Doctors in English

BookDoctors in English

Doctors in English

A Study of the Wycliffite Gospel Commentaries

Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies


May 5th, 2015

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The first complete translation of the Bible into English was produced by the followers of John Wyclif in the last quarter of the fourteenth century; it is known in two versions, very literal and more idiomatic, and, despite being banned within 25 years of its completion, survives today, complete or partial, in around 250 copies. The organization of the enterprise almost certainly was initiated in Oxford, and reflects in many ways contemporary scholarly interests. The gospel commentaries of the present study represent a spin-off from the processes of translation: they use the literal text, and attach to it English translations of patristic and later biblical exegesis. The book considers the background to the copies that survive, the precise sources that lie behind the vernacular, and the ways in which older texts were scrutinized and modified to fit a later medieval audience; a section looks at the uses that, so far, have been traced. No part of the commentaries has so far been printed: this study concludes with some extracts from all sections of the compilation, chosen to amplify the claims of the discussion and to illustrate the commentaries' varied methods.


'This will be a major publication ... The editorial complexities in these voluminous Wycliffite texts would defeat most scholars, and few, perhaps none, are as well-qualified as Hudson to edit them. It is unlikely that there will be an edition of the Glossed Gospels undertaken in the near future, and it would be an immense bonus to have as many substantial extracts as possible available in an easily accessible authoritative edition. The study of late medieval English religious and intellectual culture is currently developing rapidly; this study, along with the edited extracts, promises to constitute a major primary intervention in the field.'
Kantik Ghosh, Trinity College, University of Oxford

'Doctors in English constitutes an important primary intervention in the study of late medieval English religious and intellectual culture.'
Kantik Ghosh, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

'This volume is a vital new study of an important and thus far un-edited group of texts, which will be crucial for those working on religious and intellectual culture in the late medieval period.'
Medium Aevum 

Author Information

Professor Anne Hudson is Emeritus Professor of Medieval English at the University of Oxford and Honorary Fellow, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America and honorary doctor of History, Charles University, Prague.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover 1
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
List of Figures8
List of Abbreviations10
1 Introduction: Versions and Manuscripts20
2 Description of the Manuscripts30
3 The Biblical Text and Layout45
4 The Commentaries, their Texts, Basis, Sources and Methods54
5 The ‘Topics’ in York and the Other Commentaries, their Makeup, Sources and Methods97
6 The Uses Made of the Commentaries in Other Texts118
7 Conclusions, Suggestions, Questions132
Extracts from the Commentaries156
Introductory Note to Texts158
1(a) Matthew 11:11–15 (from AL and from Ad)160
1(b) Matthew 22:1–3 (from AL and from Y)165
1(c) Matthew 23:29–31 (from AL and from Ad)168
2(a) Luke 10:1–7 (from K and from B)175
2(b) Luke 12:1–3 (from K and from B)189
3(a) John 6:1–7 (from B and from Y)192
4(a) Mark 4:13–20 (from Ad)197
4(b) Mark 8:1–9 (from Ad and from Y199
4(c) Mark 12:38–44 (from Ad)205
5(a) Matthew 4:1–8 (from Y)211
5(b) Passages from Abbeville (in Y and in Ad)213
6(a) Topic De sacramento altaris (from AL and Cambridge University Library MS Ff.6.31)215
6(b) Topic De confessione (extract) (from KY and from B)222
6(c) Topic De officiis prelatorum (extract) (from Y and from B)229
7(a) Odo Attached to Mark 10:31 (from Ad)242
7(b) Odo Attached to Sermon on 9 Trinity (in Y)243
7(c) Odo in Sermon for 2 Advent (from Y), and Attached to Mark 16:21–7 (from Ad)247
1 The Problems of Using Modern Editions of Three Latin Sources for the English Commentaries256
2 The Structure and Coverage of Odo of Chateauroux in Oxford, Balliol College MS 37261