Picturing history: John Wycliffe

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 3 2011 7:20 p.m. MDT

Although not a translator of the King James Bible, John Wycliffe was a man whose efforts helped pave the way for works like the KJB. Seen above is the parish church of Lutterworth, Leicestershire, where Wycliffe served as rector from 1374-1384.

Kenneth Mays,

Although not a translator of the King James Bible, John Wycliffe was a man whose efforts helped pave the way for works like the KJB. Seen here is the parish church of Lutterworth, Leicestershire, where Wycliffe served as rector from 1374-1384. The Wycliffe pulpit is still in the church. Many honor him as the man who produced a translation of the whole Bible into the English language for the first time. This was deeply mistrusted by the established church, and his translations were rapidly declared illegal and heretical. Wycliffe's translation of the Bible came before the invention of the printing press and had to be copied by hand. The cost of one such book was roughly equivalent to 15 year's salary for the average worker. According to Brian Moynahan, in 1428 (44 years after he died), "Wycliffe's remains were exhumed, chained to a stake and burned. The ashes were then dumped into the River Swift." His writings affected men like John Huss and Martin Luther, helping to lay a foundation for the Reformation.

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