On browsing through an old publicity leaflet on the Society, I decided – admittedly a trifle tardily – to check if I have carried out all the tasks attributed therein to an editor of your Journal. Mercifully, by an immense stroke of luck, it appeared that I have but for one glaring omission – crosswords. Since these are not my forte either as solver or composer, I thought that, in a conscientious attempt to fulfil my mandate, instead of a long editorial with the consequent loss of many trees, I could simply present you all with the following cryptic puzzle to decipher. Antwerp, Bishop, Erasmus, Garamond, Japan, Latré, Louvain, Plantin–Moretus, translation, Tyndale and umbrellas – what do these words have in common? This should serve to while away the hours you will all be spending in trains, planes and cars in order to attend the next Tyndale conference in Belgium! But even as I write I am relenting and so will decode it for you.
The lead article in this issue on ‘Tyndale as Translator’ is a transcript of the Seventh Annual Hertford Tyndale Lecture given by Professor Morna Hooker at Oxford in 2000. A distinguished New Testament scholar who chaired the New Testament panel of the Revised English Bible she was, until her recent retirement, Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. The second holder of this chair was Erasmus and he figures large in the history of Louvain from where Guido Latré, the organizer of the 4th International Tyndale Conference Antwerp, Belgium hails. The speakers at this conference will discuss the expanding Reformations and Bible translation in the context of the Low Countries and Europe.
This is more than a Conference – it is has something for everyone, be they academics, writers, publishers, artists, musicologists, computer freaks, clerics, architectural historians or ploughboys! This Journal brings you the details on the Conference itself, the concert of ‘Music from the Golden Age’ by the English Chamber Choir, and the exhibition entitled ‘Tyndale’s Testament’ at the Plantin-Moretus printing museum. The exhibition’s opening ceremony will be incorporated in a solemn service presided over by the Catholic Bishop of Antwerp, the Anglican Bishop of Europe and the Anglican chaplain of Antwerp in the city’s splendid Cathedral and there will be a reception by the City Fathers afterwards in the renaissance Town Hall. The last day of the conference will be an excursion to Louvain and the site of Tyndale’s martyrdom. We are truly privileged to be treated so graciously by the Belgian authorities.
This spirit of ecumenism by our 21st century bishops is highly infectious. Chas Raws, the Tyndale Society’s newly appointed ecumenical adviser, writes on his ideas for the way forward in ‘Tyndale and Today’s Ecumenism’.
It is very apt that our new look Journal is now printed in Garamond typeface. Claude Garamond was born in Paris in 1490 and began his career there as an apprentice printer in 1510, in that exciting (and dangerous) era when printing was in its infancy. With true entrepreneurial instinct akin to our era’s dotcom speculators he became the first printer to specialize in type design, punch cutting and type founding as a service to fellow publishers. His roman and italic fonts were innovatory in that they were designed specifically as metal types rather than as imitations of handwriting and won general acceptance. His clear and elegant roman forms were a major factor in establishing this type of lettering as standard in place of black letter or gothic. Garamond’s first roman font was used in the 1530 edition of Erasmus’s Paraphrases. Because of the soundness of his designs, his typefaces have had historical staying power. Reading a Garamond text is almost effortless, a fact that has been well known to book designers for over 450 years. When Garamond died in 1561, Christopher Plantin bought part of his stock at auction and some of his punches are, to this day, in the Plantin-Moretus Museum.
I do not know whether Platina’s original work was printed in Garamond typescript but certainly the article due to appear in the next issue by Anne Richardson entitled ‘Tyndale and the Ordeal of Bartolomeo Platina’ will be. Her interesting paper sheds light on possible Tyndale influence on the development of the Renaissance Church of Rome.
Kai Kawabata, the foreign correspondent of the Japan Times, has contributed an article on ‘Tyndale and the English Bible’ describing the scholarship and achievements of Professor Kenzo Tagawa, a Tyndale enthusiast and the translator of the biography by David Daniell. This draws to our attention just how broad the Tyndale net is now cast. Asia, Europe, America, Australasia – the only continent remaining is Antarctica! It will be interesting to see if Professor Tagawa will take on the task of translating the new Tyndale biography ‘If God Spare My Life: William Tyndale, the English Bible and Sir Thomas More’ by Brian Moynahan published this year. Professor Don Millus of the University of South Carolina is, at this very moment, reviewing this book for the December issue.
The English Chamber Choir’s musical selection for the Antwerp Conference will not include ‘Tyndale – A Lyric Drama’. However, you will be able to read all about this interesting work in the article reprinted from the Musical Times in the December 2002 issue. Incidentally whilst talking of music, 16th century musical settings of the psalms will be discussed and performed in one of the lectures at the next Geneva Conference in October 2003.
The editor has derived much pleasure from all your various communications. One correspondent even burst into spontaneous verse! It was encouraging to have such enthusiastic feedback and interesting to note how closely you all read the Journal and how David Ireson’s article ‘Getting into Deep Water…’ in the last issue particularly struck a cord with many of you. Our ploughboys are furrowing well and sowing the message – David Green in the West Country and Germany: Rowland Whitehead has also widened his geographical base to Guernsey as can be seen in his contribution ‘Tyndale Wanderings’.
Under American News you can read of Dr John Hellstern’s plans and progress with his exhibition in Tulsa, Oklahoma and also the Bible Collecting Conferences he is involved in organizing in Atlanta and Oxford. Neil Inglis continues his successful search for topical articles in the Anglo-American Press Gleanings.
Neil has also been busy yet again on the book-review front and produced another very enjoyable one. This time he has turned his attention to Benson Bobrick’s recently published book ‘Wide as Waters. The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution it Inspired’. Peter Clifford, a comparatively new member, has a written a very thoughtful review of Carsten Thiede and Matthew D’Ancona’s book ‘The Quest for the True Cross’. Dr William Cooper has just seen his new book ‘Wycliffe’s New Testament 1388’ published and launched by the British Library in May. It was favourably remarked on in The Times newspaper.
As always my thanks go to all the many contributors who have made this issue academic, informative and outward looking. I am especially grateful to Robin Offord and Paul Barron for their painstaking cracking of the ‘Greek’ problem – punching a set of Garamond typefaces would have presented fewer problems than the computer manipulations required to reproduce the text. Above all my thanks must go to my tireless editorial assistant, Judith Munzinger, without whose meticulous eye many a comma would stray, many a sentence remain unintelligible and many a fact rest obscure.
Dear reader, as I write this on 12th July, the anniversary of the death of Desiderius Erasmus in Basle in 1536, the words are explained and the puzzle solved. May we meet soon, under our umbrellas if we have to, be it in Antwerp, Gloucester or Geneva.