The Lollards Were Awesome

My newest piece for the Reformation 500th anniversary edition of Let’s Talk: Living Theology in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod:

And it is in this surviving vernacular literature that we can sense the real import of the Lollard movement. Wycliffe’s translations, unlike later efforts, did not return to Greek or Hebrew, but rendered the Vulgate in homely, vivid English. Of the Prodigal Son: “And aftir that that he hadde endid alle thingis, a strong hungur was maad in that cuntre, and he bigan to haue nede.” The tradition of editing and translating that would swell majestically through Tyndale to the Authorized Version owes little to Wycliffe except his belief that English was a suitable language for Scripture and theology (or politics!) at all.

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