It must have been at this time that an addition was made by Waynflete to the Eton college statutes, compelling the fellows to forswear the heresies of John Wycliffe and Pecock.
In ethics he anticipated much of the teaching of Tolstoy; in doctrine he often appealed to the authority of Wycliffe; and in some of his views it is possible to trace the influence of the Waldenses.
Among the important matters which claimed his attention at Constance may be mentioned also the condemnation of the errors of Wycliffe and the trial of John Huss.
A treatise entitled De ultima aetate ecclesiae, which appeared in 1356, has been attributed to Wycliffe, but is undoubtedly from the pen of an anonymous Joachimite Franciscan.
The action of the council of Constance in renewing the condemnation of the doctrines of Wycliffe pronounced at Rome in 1413, and in condemning and executing John Huss and Jerome of Prague, is dealt with elsewhere (see Wycliffe; Huss; Jerome Of Prague).
Translated into French, then into Italian (14th century) and into English (r6th century), it was known by Wycliffe and Luther, and was not without an influence on the Reform movement.
Among the earliest examples of pulpit oratory which have been preserved in English literature, the discourses of Wycliffe and his disciples may be passed by, to arrive at the English sermons of John Fisher (1469?-1535), which have a distinct literary value.
Already Wycliffe had declared that " whatever book is in the Old Testament besides these twentyfive (Hebrew) shall be set among the apocrypha, that is, without authority or belief."
Towards the close of the century comes John Wycliffe and his English travelling preachers, who passed the torch to Hus and the Bohemians, and in the next age Savonarola, who was to Florence what Jeremiah had been to Jerusalem.
Lechler's Wiclif and die Vorgeschichte der Reformation, translated as Wycliffe and his English Precursors, R.
Poole's Wycliffe and Movements for Reform, and G.
In 1398 he was chosen by the Bohemian "nation" of the university to an examinership for the bachelor's degree; in the same year he began to lecture also, and there is reason to believe that the philosophical writings of Wycliffe, with which he had been for some years acquainted, were his text-books.
As early as the 28th of May 1403, it is true, there had been held a university disputation about the new doctrines of Wycliffe, which had resulted in the condemnation of certain propositions presumed to be his; five years later (May 20, 1408) this decision had been refined into a declaration that these, forty-five in number, were not to be taught in any heretical, erroneous or offensive sense.
But it was only slowly that the growing sympathy of Huss with Wycliffe unfavourably affected his relations with his colleagues in the priesthood.
He had spoken disrespectfully of the church, it was said, had even hinted that Antichrist might be found to be in Rome, had fomented in his preaching the quarrel between Bohemians and Germans, and had, notwithstanding all that had passed, continued to speak of Wycliffe as both a pious man and an orthodox teacher.
This decree, as soon as it was published in Prague (March 9, 1410), led to much popular agitation, and provoked an appeal by Huss to the pope's better informed judgment; the archbishop, however, resolutely insisted on carrying out his instructions, and in the following July caused to be publicly burned, in the courtyard of his own palace, upwards of 200 volumes of the writings of Wycliffe, while he pronounced solemn sentence of excommunication against Huss and certain of his friends, who had in the meantime again protested and appealed to the new pope (John XXIII.).
On the 4th of May the temper of the council on the doctrinal questions in dispute was fully revealed in its unanimous condemnation of Wycliffe, especially of the so-called "forty-five articles" as erroneous, heretical, revolutionary.
The propositions which had been extracted from the De Ecclesia were again brought up, and the relations between Wycliffe and Huss were discussed, the object of the prosecution being to fasten upon the latter the charge of having entirely adopted the doctrinal system of the former, including especially a denial of the doctrine of transubstantiation.
It might not be easy to formulate precisely the doctrines for which he died, and certainly some of them, as, for example, that regarding the church, were such as many Protestants even would regard as unguarded and difficult to harmonize with the maintenance of external church order; but his is undoubtedly the honour of having been the chief intermediary in handing on from Wycliffe to Luther the torch which kindled the Reformation, and of having been one of the bravest of the martyrs who have died in the cause of honesty and freedom, of progress and of growth towards the light.
In the earlier editions of his works sufficient care was not taken to distinguish between his own writings and those of Wycliffe and others who were associated with him.
On the other hand, sanctity of life on the part of the minister is not necessary in order to the validity of the sacraments which he confers, although this was held to be the case by the Donatists in the 4th century, and following them by the Waldensians and Albigenses in the 12th, and by the followers of Hus and Wycliffe in the 14th.
Wycliffe began his public career in 1366 by proving that England was not bound to pay tribute to the pope.
His influence was indeed by no means so decisive and so pervasive as has commonly been supposed, and his attacks on the evils in the Church were no bolder or more comprehensive than those of Marsiglio and Wycliffe, or of several among his contemporaries who owed nothing to his example.
It had also furnished its due quota of heretics, although no one so conspicuous as Wycliffe or Huss.
Persecution gave new vitality to their doctrines, which passed on to Wycliffe and Huss, and through these leaders produced the Reformation in Germany and England.
Trevelyan, England in the Age of Wycliffe (1899); W.
In England the hierarchy was attacked by John Wycliffe (d.
(See Huss; Wycliffe; Lollards; Waldenses.) This was open opposition; but there was besides another opposing force which, though it raised no noise of controversy, yet was far more widely severed from the views of the Church than either Wycliffe or Huss: this was the Renaissance, which began its reign in Italy during the 14th century.
A century later again, Wycliffe complains of Indulgences of two thousand years for a single prayer (ed.
This Commentary, for a long time attributed to Wycliffe, is really nothing but a verbal rendering of the popular and widely-spread Norman Commentary on the Apocalypse (Paul Meyer and L.
This explains the fact that in collections of medieval homilies that have come down to us, no two renderings of the Biblical text used are ever alike, not even Wycliffe himself making use of the text of the commonly accepted versions that went under his name.
It is first with the appearance of Wycliffe (q.v.) and his followers on the arena of religious controversy that the Bible in English came to be looked upon with suspicion by the orthodox party within the Church.
For it is a well-known fact Wycliffite that Wycliffe proclaimed the Bible, not the Church or Catholic tradition, as a man's supreme spiritual authority, and that he sought in consequence by every means in his power to spread the knowledge of it among the people.
It is, therefore, in all likelihood to the zeal of Wycliffe and his followers that we owe the two noble 1 4 th-century translations of the Bible which tradition has always associated with his name, and which are the earliest complete renderings that we possess of the Holy Scriptures into English.4 The first of these, the so-called Early Version, was probably completed about 1382, at all events before 1384, the year of Wycliffe's death.
It is a matter of uncertainty what part, if any, Wycliffe himself took in the work.
The text of the Gospels was extracted from the Commentary upon them by Wycliffe, and to these were added the Epistles, the Acts and the Apocalypse, all now translated anew.
This translation might probably be the work of Wycliffe himself; at least the similarity of style between the Gospels and the other parts favours the supposition."
Made from the Latin Vulgate by John Wycliffe and His Followers (4.
It is therefore at present impossible to say what part of the Early Version of the New Testament was translated by Wycliffe.'
In view of the magnitude of the undertaking it is on the contrary highly probable that other translators besides Wycliffe and Nicholas de Herford took part in the work, and that already existing versions, with changes when necessary, were incorporated or made use of by the translators.
The exact date of the revision is also doubtful: the editors of the Wycliffe Bible, judging from the internal evidence of the Prologue, assume it to have been finished about 1388.
After the death of Wycliffe violence and anarchy set in, and the Lollards came The gradually to be looked upon as enemies of order and disturbers of society.
In a convocation held at Oxford under Archbishop Arundel in 1408 it was enacted " that no man hereafter by his own authority translate any text of the Scripture into English or any other tongue, by way of a book, booklet, or tract; and that no man read any such book, booklet, or tract, now lately composed in the time of John Wycliffe or since, or hereafter to be set forth in part or in whole, publicly or privately, upon pain of greater excommunication, until the said translation be approved by the ordinary of the place, or, if the case so require, by the council provincial.
In later years, between 1536 and 1550, numerous editions of Tyndale's New Testament were printed, twenty-one of which have been enumerated and fully described by Francis Fry.9 " The history of our English Bible begins with the work of Tyndale and not with that of Wycliffe," says Dr Westcott in his History of the English Bible, p. 316, and it is true that one of the most striking features of the work of Tyndale is its independence.
In July 1377 he crowned Richard II., and in 1378 John Wycliffe appeared before him at Lambeth, but he only took proceedings against the reformer under great pressure.
At this time Protestant opinions were being disseminated in England chiefly by the surreptitious circulation of the works of Wycliffe, and especially of his translations of the New Testament.
He deserves credit for his protection of Wycliffe, though he had no sympathy with his religious or political opinions.
For Wycliffe and his adherent John Purvey (probably the author of the Commentarius in Apocalypsin ante centum annos editus, edited in 1528 by Luther), as on the other hand for Hus, the conviction that the papacy is essentially Antichrist is absolute.
He appears to have anticipated Wycliffe in advocating the subordination of the clergy to the king.
In the centre the colossal statue of Luther rises, on a pedestal at the base of which are sitting figures of Peter Waldo, Wycliffe, Hus and Savonarola, the heralds of the Reformation; at the corners of the platform, on lower pedestals, are statues of Luther's contemporaries, Melanchthon, Reuchlin, Philip of Hesse, and Frederick the Wise of Saxony, between which are allegorical figures of Magdeburg (mourning), Spires (protesting) and Augsburg (confessing).