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The First English Bible: A Lost Opportunity

The medieval English Church prohibited the use of the translation of the Bible made in Wyclif’s time. Traditionally, the Wycliffite Bible has been understood as a reformist document, but Dr Mary Dove argues that, contrary to received opinion, the readership was prodominantly devout and orthodox. She sets out the evidence to show that the Church authorities were wrong to suppose that the translators had incorporated heresies into their translation; they were as scholarly as the resources available to them in late 14th century England allowed them to be, and they deserve credit for their achievement in enabling laypeople literate in English access to the book that dominated their culture.

• Mary Dove

The whole article can be downloaded as a PDF file.

Published in British Academy Review, Issue 10, 2007.