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REV Dr Donald M MacDonald is right to point to the contributions of the Reformers in promoting education and free speech (Letters, 10 June). How­ever, translations of Scripture into the vernacular did exist prior to the events of the 16th century. 

The Bible was translated into Latin, the common language of Europe, by St Jerome, but any further translation was simply impractical. Monks would take a year to hand-copy the entire Bible, so copies were scarce. Some countries had not settled on an alphabet, let alone a common language.

However, examples of the Roman Catholic Church promoting the vernacular are found in Saints Cyril and Methodius, Caedomon, Bede, Bishops Eadhelm, Guthlac, and Egbert, King Alfred, and Archbishop Aelfrec. Indeed the King James Bible was influenced by the Douay-Rheims New Testament. 

Sadly, for the Reformers, even translations by Tyndale, Wycliffe, and Severtus were condemned by St Thomas More, King Henry VIII, and Calvin as full of error and heresy.

Ian Maxfield

Lodge Park

Biggar, South Lanarkshire