Authority and the Interpretation of Texts
Kantik Ghosh argues that one of the main reasons for Lollardy's sensational resonance for its times, and for its immediate posterity, was its exposure of fundamental problems in late medieval academic engagement with the Bible, its authority and its polemical uses. Examining Latin and English sources, Ghosh shows how the same debates over biblical hermeneutics and associated methodologies were from the 1380s onwards conducted both within and outside the traditional university framework, and how, by eliding boundaries between Latinate biblical speculation and vernacular religiosity, Lollardy changed the cultural and political positioning of both. Covering a wide range of texts — scholastic and extramural, in Latin and in English, written over half a century from Wyclif to Thomas Netter — Ghosh concludes that by the first decades of the fifteenth century Lollardy had partly won the day. Whatever its fate as a religious movement, it had successfully changed the intellectual landscape of England.
KANTIK GHOSH is Darby Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Lincoln College, Oxford. He has contributed articles to Poetica, New Medieval Literatures, and the Scottish Literary Journal. This is his first book.