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Journal > Volumes > 43 (2012) / 4 (Winter)
Faith in the Language: Biblical Authority and the Meaning of English in More-Tyndale Polemics
Jamie H. Ferguson
University of Houston

Sixteenth-century biblical translation was a site of extensive and closely reasoned argument about vernacular language and literature. These arguments emerged out of Reformation debates about biblical authority and the canon. Roman Catholics tended to interpret the Bible within a broader canon of received doctrine, while Reformers described scriptural language as intrinsically meaningful. More and Tyndale translate these opposite notions of biblical authority into a debate about English semantics: More argues that biblical English derives meaning from the usage current in the English church; Tyndale counters that biblical English should be dissociated from customary usage and assigned new meanings derived from etymology. These polemics offer a new context in which to consider the convergence of Refomation theology and linguistic and literary theory in sixteenth-century England.

Pages: 989 - 1 011