Coverdale Bible

Coverdale Bible
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The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale and published in 1535, was the first complete Modern English translation of the Bible (not just the Old Testament or New Testament), and the first complete printed translation into English (cf. Wycliffe's Bible in manuscript). The later editions (folio and quarto) published in 1539 were the first complete Bibles printed in England. The 1539 folio edition carried the royal licence and was therefore the first officially approved Bible translation in English.



The place of publication of the 1535 edition was long disputed. The printer was assumed to be either Froschover in Zurich or Cervicornus and Soter (in Cologne or Marburg). Since the discovery of Guido Latré in 1997, the printer has been identified as Merten de Keyser in Antwerp. The publication was partly financed by Jacobus van Meteren in Antwerp, whose sister-in-law, Adriana de Weyden, married John Rogers. The other backer of the Coverdale Bible was Jacobus van Meteren’s nephew, Leonard Ortels (†1539), father of Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598), the famous humanist geographer and cartographer.

Although Coverdale was also involved in the preparation of the Great Bible of 1539, the Coverdale Bible continued to be reprinted. The last of over 20 editions of the whole Bible or its New Testament appeared in 1553.


Coverdale based his New Testament on Tyndale’s translation. For the Old Testament, Coverdale used Tyndale’s published Pentateuch and possibly his published Jonah. He apparently did not make use of any of Tyndale’s other, unpublished, Old Testament material (cf. Matthew Bible). Instead, Coverdale himself translated the remaining books of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha. Not being a Hebrew or Greek scholar, he worked primarily from German Bibles—Luther’s Bible and the Swiss-German version (Zürich Bible) of Zwingli[1] and Juda—and Latin sources including the Vulgate.

See also


  1. ^ Journal of theological studies, vol 1, Oct 1899, 6.


External links

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