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Miles Coverdale

1488-1569. Bible translator. A native of York and graduate of Cambridge, he was ordained in 1514 and became an Augustinian Friar. Under the influence of his prior, Robert Barnes, he embraced Lutheran teaching. Abandoning his order (1528), he preached against the Mass, images, and confession until forced to flee the country. As a translator, Coverdale served his apprenticeship helping William Tyndale* revise his translation of the Pentateuch. In 1535 Coverdale's version of the Bible appeared, the first printed English Bible, for which he utilized Tyndale's work, supplemented by Latin and German versions (including Luther's). He enjoyed the patronage of Thomas Cromwell who commissioned him to revise Matthew's Bible,* a task which was completed in 1539 with the publication of the Great Bible. From 1540 he was again in exile, engaged in literary work in Strasbourg, taking a doctorate in divinity at Tübingen, and serving as pastor and schoolmaster in Bergzaben. Once more in England under Edward VI, he excelled as a preacher, and became bishop of Exeter (1551). Though at first imprisoned under Mary, he was allowed to go into exile, during which he spent a year in Geneva, where he probably worked on the Geneva Bible.* He returned to England in 1559, but played little part in public life.

See J.F. Mozley, Coverdale and his Bibles (1953).