IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 3, Number 6, February 5 to February 11, 2001

Covenant Theologian, Christian Martyr
Part 1: Background and Early Biography

by Jules Grisham


“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord” (Jer. 31:33-34).

These words from Jeremiah seem most appropriate to recall in any discussion of William Tyndale. His life is a testimony of faithfulness to the gospel truth, even unto death at the hands of those who would gag, muffle, or otherwise silence that saving message. William Tyndale was possessed of one overwhelming passion: to see that God’s words in Scripture be conveyed to the hands and into the ears of the common people, that they might know the freedom of life in Christ and the joy of obeying God’s gospel law of love. The new tools of humanism were showing the way to hear the words of Scripture as they were meant to be heard, in all their freshness and power, stripped of the accumulated dross of centuries of scholastic complication, and the printing press represented the emergence of a new technology which had the power to spread this revitalized message. Following Erasmus’ lead, Tyndale saw the importance of translating God’s Word into the language of common people, in order that both learned and unlearned might enjoy the benefits of this blessed revelation. And he was convinced not just that the people would derive all benefit from such access, but that the Church was perpetrating great evil in keeping them from it.

A.G. Dickens wrote that:

In England as elsewhere, the Protestant Reformation sought first and foremost to establish a gospel-Christianity, to maintain the authority of the New Testament evidence over mere church traditions and human inventions masquerading as universally approved truths and ‘unwritten verities.’”1

And, in England, it was Tyndale upon whom fell the burden of drawing the academic enterprise of humanism out of its university setting and bringing it to the people in the form of the English Bible. “In giving them the Scripture in the common tongue,” Hughes tells us, “he was giving them power to study and come to know God’s word themselves, that they would no longer need rely on the mediatorial role of a priestly clergy, but would know God’s word as it was written on their hearts.”2 And in his pursuit of this vision, Tyndale would defy the combined powers of emperor, king, pope, and bishops to achieve a tour de force, for though he would be hounded for the last twelve years of his life, finally to be betrayed, imprisoned, and executed for it, he would persevere and publish in the English language a version of the Bible which would have an incalculable effect on English society over the next several centuries, and through the English, upon the entire world.

There is a famous incident, described by the historian John Foxe, in which

“Master Tyndall happened to be in the company of a learned man, and in communing and disputing with him drove him to that issue, that the learned man said: ‘We were better be without God’s law than the Pope’s.’ Master Tyndall, hearing that, answered him: ‘I defy the Pope and all his laws,’ and said, ‘If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost.’”3

What more marvelous testimony to the fulfillment of Tyndale’s hopes, then, can be given than these words by Edward Fox, bishop of Hereford, addressed to an assembly of bishops one year after the translator’s execution as an heretic: “Make not yourselves the laughing-stock of the world; light is sprung up, and is scattering the clouds. The lay people know the Scriptures better than many of us!”4


Various theories have been put forward regarding the nature, extent, and progress of the English Reformation which bear directly on our discussion of William Tyndale. The basic question which they seek to answer is whether the English Reformation – that period and process during which England was transformed from a mostly Catholic to a mostly Protestant nation – must be understood as, in essence, an upward-driving popular phenomenon or a downward-pressing imposition by certain segments of the elite. A.G. Dickens advocates a variant of the former view. His “rapid-from-below” model of the Reformation proposes that widespread popular dissatisfaction with the religious establishment powered conversions and represented a groundswell of reforming energy which forced its way to the top. Crucial to his thesis is the persistence of Lollard presence, doctrines, and sympathies among a broad base of the English population throughout the fifteenth and into the sixteenth centuries.5 Opposed to this view is what might be called the “slow-from-the-top” model advocated by Christopher Haigh, who sees the English Reformation as an imposition of state which was only gradually, and even then only reluctantly, accepted by the populous.6

Now, with regard to William Tyndale, the first thing to keep in mind is just how early in the course of the English Reformation his life and work was. His translation of the New Testament was published in 1525, and his martyrdom in Belgium took place eleven years later, in 1536. Tyndale thus stands near the very beginning of the Reformation in England. In terms of attempting to answer the question of his influence in the Reformation, then, we must point to the obvious, which is that in giving the Bible in the common tongue to the people of England, he set in motion a change which would resound across the entire culture, in which the English would become more and more a people of the Book, whose thoughts and expression would come to be shaped to a great extent by the Bible. In this sense, certainly, in translating the Bible into the common tongue, Tyndale gave the people of England that crucial tool and resource without which Reformation – whether from above or below – would have been quite impossible.

But what of Tyndale himself? There is, or has been, something of a consensus among scholars that he was a theological nonentity, that he was on the one hand merely a translator, and on the other hand an unoriginal conveyor of Lutheran doctrine to the English public. Gordon Rupp summarized his influence as follows: “Tyndale was concerned to make known the teachings of Luther in English dress.”7 And from Philip Hughes, these devastating words: “Tyndale can hardly be reckoned a religious thinker of any real importance. The ideas he puts forth are none of them his own; nor does his development add anything of importance to their content.”8 Note how both these statements fit nicely with Haigh’s “Reformation-from-above” model. Tyndale, surely a member of England’s academic elite, is seen as conveying the teachings of that non-native-to-England system, Lutheranism.

Opposed to these views are those of Smeeton, who argues that Tyndale must be understood less as an elitist Lutheran and more as a populist and sympathizer with England’s native heresy Lollardy. His theology, Smeeton writes,

“can be understood more completely by looking at his English context, which included Lollard dissent, rather than only at contemporary continental events… Tyndale’s works found a warm popular welcome in England partially because they expressed values and opinions which were already cherished by the English dissenters.”9

So, was Tyndale something of a Lollard-sympathizer himself, as Smeeton has suggested, a populist whose crucial service to the English Reformation would be to Protestantize, by means of his translation of the Bible, the long-simmering but low-lying Lollard discontent? Or was he just an humanist-turned-Lutheran, whose translation of Scripture and accompanying margin notes reveal his doctrinal heavy-handedness and theological uncreativity, per the views of Rupp, Hughes, and others? Or, finally, was he neither distinctly Lollard nor fully Lutheran, but an original and creative theologian whose development of a covenantal theology marks him as, in some senses, the first Puritan?10 In short, was Tyndale the theological link between the radical moralism of fifteenth-century Lollardy and the Protestant (that is, emphasizing the priority of faith) moralism of seventeenth-century Puritanism? As I hope we will see, he is in many senses a crucial linking figure, both vertically – linking in his person and work the humanist enterprise of the academic elite to the pastoral needs of England’s common people – and horizontally – linking England’s Lollard past with its Puritan future.


“Lollard” is a pejorative word coined by an Irish Cistercian monk for the followers of John Wyclif, a scholar at Oxford during the late fourteenth century who believed that the Bible was the sole sure basis of belief and practice, and that it ought to be placed in the hands of the people. Accordingly, Wyclif, and his followers after him, translated the Scriptures into the common tongue. Copies of these were disseminated throughout England. Grounded thus in a Bible-based theology, Wyclif developed several other views which were revolutionary in the context of late Medieval Catholicism. Among them, he held that the true Church was restricted to those persons whom God had predetermined; he rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation; he cast doubts on papal supremacy; he denounced monasticism and advocated clerical marriage; he was a strong advocate of moral and fiscal reform of the clergy; and he developed an erastian view of authority, according to which the secular ruler was to be obeyed as the servant of God. Indeed, the only major Protestant doctrine which Wyclif did not elaborate clearly was justification by faith alone.11

These themes, highlighting the need of moral and ecclesiastical reform, favoring Scripture, preached to, read by, and empowering the common man, over the excessive ritualism of the late Medieval Church and the role of the priests as intermediaries, spoke to a widespread hunger for such reforms and to an exhaustion with clerical abuses. They found widespread support among townsmen, merchants, gentry, and some of the lower clergy. According to Christopher Hill, “Bible reading was associated with the rise of an educated urban and rural middling sort: we meet with Lollard merchants and Lollard knights.”12 In short, Lollardy thrived among populations of incipient widespread literacy. But the increasingly revolutionary character of the movement tended to alienate the ruling classes, and it failed to attract the doctrinally conservative mass of peasantry.13

The movement met with catastrophe in 1414 when Sir John Oldcastle led a march of Lollards from all over the realm on London. The rebels were crushed by Henry V at St. Giles’ Fields, and after that the movement lost what influential support it had once had. It was driven underground where, leaderless and armed only with circulating manuscript copies of the Wycliffite Bible, its adherents concentrated among groups of tradesmen and artisans, but also attracting a few priests, merchants, and professional men.14

The official Church was of course opposed to these Lollard ideas, as they attacked the very basis of episcopal and priestly power and function. They came to regard that the possession of the Bible in the common tongue in the hands of the commonality was a very dangerous thing, arguing that God’s Word would of necessity be disastrously mishandled in the hands of the unwashed and unlearned. For example, they pointed out that those who were untrained in the fullness of Church doctrine might read the Pentateuch and emerge as advocates of polygamy. In response to this burgeoning threat to their power, the English bishops resolved to halt the spread of this “contagion” at its source.15

In 1408 the bishops’ Convocation at Oxford formally forbade possession of any English version of the Bible without a license from a bishop:

“The Holy Scripture is not to be translated into the vulgar tongue, nor a translation to be expounded, until it shall have been duly examined, under pain of excommunication and the stigma of heresy… We therefore enact and ordain that no one henceforth on his own authority translate any text of Holy Scripture into the English or other language, by way of a book, pamphlet, or tract, and that no book, pamphlet, or tract of this kind be read, either recently composed in the time of the said John Wyclif, or since then, or that may in future be composed, in part or in whole, publicly or privily, under pain of greater excommunication, until the translation itself shall have been approved by the diocesan of the place or if need be by a provincial council. Whoever shall do the contrary is to be punished in like manner as a supporter of heresy and error.”16

Thus it stood through the fifteenth century and beyond that reading God’s Word in the English language was banned, and possession of the Scripture in the English tongue was met by “pain of excommunication and the stigma of heresy.” Moreover, “women (except noblewomen and gentlewomen), artisans, husbandmen, laborers or servants were forbidden to read the New Testament, or to discuss it in public.”17

Note that this banning of vernacular Bibles was not reflective of the Church’s practice elsewhere. There were translations of the Scripture in everyday language in several European countries. But the circumstances were such in England, where the Church authorities were seeking to eradicate traces of the Bible-based Lollard heresy, that such a rule was enforced. In fact, the Church was more opposed to vernacular Bibles in England than anywhere else in Europe, except possibly Bohemia, home of the Wyclif-influenced “outbreak” of Hussitism.18

Dickens notes that although the historical evidence for Lollardy gets very thin through the mid-years of the fifteenth century, almost certainly indicating deep decline as a consequence of the combined effects of persecution, the absence of viable leaders, and the passage of time, the movement nevertheless seems to have experienced a revival in the 1490’s, as suddenly we see evidence of Lollards being prosecuted across England. It might well be argued that this revival was sparked, at least in part, by the advent of printing. Copies of the Lollard Scriptures were in manuscript form, and were therefore expensive and increasingly linguistically obsolete. As for expense, printing had resulted in, or at least promised, a dramatic increase in availability and affordability.19 As for the issue of obsolescence, William Tyndale would shortly address this issue by retranslating the Scripture in the ordinary language of sixteenth century Englishmen. In the meantime, printing gave great stimulus to anticlericalism.20 Rather similar to the effects of the Internet today, printing enabled the widespread dissemination of ideas whose prior expression had had more isolated effects. The power structure which had banned God’s Word was fully aware of the dangers proposed by this new medium. In a quote which is remarkable both for its paranoia and it prescience, Rowland Phillips, a Catholic loyalist during the reign of Henry VIII, is said to have spoken these words: “Either we must root out printing, or printing will root out us.”21

It was into this explosive atmosphere of official paranoia and heresy-hunting that Tyndale arrived proclaiming his intention to translate the Bible for use by the common Englishman. Before moving on to the life of Tyndale himself, however, and to the widespread discontent in academic circles found expression in the “New Learning,” or humanism, we ought briefly to mention two events in the year 1511 which provide evidence also for a significant popular discontent with the ecclesiastical establishment on the eve of the Reformation. First, we see in that year the Archbishop of Canterbury convening a council on heresy; clearly the establishment saw itself as facing at least a serious problem, if not a crisis, in its battle against the persistence of Lollard and other heretical elements. Second, and more importantly, was the Richard Hunne affair. Hunne, a Lollard sympathizer, found himself in trouble for refusing to pay burial fees, was dressed down publicly by the priest, and when he turned to the ecclesiastical authorities to complain, he found himself in prison. When they checked his home, they found a Lollard Bible in his possession. Soon after this imprisonment, he was found hanging in his cell. But it was suspected that he had been murdered by clergymen. These suspicions were supported by the findings of a jury investigating the matter, but the evidence was suppressed (until 1550!), and, under the “benefit of the clergy” statute, the guilty parties got off free. After his murder, the Church authorities, relentless in their drive to prosecute heresy, burned his dead body. These events triggered protests across London.


William Tyndale was born in or about the year 1495, of a middling, successful family in Gloucestershire. The area was a center of England’s emerging wool and cloth trade, and it was along the economic routes of the cloth traders that Tyndale’s books would later be smuggled from the Low Countries to the rest of England.

Tyndale studied at Oxford from about 1510, earning a B.A. in 1512 and an M.A. in 1515. At some time during this period he was ordained. We do not know much about Tyndale during this crucial period, but we do have the assessment of Sir Thomas More, who would later be his fiercest critic. Tyndale was “well known, before he went over the seas, for a man of right good living, studious and well learned in Scripture, and in divers places in England was very well liked, and did great good with preaching.”22

Tyndale’s story is part of the great revival of learning which was sweeping across Europe during this period. Two developments were fueling these changes. The first, printing, we have already mentioned. The second was the final fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1485, and the resultant flight of Greek scholars to western Europe, especially to Italy. The arrival of the Greeks and the beginning of Greek studies in the West was an epochal event. It marked the advent of humanism, or “New Learning,” in northern Europe, and represented a turn from scholastic philosophy and theology in favor of literary, historical, and philological studies. By the 1490’s the new approach was being applied to the Bible, which entailed the method of biblical interpretation which we call grammatico-historical. Dickens refers to this new emphasis on the authority of the source texts as “the essential basis of an evangelical Christianity.”23

During the 1480’s several English scholars from Oxford learned Greek, some having traveled to Italy to do so, and brought the knowledge back home to England. Between 1496-1504, one of them, John Colet, lectured at Oxford on Paul’s epistles. He examined the theology of Paul as it presented itself from the Greek texts, stripping off the accumulated mass of scholastic interpretation. His hermeneutical methodology was the grammatico-historical approach. Of the New Testament he said, “Except of the parables, all the rest has the sense that appears on the surface, nor is one thing said and another meant, but the very thing is meant which is said, and the sense is wholly literal.”24 This emphasis stood opposed to the fourfold meaning-structure of Medieval interpretation, consisting of literal, allegorical, tropological, and anagogical – of which the classic example was Jerusalem: literally, the city of the Jews; allegorically, the church of Christ; tropologically, the human soul; and angogically, the heavenly city.

Tyndale was a humanist as well. Consider his later attack on the allegorical methodology:

“The greatest cause of which captivity and the decay of the faith, and this blindness wherein we now are, sprang first of allegories. For Origen and the doctors of his time drew all the Scripture unto allegories; whose example that came after followed so long, till they at last forgot the order and process of the text, supposing that the Scripture served but to feign allegories upon; make descant upon plain song. Then came our sophisters with their anagogical and ‘chopological’ sense, and with an antitheme of half an inch, out of which some of them drew a thread nine days long.”25
“The Scripture hath but one sense, which is the literal sense. And that literal sense is the root and ground of all, and the anchor that never faileth, whereunto if thou cleave, thou canst never err or go out of the way. The Scripture indeed useth proverbs, similitudes, riddles, or allegories, as all other speeches do; but that which the proverb, similitude, riddle, or allegory signifieth is ever the literal sense, which thou must seek out diligently.”26

The humanists were characterized not just by a passion to “clean up” academic methodology, but also to “clean up” church life and practice. Colet, for his part, censured the vices and ignorance of the clergy, and even expressed disapproval of images, auricular confession, and purgatory. Erasmus, the foremost man of letters in his day, ridiculed scholasticism and argued that the Bible should be translated into the common language.

Now, with regard to the Bible, Erasmus had gone to Oxford in 1499 and heard Colet lecture. According to one account, he “saw [from this crucial encounter] that the recovery of the Bible and of its authentic interpretation meant first of all the editing, printing, and circulation of as good a text as possible of the Greek New Testament.”27 While it may be arguable whether it was Colet’s influence which was so decisive or whether he had already decided on such a course, it remains true that Erasmus worked on the Greek text of his New Testament while at Cambridge between 1511 and 1514. His Greek New Testament appeared in March 1516, which included his own parallel Latin version alongside. This publication, on the immediate eve of the Protestant Reformation, must be reckoned one of the decisive events in the history of the Christian Church. Both Luther and Tyndale would shortly be the first to translate Erasmus’ text into the vernacular, Luther in 1522 and Tyndale in 1525.

Back to our narrative, Tyndale apparently spent some time at Cambridge after receiving his Master’s Degree from Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1515. Erasmus’ influence would still have been felt there, and it was at Cambridge that the first known society of Lutherans in England gathered. The meetings which began about 1520, at the White Horse Inn (which was also referred to as “Little Germany” on account of the continuous discussion of German doctrines there) were led by an Augustinian regular canon, Robert Barnes, and involved many future leaders of the English Protestant movement.28 We see that at this early phase Lutheranism is an international movement, with its roots in academics and humanism, which had certainly not yet connected up with the homegrown radicalism of the persisting bands of crypto-Lollards. According to Malcolm Lambert, “the coming of continental Protestantism to England initially affected clergy and graduates primarily, and did so on a small scale, touching the universities, London, and the east coast.”29

As for Tyndale, we do not know much about his comings and goings at Cambridge during this time, but we can be certain that it was during these years at Oxford and Cambridge that he became proficient in Greek. And it is certainly to this period at least – no later – that we can attribute Tyndale’s glorious, high view of Scripture. Consider this wonderful quote:

“Scripture is a light, and showeth us the true way, both what to do and what to hope for, and a defense from all error, and a comfort in adversity that we despair not, and feareth us in prosperity that we sin not… Suck out the pith of Scripture and arm thyself against all assaults.”30
Or again, these words:
“The Scripture is that wherewith God draweth us unto him. The Scriptures sprang out of God, and flow unto Christ, and were given to lead us to Christ. Thou must therefore go along by the Scripture as by a line, until thou come at Christ, which is the way’s end and resting place.”31


In about 1521, for reasons unknown, Tyndale removed himself from the academic environment of Cambridge and took up an appointment as tutor in the household of Sir John Walsh of Little Sodbury. This was back in the district where he was raised. But on his return “he was appalled at the ignorance and crudeness of the local clergy and was distressed at their neglect of the flocks over which they had been set as pastors.”32 There was no resident bishop in the diocese from 1512 until 1535, when Hugh Latimer would consecrate the first reforming bishop there. The current bishop resided in Rome, which meant that the diocesan duties of Gloucester and Worcester were divided between Cardinal Wolsey (also, obviously, absent) and one Dr. Parker.

The Walshes received a continuous stream of esteemed guests, among whom were assorted officials from high in the Church establishment. Tyndale was often invited to sit with them at the dinner table, and, in the frequent theological debates which ensued, Tyndale would always defeat the visitors by appealing to Scripture, chapter and verse, “until in the continuance thereof those great beneficed doctors waxed weary and bore a secret grudge in their hearts against Master Tyndale.”33

These events caused much grumbling at the alehouse, reports Foxe, “for that was their preaching place.” Soon enough, they accused Tyndale to the new chancellor of the diocese, Dr. Parker. A trap was then set, with all the ministers of the district being invited to a meeting, Tyndale included, but for which he was unaware of the accusations against him. Tyndale later wrote that when he came before the chancellor, “he threatened me grievously, and reviled me, and rated me as though I had been a dog.” At the end of the day, he prevailed, at least for the moment, and emerged with his reputation at least officially intact, free of the stain of heresy. But Tyndale realized that it was probably best for him that he leave the region before the local heresy hunters had another go at him.34

Tyndale was then firmly resolved to translate the Scriptures into the common tongue in order that people might gain access to the riches of God’s Word directly, and no longer be kept in the dark by corrupt and ignorant men. He was convinced that,

“if the Scripture were turned into the vulgar speech, that the poore people might also reade and see the simple plaine woord of God… It was not possible to stablish the lay people in any truth, except the Scripture were so plainly layde before theyr eyes in theyr mother tongue, that they myght see the processe, order, and meaning of the text: For els what so euer truth shuld be taught them, these enemies of the truth would quenche it againe, either wyth apparant reasons of Sophistrie, and traditions of their own making, founded without all ground of Scripture: either els iuggling with the text, expounding it in such a sense, as impossible it were to gather of the text, if the right processe, order, and meaning thereof were seene.”35

He was, of course, fully aware of the prohibition on such a translation, and intended to comply with the law by getting a bishop’s approval. In fact, a new bishop had been appointed in London, named Cuthbert Tunstall, a young man and an intellectual, a friend of Erasmus and of humanism.36 So in the summer of 1523, Tyndale departed for London, never to see Gloucester again.

At this point in our examination of his life, we might note two things: first, Tyndale’s passionate opposition to academic obfuscation, and his commitment to the plain-sense approach to biblical interpretation; and second, his wonderful pastoral concern. He was not merely concerned with academic clarity, but that his flock enjoy that clarity as well. We might plausibly understand him, then, to be at this stage of his life a pastorally-concerned academic. Put another way, he was a humanist scholar with strong populist inclinations. He was probably already colored by Lutheranism at this point, from his days at Cambridge, but not so much as to come under taint of heresy at his hearing. But this is speculation. And as for Lollard influence? That is even more speculative, but the fact that he opted to become ordained and be schooled in the establishment universities would seem at least to suggest that Lollardy was not his primary influence.


Tyndale went to London to meet with the archbishop Cuthbert Tunstall in hopes of getting the required permission to translate the New Testament into English. But the meeting was a disaster. Tyndale was essentially rebuffed in his request, told that there was no room for him in the episcopal household, and advised to seek assistance elsewhere. So he did, remaining in London for almost a year, “in so muche,” wrote Foxe, “that he understoode, not onely there to be no rowme in the Bishops house for hym to translate the new Testament: but also that there was no place to do it in al England.”37 No permission would be forthcoming in England.

During this difficult period he stayed with Humphrey Monmouth, a London merchant through whom he became connected with a shadowy group of Protestant-sympathizers with connections in Germany known as the Christian Brethren. Of Tyndale, Monmouth would later write from prison that he “lived (as he said) like a good priest, studying both night and day. He would eat but sodden meat, by his good will, nor drink but small single beer. He was never seen in that house to wear linen about him, all the space of his being there.” He promised to support Tyndale, with a subsidy of 10 pounds, and arranged to have Tyndale leave London for greater safety as he worked to translate God’s Word.38


1. A.G. Dickens, The English Reformation (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992), 13.

2. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, Theology of the English Reformers (Abingdon: Horseradish, 1997), 31.

3.David Daniell, Tyndale’s New Testament, Translated by William Tyndale (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), vii.

4. John Foxe, The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe, vol. III (1877), 419, quoted in Dickens, English Reformation, 95.

5. Dickens, English Reformation, esp. chapter 3.

6. Christopher Haigh, English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society under the Tudors (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).

7. Gordon Rupp, Studies in the Making of the English Protestant Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947), 49; quoted in Donald Dean Smeeton, Lollard Themes in the Reformation Theology of William Tyndale (Kirksville, MO: Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers, Inc., 1986), 18.

8. Philip Hughes, The King’s Proceedings, Volume I of The Reformation in England, 3 vols. (London: Hollis & Carter, 1954), 138; quoted in Smeeton, Lollard Themes, 19.

9. Smeeton, Lollard Themes, 15.

10. A view popularized by M.M. Knappen, “William Tindale – the First English Puritan,” Church History 5 (1936), 201-15; cited in Smeeton, Lollard Themes, 20.

11. Dickens, English Reformation, 53; although there is some evidence to the contrary (e.g. “From the Archives,” Christian History, vol. 2, no. 2. [1983, 25).

12. Christopher Hill, The English Bible and the Seventeenth Century Revolution (London: Penguin, 1993), 9.

13. Dickens, English Reformation, 53

14. Ibid., 53. Significantly perhaps for Tyndale who grew up in the textile producing area of Gloucestershire. J.F. Davis finds that roughly half of all Lollards in southeast England were artisans, of which forty-one percent were from the textile industry. (See J.F. Davis, “Lollard Survival in the Textile Industry in South East England,” Studies in Church History 3 [1966]: 191-201.)

15. By the way, as we go through this, notice how often the authorities speak of the spread of these ideas in terms of epidemiology, and will seek to address it by containing it, as if it were a public health issue.

16. Pollard, Alfred W., Records of the English Bible (London: Oxford University Press, 1911), 80-1.

17. Hill, English Bible, 11.

18. Ibid., 11.

19.Ibid., 11. Printing made the Bible much more affordable than the manuscript versions had been. According to Hill, Tyndale’s New Testament cost seven to eighteen times less than Lollard manuscripts.

20. For example, in the years between 1530 and 1547, no less than nine Wycliffite treatises were reprinted. Three of them were published in Antwerp by publishers who worked with Tyndale. See Smeeton, Lollard Themes, 256-258.

21.Foxe, Acts and Monuments, vol. III, 718-21, quoted in Hill, English Bible, 11.

22.Daniell, Tyndale’s New Testament, viii.

23.Dickens, English Reformation, 21.

24.Daniell, Tyndale’s New Testament, xv.

25.Ibid., xvi.

26. William Tyndale, Doctrinal Treatises, vol. I (London: Cambridge University Press, 1848), 303 ff.; quoted in Hughes, English Reformers, 43.

27. Robert Demaus, William Tindale: a Biography (The Religious Tract Society, 1904), 54.

28.Dickens, English Reformation, 90.

29.Malcolm Lambert, Medieval Heresy: Popular Movements from the Gregorian Reform to the Reformation (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1977), 372.

30.Tyndale, Doctrinal Treatises, vol. I, 399 ff., quoted in Hughes, English Reformers, 60.

31.Ibid., 317; quoted in Hughes, English Reformers, 58.

32. Hughes, English Reformers, 32.

33. Foxe, Acts and Monuments, vol. III, 514; quoted in Demaus, William Tindale, 56.

34.Demaus, William Tindale: a Biography, 82.

35.Pollard, Records of the English Bible, 89-90.

36.Daniell, Tyndale’s New Testament, xvi.

37.Pollard, Records of the English Bible, 88.

38.Ibid., 88.