Tyndale Bible Heading to Auction

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A Tyndale Bible is coming up for auction on July 14 at Sotheby’s London. The copy is a 1536 printing, the last printing of Tyndale’s Bible during his lifetime.

William Tyndale, inspired by Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible, translated the New Testament from Greek into English and printed the first complete copies in 1526 while on the run in Europe as a religious fugitive from England. He published two revised editions, one in 1534 and the other in 1536. That same year Tyndale was betrayed to the authorities, arrested, convicted as a religious heretic, and strangled to death in Belgium.

Copies of his Bible, meanwhile, were burnt on discovery in England where they were condemned. (In a terrible twist of irony, only a few years after Tyndale’s death, Henry VIII commissioned the first official Bibles to be published in England in its native tongue).

The Tyndale Bible heading to auction next week is also notable for its discovery by its current owner. In a once-in-a-lifetime “great find” moment, the present owner stumbled across the Tyndale Bible while browsing for books in a secondhand bookshop in Cambridge in the 1960s. The price? 25 shillings or about $2.

At auction next week, the Tyndale Bible is expected to fetch $38,000-53,000.

[Image from Sotheby’s]


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