Translated the Bible into English; Killed for that Capital Crime
|Mostly depicted as tidy and scholarly...|
William Tyndale lived at the heyday of the Protestant Reformation. Bibles were being translated all over Europe into all sorts of modern tongues -- Tyndale turned his powerful mind on the task of bringing the Word to English. To do so, he needed to go to the Continent to learn Hebrew, since there were still far too few Jews in Britain since Edward I expelled them. He had already mastered Greek, and thus could work from original (okay, really old) texts rather than translations.
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Unfortunately for him, he was in British continental territory when King Henry VIII decided to enforce the ban on vernacular Bibles. Fat Hank had found Tyndale's works sensible and convenient when they supported his break with Rome, but when it came to putting the word of God into language that every person could understand, well, that was just plain heresy.
Tyndale's final request before they lopped off his head was the eyes of the King might be opened. The Great Venereal Monarch granted that request two years later, when -- in his role as head of the Church of England -- he greenlighted an English Bible. Not surprisingly, it was Saint William Tyndale's own version that was adopted.