Henry Ansgar Kelly’s new monograph on what he calls the “Middle English Bible”, but what is more commonly known as the Wycliffite Bible, challenges a range of widely held assumptions concerning this fourteenth-century translation project. Kelly builds upon Cardinal Gasquet’s late-nineteenth-century publications, which argue that rather than being Lollard or indeed Wycliffite productions, these Middle English Bible translations were entirely orthodox, and were approved of by the ecclesiastical authorities. Kelly, however, expands and refines Gasquet’s arguments, and gives them a more solid grounding through careful and detailed examination of the source texts than has hitherto been the case.Kelly begins by pointing out in Chapter 1 (“A History of Judgments on the Middle English Bible”) that it is very difficult to prove that this group of fourteenth-century Bible translations into Middle English were recognised as Wycliffite productions from the very outset. The evidence which we have from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries which would point to the translations being associated with Wyclif and his followers is very scant indeed, with John Bale’s attribution to Wyclif being one of the few exceptions. Even in the following century, the oft-cited remarks by Thomas More indicate that the translations were “regarded not only
Anglia – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 8, 2018
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