1 June 1998, it has become 'Tyndale College and Seminary’ - an inspired move, we all agree. Equally good has been the decision to mount later this summer, in that new Tyndale College and Seminary, a Bible exhibition based on the Society’s ten Tyndale panels. These were originally at the British Library, and have recently been at Point Loma, San Diego. Most inspired of all has been the installing, also on 1 June, as Chancellor, Dr Tony Tyndale. We congratulate the new Chancellor and the President, Dr Brian Stiller, and send them, their colleagues and students, our prayerful good wishes.


Two video presentations about Tyndale will shortly be available. The British Library is freeing for the use of Society members its 15-minute video made for the Let There Be Light Exhibition in 1994. Though this is largely your Chairman talking to camera about Tyndale, the video does show a 1534 New Testament in some detail. Copies will eventually be available in both PAL and NTSC systems. Your Chairman also delivered in February the 1998 Staley Lectures at William Tyndale College, Farmington Hills, near Detroit (see elsewhere in this Journal). These three lectures were video’d, and in edited form are being produced commercially, again in both PAL and NTSC. Details will be given in a later Journal.

A Media Event, November 1998

In our next Journal, we hope to give details of an event in a London auditorium in November (either on one evening or for most of a Saturday) which will explore the business (literally) of Getting It Across. We intend to show, and discuss, some of the many animated versions of Bible stories, and parts of relevant movies. We hope to listen to extracts from audio versions and presentations, and see parts of Bible slide lectures (including our own on Tyndale - see the Conference programme). We are negotiating with speakers (Cecil B. de Mille is, alas, out of our reach). Watch this space.

Luther/Tyndale Conference, Worms, 2000 Several members have put forward the idea of a conference in Germany on Luther and Tyndale in the Millennium Year. The ideal location, for both Reformers, would be Worms. The ideal date would be early September 2000, after the Fourth Oxford International Tyndale Conference. To say that this is at the planning stage is to exaggerate, but it is too good an idea to let go. We have, happily, one thing fixed: the Director of the Conference, we are pleased to announce, will be Dr Guido Latré of Leuven, working in conjunction with Professor Carsten Peter Thiede of Paderborn. (Please do not write to either of these members about dates, travel or accommodation. We hope to arrange an Organiser soon. Suggestions would be welcome.)

Tyndale readings

The Ploughboy Group suggests that members might like to think about approaching local churches to take the Bible readings one Sunday from Tyndale. It is a fine suggestion. The Sunday might be that nearest 6th October. The Editor would welcome comments and ideas about this, especially from members who have experience of asking their local church to do it.

Reformation 3 1998, and 4 1999.

We are sorry that Reformation 3 has been so seriously held up. This delay has come from circumstances completely beyond our control. The volume (which is very fine) is even now being printed and bound, and should reach subscribers before the summer holidays. Reformation 4 is already well advanced, and will be published in the first days of February, 1999.

Valid XHTML 1.0!