Wycliffe's New Testament
[Middle English New Testament. Wycliffite Version].
Illuminated manuscript on vellum.
[England, c. 1400–1425]. (Prothro B-281)
The first widely circulated English version of the Bible, this translation from St. Jerome’s Latin is attributed to followers of John Wycliffe (c.1330–1384), an English reformer who rejected many Church rituals and institutions, preferring the scriptures as his sole authority. The popularity of the Wycliffite Bible grew rapidly although it was outlawed in 1407 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who feared scriptural misinterpretation by lay readers, the erosion of clerical authority, and the propagation of heresy by dissident preachers. Illuminated on the first page and annotated throughout, the Wycliffite New Testament is Bridwell Library’s earliest version of the Bible in English.