When we approach the Bible, we are confronted with an attempt to span time, place, and languages simultaneously. Not only was the original in Hebrew, ancient Greek, and Aramaic, but the core of what we know in English is based on the extraordinary work of William Tyndale, the first to translate directly from the Hebrew and Greek into English; for this effort he was accused of willfully perverting the meaning of the Scriptures, his New Testaments were ordered burned, and he was publicly executed and burned at the stake in 1536 (this, from the Preface to the Revised Standard Version; it should also be noted that John Wycliffe, 1324?-84, had made the first English translation, but not from the original languages). In single handedly translating the Bible, Tyndale did more to shape English as we know it than any other person – including Shakespeare; his work became the foundation of subsequent English translations, and the 1611 Authorized – or King James – Version varies little from Tyndale’s.

Yet beneath it all rests the hosts of many voices and their experiences and actions.

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