5
THE LOGIC OF SCRIPTURE

Medieval thinkers who achieved the doctorate in theology had to have completed a sustained commentary on the Sententiae of Peter Lombard. In the course of that commentary, if his philosophical and theological position were sufficiently indicative of some species of phronesis, the theologian might eventually come to be known by a cognomen tailor-made for him. Henry of Ghent was known as doctor solemnis, Thomas Bradwardine as doctor profundus, Bonaventure was referred to as the seraphic doctor, Scotus was called, not surprisingly, the subtle doctor, and Aquinas was known both as angelic doctor and doctor communis. Wyclif’s zeal to emphasize the centrality of scripture in his philosophy and theology led him to be known as doctor evangelicus—although “detestable heresiarch” also became common.1

This dichotomy, in which one man is known both for his enthusiasm for scripture in philosophical theology and for having been condemned as heretical in the eyes of the Catholic church, has led many to associate Wyclif’s scriptural theology with the biblical emphasis of the early Protestants. The radically Protestant John Bale even coined the epithet “morning star of the Reformation” for Wyclif in 1548. This association has guaranteed Wyclif’s place in a class with other figures anachronistically defined by events that took place decades, if not centuries, after their deaths. Wyclif’s approach to scripture is typically medieval in hermeneutical approach, of a piece

-135-

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John Wyclif
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Great Medieval Thinkers ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Series Foreword v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • 1 - Wyclif’s Life and Work 3
  • 2 - The Oxford Context of Wyclif’s Thought 32
  • 3 - Wyclif in Oxford Logic, Metaphysics 65
  • 4 - Denying Transubstantiation Physics, Eucharist, and Apostasy 102
  • 5 - The Logic of Scripture 135
  • 6 - Predestination and the Church 169
  • 7 - Dominium as Foundation of Wyclif’s Political and Ecclesiological Vision 199
  • Epilogue 222
  • Appendix - Wyclif’s Confessio 226
  • Notes 245
  • Bibliography 271
  • Index 287
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