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Coverdale Bible 1535



3:1In those dayes Ihon the Baptyst came and preached in the wildernes of Iury,
3:2saynge: Amede youre selues, the kyngdome of heuen is at honde.
3:3This is he, of whom it is spoke by ye Prophet Esay, which sayeth: The voyce of a cryer in ye wyldernes, prepare the LORDES waye, and make his pathes straight.
3:4This Ihon had his garment of camels heer, and a lethre gerdell aboute his loynes. Hys meate was locustes and wylde hony.
3:5Then went out to hym Ierusalem, and all Iury, and all the region rounde aboute Iordan,
3:6and were baptised of him in Iordan, cofessynge their synnes.
3:7Now when he sawe many of the Pharises and of ye Saduces come to hys baptim, he sayde vnto them: ye generacio of vipers, who hath certified you, that ye shal escape ye vengeaunce to come?
3:8Bewarre, brynge forth due frutes of pennaunce.
3:9Thinke not now, to saye in your selues, we haue Abraham to oure father. For I saye vnto you, that God is able of these stones to rayse vp chyldren vnto Abraham.
3:10Euen now is the axe put vnto ye rote of the trees: therfore euery tre which bringeth not forth good frute, shalbe hewe downe, and cast into the fyre.
3:11I baptise you with water to repentaunce: but he that cometh after me, is myghtier the I, whose shues I am not worthy to beare. He shall baptise you with ye holy goost & wt fyre:
3:12which hath also his fan in his hond, and will pourge his floore, and gadre the wheet into his garner, & will burne ye chaffe with vnquencheable fyre.
3:13Then came Iesus from Galile to Iordan, vnto Ihon, to be baptised of hym.
3:14But Iho forbade hym, saynge: I haue nede to be baptysed of the: and commest thou to me?
3:15Iesus answered & sayd vnto hym: Let it be so now. For thus it be commeth vs to fulfyll all righteousnes. Then he suffred hym.
3:16And Iesus assone as he was baptised, came straight out of the water. And lo, heue was ope ouer hym: and Ihon sawe the spirite of God descende lyke a doue, and lyght vpon hym.
3:17And lo, there came a voyce fro heue sayng: Thys ys that my beloued sonne, in whom is my delyte.
Coverdale Bible 1535

Coverdale Bible 1535

The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale and published in 1535, was the first complete English translation of the Bible to contain both the Old and New Testament and translated from the original Hebrew and Greek. The later editions (folio and quarto) published in 1539 were the first complete Bibles printed in England. The 1539 folio edition carried the royal license and was, therefore, the first officially approved Bible translation in English.

Tyndale never had the satisfaction of completing his English Bible; but during his imprisonment, he may have learned that a complete translation, based largely upon his own, had actually been produced. The credit for this achievement, the first complete printed English Bible, is due to Miles Coverdale (1488-1569), afterward bishop of Exeter (1551-1553).

The details of its production are obscure. Coverdale met Tyndale in Hamburg, Germany in 1529, and is said to have assisted him in the translation of the Pentateuch. His own work was done under the patronage of Oliver Cromwell, who was anxious for the publication of an English Bible; and it was no doubt forwarded by the action of Convocation, which, under Archbishop Cranmer's leading, had petitioned in 1534 for the undertaking of such a work.

Coverdale's Bible was probably printed by Froschover in Zurich, Switzerland and was published at the end of 1535, with a dedication to Henry VIII. By this time, the conditions were more favorable to a Protestant Bible than they had been in 1525. Henry had finally broken with the Pope and had committed himself to the principle of an English Bible. Coverdale's work was accordingly tolerated by authority, and when the second edition of it appeared in 1537 (printed by an English printer, Nycolson of Southwark), it bore on its title-page the words, "Set forth with the King's most gracious license." In licensing Coverdale's translation, King Henry probably did not know how far he was sanctioning the work of Tyndale, which he had previously condemned.

In the New Testament, in particular, Tyndale's version is the basis of Coverdale's, and to a somewhat less extent this is also the case in the Pentateuch and Jonah; but Coverdale revised the work of his predecessor with the help of the Zurich German Bible of Zwingli and others (1524-1529), a Latin version by Pagninus, the Vulgate, and Luther. In his preface, he explicitly disclaims originality as a translator, and there is no sign that he made any noticeable use of the Greek and Hebrew; but he used the available Latin, German, and English versions with judgment. In the parts of the Old Testament which Tyndale had not published he appears to have translated mainly from the Zurich Bible. [Coverdale's Bible of 1535 was reprinted by Bagster, 1838.]

In one respect Coverdale's Bible was groundbreaking, namely, in the arrangement of the books of the. It is to Tyndale's example, no doubt, that the action of Coverdale is due. His Bible is divided into six parts -- (1) Pentateuch; (2) Joshua -- Esther; (3) Job -- "Solomon's Balettes" (i.e. Canticles); (4) Prophets; (5) "Apocrypha, the books and treatises which among the fathers of old are not reckoned to be of like authority with the other books of the Bible, neither are they found in the canon of the Hebrew"; (6) the New Testament. This represents the view generally taken by the Reformers, both in Germany and in England, and so far as concerns the English Bible, Coverdale's example was decisive.