John Wyclif’s Principium Biblicum Revisited

Vivarium 61 (3-4):288-317 (2023)
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Abstract

John Wyclif’s principium biblicum, that is to say, his inception speech as a Master of Theology at Oxford, dating from 1372/1373, has received scant scholarly attention. Discovered and edited in the 1960s by Beryl Smalley, it has long been considered a typical representative of its genre. A closer look at Wyclif’s text in the light of current principia-scholarship, and in particular of Robert Grosseteste’s recently identified inception speech, shows, however, that Wyclif’s principium biblicum is all but traditional. Its far-reaching claims concerning the importance of a thorough philosophical training as a prerequisite for the study of the Bible, as well as for that of theology, make this principium stand out amongst medieval inception speeches.

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