John Wycliffe, English theologian

John Wycliffe, English theologian

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Caption: John Wycliffe (c.1320s-1384).1877 illustration of the English reformist theologian John Wycliffe. Wycliffe was disillusioned by the scholastic theology of his day and the clergy of the church. He became a dissident against the authority of the papacy in Rome having any influence on secular powers. He preached reform of the church, arguing that it should return to the poverty of the time of the apostles instead of the wealth of the monasteries, and that poor priests required no consecration and were not bound by vows, but simply preached the Gospel to the people. To this end Wyclife translated the Testaments into vernacular English. During his life he was protected by powerful friends such as John of Gaunt, but was declared a heretic and 42 years after his death his bones were exhumed and burnt by papal command.

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