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OF THE

ENGLISH BIBLE

THE DOCUMENTS

RELATING TO THE TRANSLATION AND

PUBLICATION OF THE BIBLE

IN ENGLISH, 1525-1611

EDITED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION, BY

ALFRED W. POLLARD

HENRY FROWDE

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
LONDON, NEW YORK, TORONTO, AND MELBOURNE

.p.76

PREFACE

IN writing a Bibliographical Introduction to the Oxford University Press reprints of the English Bible of 1611 I found myself constantly hampered by the lack of such a collection of original documents as has here been brought together. Quite a large number of important documents had never been printed in full ; others were available only in books now out of print or for other reasons difficult to obtain. Many of the books, moreover, were extremely bulky, and when it was desired to consider afresh the evidence of several different documents in order to straighten out some small tangle, the difficulties of remembering where each was to be found and getting hold of the right books were somewhat harassing. I was thus moved, when my Introduction was nearing completion, to suggest to Mr. Frowde that a collection of original documents relating to the making, printing, and publishing of the English translations of the Bible, from Tyndale's New Testament of 1525 to the appearance of the version of 1611, would be as appropriate a commemoration of the Tercentenary as could well be conceived. Mr. Frowde cordially agreed, and the volume was accordingly put in hand. The natural desire of publisher and editor that it should be available for the use of those taking part in the Tercentenary Celebrations in March 1911 will be no defence if any serious fault should be found, but may perhaps be allowed some weight by

1

readers who would have liked fuller notes to some of the documents, or see room for minor improvements in other respects.

Although the documents here printed are mainly those which I used in writing my Introduction 1 they take a considerably wider range. The personal element which the bibliographer was bound to leave very imperfectly indicated here crops up at every turn, and in their own words in prefaces and letters, or in the narratives and comments of contemporaries, we get intimate glimpses into the characters of many of those who played their part in the century which it took to determine the great question as to what Bible the English people should be allowed to read. Another point which the documents emphasize is the political importance attached to that struggle. Just as the documents relating to the quarrel of Tyndale and Joye have little bearing on the main history of the English Bible, and yet are worth all the pages they fill because of their human interest, so the long reports of Hackett to Wolsey, or, again, the diplomatic correspondence about the Bible of 1539, which takes us so far away from text and translators, are yet thoroughly relevant as showing the immense importance attached by the statesmen of the day to stopping or forwarding the supply of the Scriptures in English, according as their policy dictated.

I have already indicated in my Introduction my belief that after the accession of Queen Elizabeth the question of what Bible the English people should be allowed to

In reprinting this, marginal references by their numbers have been given to the documents used.

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