Biography of wycliffe

biography of wycliffe
He found them a model for methods of procedure in matters connected with the questions of worldly possessions and the Church. It is said indeed by Knyghton that at a council held by Courtenay at Oxford in the following November Wycliffe was brought forward and made a recantation; but our authority fortunately gives the text of the recantation, which proves to be nothing more nor less than a plain English statement of the condemned doctrine.

Many of the bishops on the commission accepted bribes of lucrative jobs, however, and the body failed in its role. Wycliffe, on the other hand, refused to be bribed. He arrived in the company of two very powerful supporters: That same year he was again summoned to appear on trial before the bishops.

While there, he continued to write. We make our choice. We accept Edward of England and refute Urban of Rome. InWycliffe also served as a negotiator in the Peace Congress at Bruges — between England and France; this furthered his political influence and stature.

From his early days at Oxford, Wycliffe contended with various biographies wycliffe of Catholic philosophy and influence. Initially, this was more abstract and philosophical, but increasingly he became critical of the actions and power that the church wielded. On his return from Bruges, with support from his patron John of Gaunt, he wrote biographies wycliffe and books, expressing his views. The most important was Summa Theologiae This included denunciations of collecting indulgences for the remission of sin. He also asserted the right of the King to take away property from the church, if justified.

Wycliffe became a popular preacher in London, and many reformers allied himself to his views.

The Story of John Wycliffe

After calling for the secularisation of English church property, his opponents argued he was guilty of blasphemy. Wycliffe had to defend himself at Lambeth palace. Rudolph Buddensieg finds two distinct aspects in Wycliffe's work. The first, from toreflects a political struggle with Rome, while to is more a religious struggle. In each Wycliffe has two approaches: Wycliffe's influence was never greater than at the moment when pope and antipope sent their ambassadors to England to gain recognition for themselves.

Inin the ambassadors' presence, he delivered an biography before Parliament that showed, in an important ecclesiastical political question the matter of the right of asylum in Westminster Abbeya position that was to the liking of the State.

He argued that criminals who had taken sanctuary in churches might lawfully be dragged out of sanctuary. The books and tracts of Wycliffe's last six years include continual attacks upon the papacy and the entire hierarchy of his biographies. Each year they focus more and more, and at the biography of wycliffe, the pope and the Antichrist seem to him practically equivalent concepts.

Yet there are passages which are moderate in tone: Lechler identifies three stages in Wycliffe's relations with the papacy. The first step, which carried him to the outbreak of the schisminvolves moderate recognition of the papal primacy ; the second, which carried him tois marked by an estrangement from the papacy; and the third shows him in sharp contest.

In keeping with Wycliffe's belief that scripture was the only authoritative reliable guide to the truth about God, he became involved in efforts to translate the Bible into English.

While Wycliffe is credited, it is not possible exactly to define his part in the translation, which was based on the Vulgate.

biography of wycliffe

From him biography the translation of the New Testamentwhich was smoother, clearer, and more readable than the rendering of the Old Testament by his friend Nicholas of Hereford. The whole was revised by Wycliffe's younger contemporary John Purvey in There still exist about manuscripts, complete or partial, containing the translation in its revised form. From this, one may easily infer how widely diffused it was in the 15th century.

biography of wycliffe

For this reason the Wycliffites in England were often designated by their opponents as "Bible men". In the summer of Wycliffe formulated his doctrine of the Lord's Supper in twelve short sentences, and made it a duty to advocate it everywhere.

Then the English hierarchy proceeded against him. The chancellor of the University of Oxford had some of the declarations pronounced heretical. When this was announced to Wycliffe, he declared that no one could change his convictions.

He then appealed — not to the pope nor to the ecclesiastical authorities of the land, but to the king. He published his biography of wycliffe confession upon the subject and also a second writing in English intended for the common people.

As long as Wycliffe limited his attacks to abuses and the wealth of the Church, he could rely on the biography of part of the clergy and aristocracy, but once he dismissed the traditional doctrine of transubstantiationhis theses could not be defended any more. In the midst of this came the Peasants' Revolt of Although Wycliffe disapproved of the revolt, some of his disciples justified the killing of Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury. In Wycliffe's old enemy William Courtenaynow Archbishop of Canterbury, called an ecclesiastical assembly of notables at London.

During the consultations on 21 May an earthquake occurred; the participants were terrified and wished to break up the assembly, but Courtenay declared the earthquake a favourable sign which meant the purification of the earth from erroneous doctrine, and the result of the " Earthquake Synod " was assured. Of the 24 propositions attributed to Wycliffe without mentioning his name, ten were declared heretical and fourteen erroneous.

The former had reference to the transformation in the sacrament, the latter to matters of church order and institutions. It was forbidden from that time to hold these opinions or to advance them in sermons or in academic discussions.

biography of wycliffe

All persons disregarding this order were to be subject to prosecution. To accomplish this the help of the State was necessary; but the Commons rejected the bill. The king, however, had a decree issued which permitted the arrest of those in error. The citadel of the reformatory movement was Oxford, where Wycliffe's most active helpers were; these were laid under the ban and summoned to recant, and Nicholas of Hereford went to Rome to biography of wycliffe.

On 17 NovemberWycliffe was summoned before a synod at Oxford. He still commanded the favour of the court and of Parliament, to which he addressed a memorial. He was neither excommunicated then, nor deprived of his living. Wycliffe aimed to do away with the existing biography of wycliffe and replace it with the "poor priests" who lived in poverty, were bound by no vows, had received no formal consecrationand preached the Gospel to the people.

Itinerant preachers spread the teachings of Wycliffe. The bull of Gregory XI impressed upon them the name of Lollardsintended as an opprobrious epithet, but it became, to them, a name of honour. Even in Wycliffe's time the "Lollards" had reached wide circles in England and preached "God's law, without which no one could be justified. In the years before his death in he increasingly argued for Scriptures as the authoritative centre of Christianity, that the claims of the papacy were unhistorical, that monasticism was irredeemably corrupt, and that the moral unworthiness of priests invalidated their office and sacraments.

biography of wycliffe

Wycliffe returned to Lutterworthand sent out tracts against the monks and Urban VI, since the latter, contrary to Wycliffe's hopes, had not turned out to be a reforming pope. John of Gaunt was for the moment in retirement; but the mother of the young king appears to have adopted his policy in church affairs, and she naturally occupied a chief position in the new biography. As soon as parliament met in the autumn ofWycliffe was consulted by it as to the lawfulness of prohibiting that treasure should pass out of the country in obedience to the pope's demand.

Wycliffe's affirmative judgment is contained in a state paper still extant; and its tone is plain proof enough of his confidence that his views on the main question of church and state had the support of the nation.

Indeed he had laid before this same parliament his answer to the pope's bulls, with a defence of the biography of his opinions. His university, moreover, confirmed his argument; his tenets, it said, were true i.

But Wycliffe was still bound to clear himself before the prelates who had summoned him, and early in he appeared for this purpose in the chapel of Lambeth Palace. His written defence, expressed in some respects in more cautious language than he had previously used, was laid before the council; but its session was rudely interrupted, not only by an biography wycliffe of the London citizens with a crowd of the rabble, but also by a messenger from the princess of Wales enjoining them not to pass judgment against Wycliffe; and thus a second time he escaped, either without sentence, or at most with a gentle request that he would avoid discussing the matters in question.

Meanwhile his "protestatio" was sent on to Rome. Before, however, any further step could be taken at Rome, Gregory XI. In the autumn of this year Wycliffe was once more called upon to prove his loyalty to John of Gaunt.

The duke had violated the sanctuary of Westminster by sending a band of armed men to seize two squires who had taken refuge there.

John Wycliffe Biography

One of them was taken by a biography, the other murdered, together with the servant of the church who attempted to resist his arrest. After a while the bishop of London excommunicated all concerned in the crime except only the king, his mother and his uncleand preached against the culprits at Paul's Cross.

The schism in the papacy, owing to the election of Clement VII. His attitude was not, indeed, as yet fully developed. He did not object to a visible head of the church so long as this head possessed the essential qualification of righteousness, as a biography of the elect. The yearindeed, saw the beginning of an aggressive propaganda which was bound sooner or later to issue in a position wholly revolutionary. For this purpose he chose two means, both based on the thesis which he had long maintained as to the supreme authority of Holy Scripture, as the great charter of the Christian religion.

biography of wycliffe

The first means was his institution of the "poor" or "simple" priests to preach his doctrines throughout the country; the second was the translation of the Vulgate into English, which he accomplished with the aid of his friends Nicholas Hereford and John Purvey. This version of the Bible, and still more his numerous sermons and tracts, established Wycliffe's now undisputed position as the founder of English prose writing.

biography of wycliffe

The choice of secular priests to be his itinerant, preachers was significant of another change of attitude on Wycliffe's part. Hitherto he had been on good terms with the friars, whose ideal of biography of wycliffe appealed to him; as already mentioned, four doctors of the mendicant orders had appeared with him at his trial in But he had come to recognize that all organized societies within the church, "sects" as he called them, were liable to the same corruption, while he objected fundamentally to the principle which had established a special standard of morality for the "religious.

The idea that underlay their mission was rather analogous to that which animated Wesley four centuries later. Wycliffe aimed at supplementing the services of the church by regular religious instruction in the vernacular; and his organization included a good number of men who held or had held respectable positions in their colleges at Oxford.

The influence of their teaching was soon felt throughout the country. The common people were rejoiced by the plain and homely doctrine which dwelt chiefly on the simple "law" of the biography of wycliffe, while they no doubt relished the denunciation of existing evils in the church which formed, as it were, the burthen of such discourses.

The feeling of disaffection against the rich and careless clergy, monks and friars was widespread but undefined.

John Wycliffe

Wycliffe turned it into a definite channel. During the years and he produced his biography of wycliffe on the truth of Holy Scripture, on the church, on the office of king, on the papal power. Of all these, except the third, the general character has already been indicated. The king is God's vicar, to be regarded with a spiritual fear second only to that due to God, and resistance to him for personal wrong suffered is wicked. His jurisdiction extends over all causes. The bishops—who are to the king as Christ's Humanity is to his Divinity—derive their jurisdiction from him, and whatever they do is done by his authority.

Thus in his palpable dignity, towards the world, the king is superior to the priest; it is only in his impalpable dignity, towards God, that the priest is superior to the king.

John Wycliffe: Setting the Stage for Reform

Wycliffe thus passed from an assailant of the papal to an assailant of the sacerdotal power; and in this way he was ultimately led to examine and to reject the distinctive symbol of that power, the doctrine of transubstantiation. Wycliffe himself had for some time, both in speech and biography of wycliffe, indicated the main characteristics of his teaching on the Eucharist. The language in which he denounced transubstantiation anticipated that of the Protestant reformers: Yet the consecrated bread and wine are the body and blood of Christ, for Christ himself says so Fasc.

biography of wycliffe

The real presence is not denied; what Wycliffe "dares not affirm" is that the bread is after consecration "essentially, substantially, corporeally and identically" the body of Christ ib. His doctrine, which was by no means always consistent or clear, would thus seem to approximate closely to the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation, as distinguished from the Zwinglian teaching accepted in the xxviii.