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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The First English Bible: The Text and Context of the Wycliffite Versions
Dove, Mary

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007 pp. xvi + 313. $99.00

Series Information
Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, 66


Description: The Bible was translated into English for the first time in the late 1300s by John Wyclif and his supporters. In the first study of the Wycliffite Bible for nearly a century, Mary Dove explains why people wanted an English translation, why many clergy opposed the idea, and why the church’s attempt to censor the translation was unsuccessful. Based on intensive study of the surviving manuscripts, Dove takes the reader through every step of the conception, design and execution of the first English Bible. Illuminating examples are included at every point, and textual analyses and a complete listing of surviving manuscripts are appended. Despite the meagre and inadequate resources with which the Wycliffites carried through their enormous enterprise, and the disagreements and changes of direction it involved, Dove demonstrates that the first English Bible initiated a tradition of scholarly, stylish and thoughtful biblical translation, and remains a major cultural landmark.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Textual Criticism

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Review by Christo H. J. van der Merwe
Published 2/21/2009
Citation: Christo H. J. van der Merwe, review of Mary Dove, The First English Bible: The Text and Context of the Wycliffite Versions, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).


Review by Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton
Published 2/21/2009
Citation: Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton, review of Mary Dove, The First English Bible: The Text and Context of the Wycliffite Versions, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).


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