Short note on Wycliff as a religious reformer.

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John Wycliffe (with two fs) lived in the the 1300s and he was a professor and more importantly a religious reformer. During Wycliffe's day, the Bible was read not in the vernacular, but in Latin. This caused some practical problems and an imbalance of power, as you can imagine. Only those who knew Latin could actually read the Bible. More specifically, theology was not for the general public, but only for priest and those educated. From a point of view of power, this practically meant that the church had all the power. This was extremely significant, because during the 1300, religion played an important role in society.

What John Wycliffe did was to translate the Bible into English, so that more and more people could read it. As you can imagine, the church did not appreciate this. Nevertheless many people loved him for it. The Lollards, a proto-reformation group, followed his teachings.

From a larger perspective, he was extremely important, because he was one of the precursors to the Reformation that would take place in the sixteenth century. In fact, English was ripe for the Reformation, because of the Lollards. Indeed, England would become a Protestant nation, in part, because of Wycliffe.

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The Canterbury Tales

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