The study of William Tyndale’s life is an interesting one; he translated the Bible into multiple languages, ultimately started the reformation of the Catholic Church, and found a use for the printing press. It is hard for one to decide if what he did is ethical (there seems to be a lot of gray space). Nonetheless he did however have a substantial impact on the social, religious, and in some areas political lives of people continuing until the present day. He also changed how the Church would forever go about its religious business, and he also helped to print the very first book ever printed rather than written: the Bible.
Tyndale translated many language differentiations of the Bible; the last one to be finished was the English edition. According to David Daniell author of William Tyndale A Biography, Tyndale was an extremely educated man and attended Oxford University. While there he studied many things, one of which was language; thus allowing him to be able to translate the Bible into so many languages. Tyndale’s only problem was that he didn’t feel as though he was being an obedient christen. This is where the ethics of what he is doing comes in. When a man is torn between what he knows to be right and his religion, pain is only going to come from pulling either direction. Strangely enough, while Tyndale was attending Oxford University 30 years before he translated the Bible, lots of “semi-legal” Church documents were translated into multiple languages (Daniell 19). This is when Tyndale first had the thought of translating the Bible into another language, he only had the thought for a moment and let it go but it would come back to him in the future. The last Bible that Tyndale finished translating was the English Bible, this would be the most influential of all his Bibles, “thanks to Tyndale we don’t have a self consciously written Bible” (Daniell 44).
Because of Tyndale’s decision, conventional people could read the Bible, the only problem with this is that the Catholic Church bought as many as they could and destroyed them. The Contemporary review, December 2000 written by Joan Bridgman claims Tyndale to be “the mainly unrecognized translator of the most influential book in the world” (4). He gave everyday people the ability to read the Bible and interpret the meanings of things that might have otherwise been hidden from them by the leaders of the Catholic Church and other religious organizations. The problem that Tyndale faced in his translating was that it was seen as a challenge to the authority of the Catholic Church. The Church then went about commissioning people to buy all of the copies of the Bible and then handing them over to Church officials to burn. Almost every copy was destroyed, but a small amount of translations survived, those are important to the latter of Tyndale’s affect on religion (2-3).
Tyndale fought with religious leaders extensively to make sure that he could bring the Bible to conventional...