Letter: Tyndale's translation of the Bible still speaks to us

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Sir: Your article on William Tyndale's 1526 translation of the Bible (' pounds 1m book that put a price on its author's life', 28 September) includes an important reminder about theological and linguistic history. As your photograph of the opening page of the Book of John makes clear, Tyndale - almost 500 years ago - referred to divinity with a gender-neutral pronoun:

All thyngs were made by it/ and with out it/ was made noo thinge/ that made was. In it was lyfe.

Tyndale's translation of God as 'it' rather than 'Him' may have been one of the reasons why 16th- century authorities imprisoned, strangled and burned him. To us, however, Tyndale's choice of pronouns reveals another way in which his work is important in the closing years of the 20th century. His translation reminds us that a single word can make a great deal of difference.

Yours faithfully,


English and American Studies

University of East Anglia