The most dangerous man in England

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Melvin Bragg has produced a BBC documentary on the most dangerous man in Tudor England — William Tyndale.

William Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. He loaded our language with more phrases than any other writer before or since, says Melvyn Bragg.

William Tyndale was effectively martyred after fighting against cruel and eventually overwhelming forces, which tried for more than a dozen years to prevent him from putting the Word of God into his native language. He succeeded but he was murdered before he could complete his self-set task of translating the whole of the Old Testament as he had translated the whole of the New Testament.

More than any other man he laid the foundation of our modern language which became by degrees a world language. “He was very frugal and spare of body”, according to a messenger of Thomas Cromwell, but with an unbreakable will. Tyndale, one of the greatest scholars of his age, had a gift for mastering languages, ancient and modern, and a genius for translation. His legacy matches that other pillar of our language – Shakespeare, whose genius was in imagination.

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