The following paragraph is taken from the article "English Versions" by Sir Frederic G. Kenyon in the Dictionary of the Bible edited by James Hastings, and published by Charles Scribner's Sons of New York in 1909.

Matthew's Bible (1537)

In the same year as the second edition of Coverdale's Bible another English Bible appeared, which likewise bore upon its title-page the statement that it was "set forth with the king's most gracious license." It was completed not later than August 4, 1537, on which day Cranmer sent a copy of it to Cromwell, commending the translation, and begging Cromwell to obtain for it the king's license; in which, as the title-page prominently shows, he was successful. The origin of this version is slightly obscure, and certainly was not realized by Henry when he sanctioned it. The Pentateuch and New Testament are taken direct from Tyndale with little variation (the latter from the final "GH" revision of 1535). The books of the Old Testament from Ezra to Malachi (including Jonah) are taken from Coverdale, as also is the Apocrypha. But the historical books of the Old Testament (Joshua through 2 Chronicles) are a new translation, as to the origin of which no statement is made. It is, however, fairly certain, from a combination of evidence, that it was Tyndale's (see Westcott, 3rd ed., pp. 169-179). The style agrees with that of Tyndale's other work; the passages which Tyndale published as "Epistles" from the Old Testament in his New Testament of 1534 agree in the main with the present version in these books, but not in those taken from Coverdale; and it is expressly stated in Hall's Chronicle (completed and published by Grafton, one of the publishers of Matthew's Bible) that Tyndale, in addition to the New Testament, translated also "the v bookes of Moses, Josua, Judicum, Ruth, the bookes of the Kynges and the bookes of Paralipomenon [Chronicles], Nehemias or the fyrst of Esdras, the prophet Jonas, and no more of ye holy scripture." If we suppose the version of Ezra-Nehemiah to have been incomplete, or for some reason unavailable, this statement harmonizes perfectly with the data of the problem. Tyndale may have executed the translation during his imprisonment, at which time we know that he applied for the use of his Hebrew books. The book was printed abroad, at the expense of R. Grafton and E. Whitchurch, two citizens of London, who issued it in London. On the title-page is the statement that the translator was Thomas Matthew, and the same name stands at the foot of the dedication to Henry VIII. Nothing is known of any such person, but tradition identifies him with John Rogers (who in the register of his arrest in 1555 is described as "John Rogers alias Matthew"), a friend and companion of Tyndale. It is therefore generally believed that this Bible is due to the editorial work of John Rogers, who had come into possession of Tyndale's unpublished translation of the historical books of the Old Testament, and published them with the rest of his friend's work, completing the Bible with the help of Coverdale. It may be added that the initials I.R. (Ioannes Rogers), W.T. (Tyndale), R.G. and E.W. (Grafton and Whitchurch), and H.R. (unidentified, Henricus Rex?) are printed in large letters on various blank spaces throughout the Old Testament. The arrangement of the book is in four sections: (1) Genesis -- Canticles, (2) Prophets, (3) Apocrypha (including for the first time the Prayer of Manasses, translated from the French of Olivetan), (4) New Testament. There are copious annotations, of a decidedly Protestant tendency, and Tyndale's outspoken Prologue to the Romans is included in it. The whole work, therefore, was eminently calculated to extend the impulse given by Tyndale, and to perpetuate his work.

Frederic G. Kenyon

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