Highlights in Christianity: Wycliffe Bible & First Printing

With many different interpretations of the Bible, a range of translations and versions have emerged throughout the centuries. In this article, you will encounter the John Wycliffe translation, as well as who was responsible for the first printing of the Bible.

1382 , John Wycliffe translates the Bible into English.

John Wycliffe was an English philosopher, theologian, lay preacher and translator, who is responsible for translating the Bible into the English language. As a reformer and teacher at a university, he was an early opponent of the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. He gained followers, which were called Lollards. They were rebellious in their actions and preached against the cleric , calling for reform. The Lollards were instrumental in the start of the Protestant Reformation. Wycliffe often spoke against papal authority being an influence on secular power.

Wycliffe also advocated for a translation of the Bible that followed a common language. His translation is called ‘Wycliffe’s Bible.’ Historians believe he probably personally handled the translation of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Some believe he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old Testament. The completion of Wycliffe’s Bible took place in 1384. Updated versions were completed by his assistant John Purvey and others that appeared in 1388 and 1395.

The Bible has been translated into a variety of languages, including biblical languages, such as Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It would see publication in more than 450 languages. Throughout the Middle Ages, the Latin Vulgate was the primary translation for Western Christianity before the Bible was translated into English, Other translations and versions of the Bible to include:

”¢    The Ormulum was a Middle English translation that appeared in the 12th century.

”¢    The Wessex Gospels (also called the West-Saxon Gospels) showcase a full translation of the four gospels into a West Saxon dialect of Old English.

”¢    An English translation of the Christian Bible called the New International Version is a popular modern translation that dates back to 1973.
1456 , The first printed Bible is made.

Thanks to Johannes Gutenberg from Germany, the first print version of the Bible is created. His invention of the printing press set the gears in motion to share and preserve the Bible on a widespread level. He used movable type to drive the world into a modern period of creativity and expression. The printing press would play an important role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. The masses could now learn on a sweeping level.

Gutenberg was the first European to make use of movable type printing in around 1439. He used an oil-based ink to form the pages (one of his inventions) and also provided different ways of printing, such as a wooden press. Gutenberg’s type was an improvement from a Chinese method made 400 years earlier. Gutenberg chose the Bible as the publication he replicated as his first major work using his printing methods , it was called the Gutenberg Bible.