Bible stirs up medieval controversy Nov. 12

Ellen Joyce, professor of history at Beloit College, will discuss the accessibility and interpretation of the Bible in medieval Europe in an upcoming talk, as part of the Rare Books series. “Intellectual Heresy and the Bible in the Middle Ages” will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the Morse Library on the Beloit College campus.

Medieval theologians considered interpretation of the Bible to be an intricate and exact science, since the study of sacred texts formed the basis for the entire educational system of Medieval Europe. In the late 14th century, a group of Oxford theologians associated with John Wycliffe prepared a translation of the whole Bible into English, making it available to those who lacked a university education. Wycliffe’s radical views about church governance and his literal reading of scripture as a direct guide to human affairs, however, led to his own execution and the first ban of vernacular Bibles in England. This stirred up controversial issues of class, education and theology in English society. Joyce willl examine the history, before and after the Protestant Reformation. She will refer to a first printed edition of Wycliffe’s Bible, made in 1731 and part of the Remnant Trust exhibit on loan at Beloit College.

Joyce teaches medieval and early modern European history at Beloit College. She received her B.A. from Yale University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in medieval studies from the University of Toronto. Her research interests include the religious and intellectual culture of the high Middle Ages.

The event is free and open to the public.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!