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Coverdale Bible 1535



20:1And the LORDE spake vnto Iosua, and sayde:
20:2Speake to the children of Israel: Geue amonge you fre cities, wherof I spake vnto you by Moses,
20:3that a deedsleyer which sleyeth a soule vnawarres and vnwittingly, maye flye thither, yt they maye be fre amoge you from the avenger of bloude.
20:4And he that flyeth to one of those cities, shal stonde without before the porte of the cite, and shewe his cause before the Elders of the cite, then shall they take him to them in to the cite, and geue him place to dwell with them.
20:5And yf the auenger of bloude folowe vpon him, they shall not delyuer the deedslayer in to his handes, for so moch as he hath slayne his neghboure vnawarres, and was not his enemye afore:
20:6but he shall dwell in ye cite, tyll he stonde before the congregacion in iudgment, vntyll the hye prest dye, which shall be at that tyme. Then shall the deedsleyer returne, and go vnto his awne cite, and vnto his house to the cite, from whence he was fled.
20:7Then appoynted they Kedes in Galile vpon mount Nepthali, and Sechem vpon mount Ephraim, and Kiriatharba, that is Hebron vpon mout Iuda.
20:8And beyode Iordane on the east syde of Iericho, they gaue Beser in the wildernes vpon the playne out of the trybe of Ruben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the trybe of Gad, and Golan in Basan out of the trybe of Manasse.
20:9These were the cities appoynted for all ye children of Israel, and for the straungers which dwelt amonge them, that whosoeuer had slayne a soule vnawarres, might flye thither, that he shulde not be put to death by the auenger of bloude, tyll he had stonde before the congregacion.
Coverdale Bible 1535

Coverdale Bible 1535

The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale and published in 1535, was the first complete English translation of the Bible to contain both the Old and New Testament and translated from the original Hebrew and Greek. The later editions (folio and quarto) published in 1539 were the first complete Bibles printed in England. The 1539 folio edition carried the royal license and was, therefore, the first officially approved Bible translation in English.

Tyndale never had the satisfaction of completing his English Bible; but during his imprisonment, he may have learned that a complete translation, based largely upon his own, had actually been produced. The credit for this achievement, the first complete printed English Bible, is due to Miles Coverdale (1488-1569), afterward bishop of Exeter (1551-1553).

The details of its production are obscure. Coverdale met Tyndale in Hamburg, Germany in 1529, and is said to have assisted him in the translation of the Pentateuch. His own work was done under the patronage of Oliver Cromwell, who was anxious for the publication of an English Bible; and it was no doubt forwarded by the action of Convocation, which, under Archbishop Cranmer's leading, had petitioned in 1534 for the undertaking of such a work.

Coverdale's Bible was probably printed by Froschover in Zurich, Switzerland and was published at the end of 1535, with a dedication to Henry VIII. By this time, the conditions were more favorable to a Protestant Bible than they had been in 1525. Henry had finally broken with the Pope and had committed himself to the principle of an English Bible. Coverdale's work was accordingly tolerated by authority, and when the second edition of it appeared in 1537 (printed by an English printer, Nycolson of Southwark), it bore on its title-page the words, "Set forth with the King's most gracious license." In licensing Coverdale's translation, King Henry probably did not know how far he was sanctioning the work of Tyndale, which he had previously condemned.

In the New Testament, in particular, Tyndale's version is the basis of Coverdale's, and to a somewhat less extent this is also the case in the Pentateuch and Jonah; but Coverdale revised the work of his predecessor with the help of the Zurich German Bible of Zwingli and others (1524-1529), a Latin version by Pagninus, the Vulgate, and Luther. In his preface, he explicitly disclaims originality as a translator, and there is no sign that he made any noticeable use of the Greek and Hebrew; but he used the available Latin, German, and English versions with judgment. In the parts of the Old Testament which Tyndale had not published he appears to have translated mainly from the Zurich Bible. [Coverdale's Bible of 1535 was reprinted by Bagster, 1838.]

In one respect Coverdale's Bible was groundbreaking, namely, in the arrangement of the books of the. It is to Tyndale's example, no doubt, that the action of Coverdale is due. His Bible is divided into six parts -- (1) Pentateuch; (2) Joshua -- Esther; (3) Job -- "Solomon's Balettes" (i.e. Canticles); (4) Prophets; (5) "Apocrypha, the books and treatises which among the fathers of old are not reckoned to be of like authority with the other books of the Bible, neither are they found in the canon of the Hebrew"; (6) the New Testament. This represents the view generally taken by the Reformers, both in Germany and in England, and so far as concerns the English Bible, Coverdale's example was decisive.