William Tyndale and Medieval Exegesis

William Tyndale (c.1494–1536), the English Reformer and proto-Puritan, clearly showed a burden for providing the Scriptures in the common language of the people. Likewise, regarding biblical exegesis, he imparted correctives for the abuses of medieval interpretation. We must appreciate the connection between the provision of the Word of God in English and the more direct approach to interpretation advocated by Tyndale. The clarity of God’s message to the church was directly proportional to the intelligibility of translation and interpretation. The translator should strive for simplicity without becoming simplistic.
In The Obedience of a Christian Man (1528), Tyndale primarily emphasizes the interpretation of Scripture as “the opening up of the words and statements of Scripture in order to bring out its single, full and natural sense.” He thus wrote against the medieval division of biblical texts into “foure senses, the literall, tropological, allegoricall, and anagogical,” which must “be rejected and destroyed.” He clearly manifested the Reformation dismissal of this exegesis as evidenced by his contemporaries Luther and Calvin. 

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Posted by Jeff Brown

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