Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1932-2798
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2700
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Can the prestige of a language be an argument for the translation of a sacred text? Conversely, if a language is perceived as substandard, is that an argument against translation? In the history of the English Bible, scholars and theologians have argued both for and against a vernacular scripture, but the debate has not always been based on religious beliefs. Following the Norman Invasion of 1066, the translation debate shifted from the religious to the linguistic. In other words, the argument against translation became based on the perception that English was “too rude” to properly convey the complex nature of Holy Scripture. Reformers like William Tyndale protested this view, arguing that the linguistic argument against a Bible in the vernacular really masked an almost maniacal desire on the part of the ecclesiastical establishment to control the message. This paper takes a closer look at historical arguments for and against an English Bible from the Anglo-Saxon period through the Tyndale Bible.


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