John Wycliffe

Today’s essay will be on John Wycliffe.

In 1320, in a village near Yorkshire, England, John Wycliffe was born. He received great education, earning a bachelor’s degree in theology from Oxford University. In 1374, he went to live in Lutterworth, staying there for the rest of his life.

John Wycliffe was a great teacher and preacher. However, he was known for disputing religious practices in his day. In his preachings, he stated that the Bible was the authority of the church, not the pope. He also preached against indulgences.

Not really a surprise, the Pope disagreed with these teachings. However, Wycliffe was a very popular figure in England at the time, so the Pope decided to not to take a stance too strong on the matter. Pope Gregory issued five bulls against John, however he did not excommunicate him initially.

Wycliffe made the Wycliffe Bible due to him thinking that it was important that everyone had a Bible in their language. Prior to this, all teachings of the church were in Latin. The church felt that the Holy Word shouldn’t be accessible for everyday use, however Wycliffe believed that it was more important to let everyone have access to it.

Wycliffe was assisted in the translation project by John Purvey. After Wycliffe died, Purvey continued on with the project and finished it, and it’s ultimately thanks to him we have the Wycliffe Bible today.

Wycliffe didn’t die the death of martyr. Instead, he died of a stroke in 1384. His followers, called Lollards, continued his work and spread his teachings. Their view ended up becoming the norm during the Reformation.

31 years after his death, the Council of Constance declared Wycliffe as a heretic. His works were burned and his bones burned. The church tried using this and many other methods to try to get rid of Wycliffe’s works and teachings, but this ultimately failed, as his message was remembered and spread for hundreds of years.


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