John Wyclif (Wycliffe)

Wyclif, John

John Wyclif (all: wĬk´lĬf), c.1328–1384, English religious reformer. A Yorkshireman by birth, Wyclif studied and taught theology and philosophy at Oxford. He was later made rector at Fillingham (1361), at Ludgershall (1368), and at Lutterworth (1374). His belief in the doctrine that Christ is humanity's only overlord and that power should depend on a state of grace made him a champion of the people against the abuses of the church. He early associated himself with the anticlerical party in the nation and in 1374 was sent to Bruges to represent the English crown in negotiations over payment of tribute to the Holy See. From 1377 he made many vigorous attacks in both Latin and English on orthodox church doctrines, especially that of transubstantiation. Through his own preaching in the vernacular at Oxford and London and the itinerant teaching of his "poor priests," he spread the doctrine that the Scriptures are the supreme authority and that the good offices of the church are not requisite to grace. He was condemned as a heretic in 1380 and again in 1382, and his followers were persecuted, but he was not disturbed in his retirement at Lutterworth, where he died in 1384. The Wyclif Bible is a great landmark in the history of the Bible and of the English language. This first and literal translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible into English was mainly the work of his followers, notably Nicholas Hereford; the smoother revision of c.1395 was directed by Wyclif's follower John Purvey. In England the Lollards (see Lollardry) formed the link between Wyclif and the Protestant Reformation; on the Continent he was a chief forerunner of the Reformation, through his influence on Jan Huss, the Bohemian reformer, and through Huss on Martin Luther and the Moravians.

See editions of most of his works by the Wyclif Society; biography by H. B. Workman (1926); G. M. Trevelyan, England in the Age of Wycliffe (new ed. 1972); K. B. McFarlane, John Wycliffe and the Beginnings of English Nonconformity (1953); J. Stacey, John Wyclif and Reform (1964); J. C. Carrick, Wycliffe and the Lollards (1977); L. B. Hall, The Perilous Vision of John Wyclif (1983).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

John Wyclif
Stephen E. Lahey.
Oxford University Press, 2009
John Wyclif: Scriptural Logic, Real Presence, and the Parameters of Orthodoxy
Ian Christopher Levy.
Marquette University Press, 2003
Tractatus de Universalibus
John Wycliffe; Ivan J. Mueller.
Clarendon Press, vol.1, 1985
Tractatus de Universalibus
John Wyclif; Anthony Kenny.
Clarendon Press, vol.2, 1985
The Wycliffite Heresy: Authority and the Interpretation of Texts
Kantik Ghosh.
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe: Documents in Translation
Edward Peters.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1980
Librarian’s tip: Part X "The Age of Wyclif and Hus"
The Political Theory of John Wyclif
L. J. Daly.
Loyola University Press, 1962
Reason and Religion: Essays in Philosophical Theology
Anthony Kenny.
Blackwell, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Realism and Determinism in the Early Wyclif"
John Wyclif: Christian Patience in a Time of War
Levy, Ian Christopher.
Theological Studies, Vol. 66, No. 2, June 2005
Wyclif and the Oxford Schools: The Relation of the "Summa de Ente" to Scholastic Debates at Oxford in the Later Fourteenth Century
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Unknown, 1961
Lollards and Their Influence in Late Medieval England
Fiona Somerset; Jill C. Havens; Derrick G. Pitard.
Boydell Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: "Wycliffite Representations of the Third Estate" begins on p. 197, and "Wyclif, Lollards, and Historians, 1384-1984" begins on p. 237
England in the Later Middle Ages: A Political History
M. H. Keen.
Routledge, 2003 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Mysticism, Wyclif and Lollardy"
Logic and Lollardy
Ghosh, Kantik.
Medium Aevum, Vol. 76, No. 2, Fall-Winter 2007
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