Pre - Wycliffe Bible • The English Language traces back to AD 600. • Around 100 years later both the Psalms and a portion of Gospels translated. • The Venerable Bede (AD 735) finished John’s Gospel. • 165 years later, King Alfred the Great translated a portion of the Pentateuch. • Three issues with these translations: • Translated off the Latin Vulgate • Very poor translations • They weren’t accessible for lay people only priests and church clergy.
Life During 14th Century • In England you were most likely a peasant working on the farm. • Catholicism was the dominant religion not just in England but throughout Western Europe. • In 1348 England was hit by the Bubonic Plague killing one in four people. • Fear of purgatory was what drove the people. • No comfort from the Church; what little people had was taken by the church to pay for penance. • The church were concerned mainly with the people’s money and confession. • Life in general was extremely difficult.
Life During 14th Century • At the same time, the papacy was in turmoil. • Popes were exiled to France who happened to be England’s hostile. • Politics in England was also in shatters. • The two major parties where pro-clergy and anti- clergy. • The people had no spiritual leadership from the clergy as they were genuinely untrained in Latin and only memorised the prayers. • It was in this climate comes ‘the Morning Star of the Reformation’.
John Wycliffe (1328? – 1384) • Born in a small village called Wycliffe-on-Tees situated in Yorkshire. • He attended Balliol College in Oxford completing a Bachelor of Arts at Merton College. • He received his Doctor in Theology in 1372. • During his time at college he had become Master of Balliol College and Warden of Canterbury Hall. • He was rooted soundly in Latin.
John Wycliffe (1328? – 1384) • It was during his education at College that John Wycliffe began to question the Theology of the Catholic Church, questioning the doctrine on Transubstantiation and Church authority. • Already by 1370’s He had started to become shunned by fellow colleagues but there were a few who supported his views. • In 1382 the Archbishop of Canterbury summoned a council at Blackfriars in London to condemn Wycliffe’s teachings as heretical. • Wycliffe withdrew from Oxford and went back to Lutterworth. • Wycliffe passed away two years later of natural causes.
The Wycliffe Bible • Wycliffe and the Lollards appealed to the authority of Scripture. • Wycliffe’s main drive was for the Bible to be available for all the people. • “That the New Testament is of full Authority, and open to understanding of simple men, as to the points that have been most needful to salvation…That men ought to desire only the truth and freedom of the holy Gospel, and to accept man’s Law and ordinances only in as much as they have been grounded in holy Scriptures.” Wycliffe
The Wycliffe Bible • It is believed that Wycliffe didn’t translate the whole Bible, but he would have had a part in it. • It was translated from the Latin Vulgate. • The first edition was completed in 1382. • The second edition by John Purvey was published in 1395; it was a significant improvement from the first. • It was hand written which took one whole year to write. • Thousands of bibles where made. • Such was the influence of Wycliffe that in 1415 the Pope decreed that his bones be dug up and burnt then tossed into the River Swift.