Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

John Wyclif

  • Stephen E. Lahey
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1151-5_281-2


John Wyclif (c. 1331–1384) was an English philosopher and theologian whose thought led later historians to incorrectly associate him with the Protestant Reformation. Wyclif was Master of Balliol College at Oxford in 1360 and became famed for his philosophical abilities thereafter. He entered royal service with John of Gaunt in 1376, arguing vigorously for the royal right to control the church, was condemned by Gregory XI in 1377, and was compelled to leave Oxford in 1381. He retired to Lutterworth, Leicestershire, where he died on December 31, 1384. His main works are two large Summae: the Summa de ente, containing philosophical and theological treatises, and the Summa theologie, containing his political, ecclesiological, and other later controversial thought. He also composed a Postilla of the Bible, second only to Nicholas Lyra’s work, a set of sermons, Scripture commentary, and the Trialogus, an introductory-level summary of the whole of his theological project. While many of his works were published by the Wyclif Society a century ago, many need to be reedited. His Postilla has never been fully edited. His reputation as a philosopher continues to suffer in light of his condemnation for heresy.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Classics and Religious StudiesUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA