Oxford is the site where many of the Bible Translators studied, and did actual work of translation. One significant Bible translator and martyr, William Tyndale, was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford (now part of Hertford College, Oxford). Tyndale was admitted to the Degree of Bachelor of Arts at Oxford University in 1512, the same year he became a subdeacon. He was made Master of Arts in July 1515, three months after he had been ordained into the priesthood. The MA degree allowed him to start studying theology, but the official course did not include the study of scripture. This horrified Tyndale, and he organized private groups for teaching and discussing the scriptures.
In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the publication of King James Bible, the Bodleian Library of Oxford is holding an amazing exhibition honoring the various individuals who contributed to its translation.
Highlights of the Oxford Bible Exhibition include:
- the sixteenth-century Bibles used in the making of the KJB ( such as the ‘Great’ Bible (1539), the Bishops’ Bible (1568), the Geneva Bible (1576) and Douai-Rheims (1582));
- an Old English manuscript with verse renderings of Genesis and Exodus;
- surviving leaves from Tyndale’s translation of the Pentateuch or five books of Moses (1530);
- a velvet bound Bishops’ Bible that belonged to Queen Elizabeth I (1568);
- a 1602 Bishops’ Bible annotated by some of the translators of the King James Bible;
- a copy of the 1611 King James Bible owned by James’ son Prince Henry;
- contemporary copies of the working notes of John Boys, one of the Cambridge translators;
- reference works from the libraries of John Rainolds and Henry Savile used for the translation, and more.
A Martyrs’ Memorial is also located in Oxford and commemorates the 16th-century “Oxford Martyrs”.
The actual site of the execution is close by in Broad Street, located just outside the location of the old city walls. The site is marked by a cross sunk in the road.
For more information about other amazing Bible Translator sites, visit our England & Wale’s 400th Bible Commemoration Tour Page.