From Bede to Wyclif: Did the Translators of the Wycliffite Bible Use OE Sources?

Medieval Translation Theory and Practice II: Generic Considerations Past and Present at Kalamazoo’s 48th Medieval Congress

Organizer: Jeanette Beer, U of Oxford
Presider: Jeanette Beer

From Bede to Wyclif: Did the Translators of the Wycliffite Bible Use OE Sources?
Elizabeth Solopova, U of Oxford
research fellow on the English faculty, a William Golden Fellow at Braisnow’s College
current research project, mss of Wycliffite Bible

possibility that WBible were familiar with OE sources, usually rejected as unreasonable

“From Bede to Wycliffe: Medieval … “ article
“distance that separates OE from Wycliffite is as great as that which separates Wycliffites from us”
“of such OE that scarcely can any man read them”

at least some ME scholars had skill to read OE language
(what about the OE translation of Bible that I just saw the book for? OE Bible version…)

OE first book was Aelfric’s work, intended to provide a precedent of Protestant view
Parker’s edition was first (1500s)

no shortage of evidence at end of 14th C, OE translation of Bible was frequently invoked
“Treatise in Favor of Biblical Translation” published in 1407-1410 Wycliffite author
Section 1 on handout reproduces…
Says Bede translated the Bible, St. John’s gospel…
“of so oolde Englische that vnnethe can any man rede heme, for this Bede regnede an hooly doctor”…
King Aelfred translated the psalter…

Dialogue between X and Clock
also mentions that Bede translated Bible and Alfred translated psalter

This is a common discussion.
Assumed that ME knew only from historical sources.

“OE mss had little value in the Middle Ages”…
both script and language were unfamiliar
BUT they were not completely unread.

Thomas Radborn, monk of St Withers, studied Bede in mid-15th C
also cited will of King Alfred and Vision of Eldrede
evidence of curiousity and real understanding comes from running titles, glosses, and notes from 14th and 15th C

annotations included:
Bodleian 340 and 342, collection of homilies in two volumes by Aelfric, written in 1100…
OE words written in middle of 14th c
glosses are almost all limited to OE translations of Bible quotes
glosses attest to interest in OE translations of Bible, and thereby an interest in OE language
glosses are sometimes explained as unfamiliarity with the OE language

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