Coverdale, a moderate, tolerant, earnest man, claimed no originality, and expressly looked forward to the Bible being more faithfully presented both " by the ministration of other that begun it afore" (Tyndale) and by the future scholars who should follow him; but his Bible has two important claims on our interest. Though not expressly authorised, it was undertaken at the wish of Cromwell, and a dedication to Henry VIII, printed apparently by Nycholson of Southwark, was inserted among the prefatory matter of the German-printed sheets, which were no doubt imported unbound. It is thus the first English Bible which circulated in England without let or hindrance from the higher powers. It is also the first complete English printed Bible, since Tyndale had not been able to finish the whole of the Old Testament. A page of it is shown in Plate XX (above). In the Old Testament Coverdale depended mainly on the Swiss-German version published by Zwingli and Leo Juda in 1524-9, though in the Pentateuch he also made considerable use of Tyndale's translation. The New Testament is a careful revision of Tyndale by comparison with the German. It is to Coverdale therefore that our English versions of the poetical and prophetical books are primarily due, and in handling the work of others he showed great skill. Many of Coverdale's phrases have passed into the Authorised Version. In one respect he departed markedly from his predecessor - namely, in bringing back to the English Bible the ecclesiastical terms which Tyndale had banished.
Description & picture from 'Our Bible & the Ancient Manuscripts' by
Sir Frederick Kenyon (1895 - 4th Ed. 1939) Page 217
& Plate XX. (Page-size: 27 x 16.5cm. )
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