On the other hand there were movements, such as the Waldensian, the Wycliffite and Hussite,which are often described as "reformations anticipating the Reformation" which "set out from the Augustinian conception of the Church, but took exception to the development of the conception," and were pronounced by the medieval church as heretical for (1) "contesting the hierarchical gradation of the priestly order; or (2) giving to the religious idea of the Church implied in the thought of predestination a place superior to the conception of the empirical Church; or (3) applying to the priests, and thereby to the authorities of the Church, the test of the law of God, before admitting their right to exercise, as holding the keys, the power of binding and loosing" (Harnack's History of Dogma, vi.
The direct result of this investigation is not known, but it is impossible to disconnect from it the promulgation by Pope Alexander V., on the 20th of December 1409, of a bull which ordered the abjuration of all Wycliffite heresies and the surrender of all his books, while at the same time - a measure specially levelled at the pulpit of Bethlehem chapel - all preaching was prohibited except in localities which had been by long usage set apart for that use.
In fact in the Northern Midlands, and in the North even before the middle of the r4th century, the book of Psalms had been twice rendered into English, and before the end of the same century, probably before the great Wycliffite versions had spread over the country, the whole of the New Testament had been translated by different hands into one or other of the dialects of this part of the country.
Several revisions of the text exist, the later of which present such striking agreement with the later Wycliffite version that we shall not be far wrong if we assume that they were made use of to a considerable extent by the revisers of this version.
2 The translation of this, our only southern text, surpasses all previous efforts from the point of view of clearness of expression and idiomatic use of English, and, though less exact, it may be even said in these respects to rank equal with the later or revised Wycliffite version.
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.
The editors of the Wycliffite versions say in the Preface, pp. xv.
The Wycliffite authorship of the Commentaries on the Gospels, on which the learned editors base their argument, is, however, unsupported by any evidence beyond the fact that the writer of the Prologue to Matthew urges in strong language " the propriety of translating Scripture for the use of the laity."
For a different view as to the authorship of the Wycliffite versions, see F.
Attempts have been made to show that especially in the Old Testament he based a great deal of his work on the Wycliffite translations, but in face of this we have his own explicit 4 Reprinted by G.
Lewis, History of English Translations of the Bible (1818); the historical accounts prefixed to Bagster's issue of The English Hexapla and of Forshall and Madden's edition of the Wycliffite Versions (Oxford, 1850).
The Wycliffite movement, the one coudition phenomenon which at the beginning of the century of the seemed to give some promise of better things, had cOunuzv.
In the Wycliffite remnant, often persecuted but never exterminated, there already existed in England the nucleus of a Protestant party.
He was able to coerce the authorities of the university of Oxford, and to drive out of it the leading Wycliffite teachers, but he was unable to stifle Oxford sympathies or to prevent the banished teachers preaching throughout the country.
These Conclusions really contain the sum of Wycliffite teaching; and, if we add that the principal duty of priests is to preach, and that the worship of images, the going on pilgrimages and the use of gold and silver chalices in divine service are sinful (The Peasants' Rising and the Lollards, p. 47), they include almost all the heresies charged in the indictments against individual Lollards down to the middle of the 15th century.
In 1408 Arundel in convocation proposed and carried the famous Constitutiones Thomae Arundel intended to put down Wycliffite preachers and teaching.
This revised version rapidly supplanted its predecessor, and became the current form of the Wycliffite Bible during the fifteenth century.
About this time he became an ardent Wycliffite, winning over many persons, some of high rank, to the side of the reformer, and incurring the censure of Archbishop Arundel.
Like the Wycliffite Versions it is merely a secondary rendering from the Latin Vulgate, and it suffered from many of the defects which characterized these versions, extreme literalness, often stilted, ambiguous renderings, at times unintelligible except by a reference to the Latin original, as in Luke xxii.
" It is," wrote Bishop Tunstall to Erasmus in 1523, "no question of pernicious novelty, it is only that new arms are being added to the great band of Wycliffite heretics."
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