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Apocalyptic Lollards?: The Conservative Use of The Book of Daniel in the English Wycliffite Sermons

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Too frequently the biblical hermeneutics of the Lollards have been oversimplified and described as “sola scriptura” or “literal” for the purpose of comparison. Limited attention has been given to the hermeneutic of Scripture particularly that of the Old Testament, present in the Wycliffite homiletic tradition as espoused in the Middle English Wycliffite festial. Building on the work of Kantik Ghosh and Curtis V. Bostick, this study asserts that the Middle English Wycliffite sermons' focus upon the Old Testament prophetic literature as a source of figures fulfilled in the New Testament, the reluctance of the politically conservative Wycliffite movement to embrace a radical apocalyptic vision, and the overriding concern of Lollard hermeneuts to acquire certitude resulted in the limited use of the book of Daniel in Wycliffite sermonic literature. When compared to contemporary sermon cycles and later uses of Daniel by more radical English groups, it becomes obvious that the Wycliffite sermons did not utilize a radical critique of empire or maintain a radical apocalyptic vision that might have found greater use for Daniel.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religion, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97284, Waco, USA-Texas 76798–7284;, Email:


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