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John Wyclif: Myth & Reality
by G.R. Evans
John Wyclif has alternatively been called hero and heretic, reformer and radical, guardian and gadfly. But the true tale of this most controversial of late-medieval Englishmen is far richer and more complex.In this first major biography of John Wyclif in nearly a century, G. R. Evans employs recent research to present a fresh, focused portrait of this pivotal historical fi ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 18th 2005 by Lion publishing
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May 22, 2012 Jacob Aitken rated it liked it · review of another edition
G. R. Evans’ book is a welcome addition to the study of John Wyclif. Too often Wyclif studies have divided on partisan lines between Roman Catholics who see him as Antichrist and Protestant apologists who see him as the Forerunner of the Reformation. Evans’ work is valuable in that she demonstrates how both sides fail to take into account both of what Wyclif himself actually taught and Rome’s specific actions in response. As a result, one sees that Wyclif did not see himself necessarily “preachi ...more
This is one of those books that I really got into when I first started reading it, but as I got further along I found it less and less interesting. It starts off describing the rise of universities in 13th century Europe (specifically England). This is by far the best part of the book as the author paints a vivid picture of how the first universities began. Oddly enough the least interesting part was the part specifically about Wyclif. It is very well researched, but it just didn't have much lif ...more
This book is very well documented. Evans does a masterful job of weaving together the complexity of the University around the time and terrain in which Wycliff lived. Unfortunately, I was surprised to find out that this is not much of a biography. It's more like a medieval history of Oxford and it's relationship with Church and State, with a splash of Wycliff thrown into every chapter. My guess is that it was easier (for me) to follow through the logic of each chapter's "biographical" setting be ...more
This is hard going initially. Lack of details on his life means Evans defaulted to a detailed exploration of mid-14th century Oxford academia. That's interesting but is done at the expense of other social and cultural context which would have helped to connect the reader to the time, the place and to Wycliffe himself. Worth persevering with though.