One of three known copies of a translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale will be displayed at St Paul’s in London. St Paul’s was instrumental in the arrest and execution of Tyndale. Anglican News Service writes:
St Paul’s Cathedral in London is set to display one of only three-known surviving copies of “the most dangerous book in Tudor England” as part of an event to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In 1536, William Tyndale was executed for his work in translating the New Testament into English, and King Henry VIII’s officials and Church leaders set about searching for destroying copies of what was the first English-language Bible. But within a few years it was available within every church in the country.
The publication of Tyndale’s Bible in 1526 “opened up for the first time the whole of the New Testament in English and helped to bring continental Reformation ideals to the people of England,” St Paul’s Cathedral, which owns one of only three known surviving copies, said. “Tyndale wrote that the Church authorities banned translations of the Bible in order ‘to keep the world still in darkness, to the intent they might sit in the consciences of the people, through vain superstition and false doctrine . . . and to exalt their own honour . . . above God himself’”.
Tyndale travelled to Cologne in Germany to get the Bible printed and had to smuggle copies into England. Church officials were furious. The Bishop of London issued a prohibition notice and, as a public demonstration of its unlawfulness, held a Bible-burning ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral on 27 October 1526. The cathedral also played a part in Tyndale’s execution: it was a Canon of St Paul’s who planned Tyndale’s arrest in the German city of Antwerp.