Thursday, January 20, 2011

Myles Coverdale

Myles Coverdale, translator of the Holy Bible into English, died on January 20, 1569. After attending Cambridge University, he became an Augustinian Canon in Cambridge, and came under the influence of Robert Barnes, a Reformer.

Although he was not proficient in Hebrew or Greek, he produced an English translation of the Holy Bible in 1535, using Tyndale's translation and other source documents. He fled England after the execution of Thomas Cromwell in 1540, having first defended his mentor Robert Barnes in his heresy trial. (Barnes was one of three Protestants executed for heresy/violation of Henry VIII's Six Articles along with three Catholics executed for treason/refusal to swear Henry VIII's Oaths on the same day). Nevertheless, it was Coverdale's Bible that Henry ordered be chained in every church in England for the peoples' use.

Coverdale returned to England during Edward VI's reign, appointed Bishop of Exeter and even serving as almoner (in charge of charity) for Queen Dowager Catherine Parr, but then went back to the Continent during Mary I's reign. He returned again to England during Elizabeth I's reign but his Puritan scruples about vestments kept him from being restored to his bishopric. He died in London.

His travels certainly track with the religious changes during the Tudor dynasty not just between reigns but even within the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. His translation of the Roman Canon is used in some Anglican Use Catholic rites and his translation of the Psalms is used in many musical settings in the Church of England.

1 comment:

  1. From an Augustinian to a Zwinglian?...I just find that so...intriguing. I'd love to read a forensic psychiatric study of any of the Genevan reformers.