Lost (and Found) in Translation

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The Holy Crusades (1095-1492) had unintended consequences, including introducing many spices to Europe and bringing many ancient Greek manuscripts and modern Arabic writings to the attention of European scholars.  After the fall of Rome, many Greek writings were "lost" in Europe only to be "found" in the libraries of North Africa and the Middle East. The burgeoning access to multiple Greek texts allowed Martin Luther to translate the New Testament  from Greek into German (1522) as well as the Old Testament from Hebrew (1534). Translating the Bible threatened the power of the Catholic Church and their Latin Vulgate of Jerome translation (340-420).

Englishman William Tyndale, inspired by Martin Luther, set out to translate the Bible into English using the original Greek text even as he was threatened by the Bishop of London. Tyndale's New Testament translation was completed in 1525. Tyndale’s translations of "church," "priest," "do penance," and "charity" were more accurately "congregation," "elder," "repent," and "love," challenging key doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.

On October 6, 1536, William Tyndale was burned at the stake for the crime of translating the Bible into English. His last words are said to have been, "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes."

The King James Version (KJV) was published in 1611 under the auspices of King James I of England. About 90% of the King James Version is from Tyndale's works, with as much as one third of the text being word for word from Tyndale. Many of the popular phrases and Bible verses that people quote today are in the language of Tyndale. An example of this is Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers."