By Stephen E. Lahey

John Wyclif (d. 1384) has too usually been defined as "Morning celebrity of the Reformation" and just recently all started to be studied as a fourteenth-century English thinker and theologian. This paintings attracts on contemporary scholarship situating Wyclif in his fourteenth-century milieu to provide a survey of his concept and writings as a coherent theological place bobbing up from Oxford's "Golden Age" of theology.

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Appearances suggest that the government had wind of Gregory’s bulls, and acted with their general sentiments in mind, to give Gregory the impression that his concerns were being taken seriously. When the bulls were published shortly before Christmas, Wyclif was in residence in Oxford. The vice chancellor ordered him held in Black Hall, presumably believing himself to be obeying papal command, but friends soon released Wyclif, who was likely spluttering with rage. Archbishop Sudbury and Bishop Courtenay acted quickly and ordered Wyclif to appear at Lambeth palace for a formal trial no later than 27 March 1378.

Ockham’s philosophical approach involved using the principle the oxford context of wyclif’s thought 35 to avoid positing metaphysical entities beyond what was absolutely necessary. The classic example of this is with the ten Aristotelian predicables. In Categories, Aristotle lists ten things that can be said of an object: substance, quality, quantity, relation, place, time, position, state, action, and passion. Ockham argued that philosophers were too quick to allow abstract reasoning about these categories to lead to supposing that there were such things as relations or points in time or space existing apart from related things.

Contemporary chronicles describe Wyclif ’s “poor preachers” wandering the countryside in russet robes, enthusiastically fomenting discord in an already disaffected populace. One chronicler, Thomas Walsingham, is unequivocal in connecting these preachers with the revolt of June 1381, decrying Wyclif ’s teachings as the cause of the fire and death of rebellion. Scholars today are less likely to equate the two phenomena of Wyclif ’s preachers and the rebellion, although many agree that some crossover was likely.

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