John Wycliffe was an English theologian, lay preacher, translator,reformist and university teacher who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers are known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached anticlerical and biblically-centered reforms.

He is considered the founder of the Lollard movement, a precursor to the Protestant Reformation (for this reason, he is sometimes called “The Morning Star of the Reformation”). He was one of the earliest opponents of papal authority influencing secular power.

Wycliffe was also an early advocate for translation of the Bible into the common tongue. He completed his translation directly from the Vulgate into vernacular English in the year 1382, now known as Wycliffe’s Bible. It is probable that he personally translated the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and it is possible he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old Testament. Wycliffe’s Bible appears to have been completed by 1384.

Incidentally, One of the earliest references to the word “bollocks” is John Wycliffe bible (1382), Leviticus xxii, 24: “Al beeste, that … kitt and taken a wey the ballokes is, ye shulen not offre to the Lord…” (any beast that is cut and taken away the bollocks, you shall not offer to the Lord, i.e. castrated animals are not suitable as religious sacrifices).

 

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