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Wyclif, John (c.1330–84)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-B119-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 14, 2024, from

Article Summary

John Wyclif was a logician, theologian and religious reformer. A Yorkshireman educated at Oxford, he was first prominent as a logician; he developed some technical notions of the Oxford Calculators, but reacted against their logic of terms to embrace with fervour the idea of the real existence of universal ideas. He expounded his view as a theologian, rejecting the notion of the annihilation of substance (including the eucharistic elements) and treating time as merely contingent. The proper understanding of universals became his touchstone of moral progress; treating scripture as a universal idea, he measured the value of human institutions, including the Church and its temporal property, by their conformity with its absolute truth. These views, though temporarily favoured by King Edward III, were condemned by Pope Gregory XI in 1377 and by the English ecclesiastical hierarchy in 1382, forcing him into retirement but leaving him the inspirer of a clandestine group of scholarly reformers, the Lollards.

Citing this article:
Catto, Jeremy. Wyclif, John (c.1330–84), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-B119-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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