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Coverdale Bible 1535



3:1Begynne we then agayne to prayse or selues? Or nede we (as some other) of pistles of commedacion vnto you or letters of commedacion from you?
3:2Ye are oure epistle wrytten in oure hertes: which is vnderstonde and red of all me,
3:3in that ye are knowne, how that ye are ye epistle of Christ, mynistred by vs, and wrytte, not with ynke, but with the sprete of the lyuynge God: not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the hert.
3:4Soch trust haue we thorow Christ to God warde,
3:5not that we are sufficient of oure selues to thynke eny thinge, as of oure selues, but oure ablenesse commeth of God,
3:6which hath made vs able, to be mynisters of the new Testament: not of the letter, but of the sprete. For the letter kylleth, but the sprete geueth life.
3:7But yf the mynistracion yt kylleth thorow the letter, and was figured in stones, was glorious, so that the childre of Israel mighte not beholde the face of Moses, for ye clearnesse of his countenauce, (which glory neuertheles is done awaye)
3:8how shal not ye mynistracion of ye sprete be moch more glorious?
3:9For yf the office that preacheth damnacion be glorious, moch more doth the office that preacheth righteousnes exceade in glory.
3:10For ye other parte that was glorified is nothinge glorified in respecte of this exceadinge glory.
3:11For yf that which is done awaye, be glorious, moch more shal yt which remayneth, be glorious.
3:12Seynge then that we haue soch trust, we vse greate boldnesse,
3:13and do not as Moses, which put a vayle before his face, so that ye children of Israel mighte not se the ende of it, that is done awaye.
3:14But their myndes are blynded. For vnto this daye remayneth the same coueringe vntake awaye in the olde Testament, whan they rede it, which in Christ is put awaye.
3:15But euen vnto this daye whan moses is red, the vayle hangeth before their hertes:
3:16Neuertheles wha they turne to the LORDE, the vayle shalbe taken awaye.
3:17For the LORDE is a sprete: & where the sprete of the LORDE is, there is libertye.
3:18But now the glory of ye LORDE apeareth in vs all with open face, and we are chaunged into the same ymage, from one clearnes to another, eue as of the sprete of the LORDE.
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.