of the friars are laid some of the most egregious errors of the church by Wyclif from this point in his life onwards (see 13 , 20 , 26 , 27ii , 31 , 33 ).
Later in 1381, with the publication of On the Eucharist , new issues presented themselves. Since as early as 1372, Wyclif had been wrestling with the metaphysical implications of transubstantiation. Whilst he accepted that Christ’s body and blood were really present in the bread and the wine of the consecrated eucharist, his philosophical realism prevented him from accepting that
Wyclif’s views on the church and the papacy were recorded systematically in two roughly contemporary treatises, On the Church (1378/9) and On the Power of the Pope (late 1379). His conception of the church, like his understanding of the nature of scripture, was underpinned quite conspicuously by his philosophical realism, which privileged the eternal over the finite and ephemeral. In the first chapter of On the Church, in response to his initial desire to describe the quiddity of the church, he therefore claims simply that the church is ‘the congregation of all of those predestined to salvation’. This definition, he suggests, underlies many of the diverse conceptions of the church that are found in scripture. It is this church, he goes on to suggest, that we should properly identify as the bride of Christ. The head of the church, we are told, is uniquely Christ himself, and its members are his limbs. Nobody can know for certain that he or she is among the predestinate, or even the foreknown (that is, those predestined to damnation), which meant that for Wyclif, nobody could be sure that he or she was truly a member of the church, except by ‘special revelation’.
selected texts that deal with a range of issues that were to become crucial to Wyclif’s later thought. All are clearly informed by his developing philosophical realism, and represent his desire to gesture away from the material particulars of the world, towards the universal entities that Wyclif felt were the proper objects of philosophical knowledge.
The Summa de Ente was produced between ca. 1360 and 1372, and represents some of Wyclif’s earliest and most original philosophical work. It is here that his philosophical realism finds its
personally authorised instructions to envoys negotiating with France
show a lack of political realism  . Though we can sympathise
with any king trying to deal with someone as awkward as the earl of
Arundel [62c, 145a–c, 146b] it is true that Richard showed
little skill at ‘public relations’. Perhaps he thought
that in life, as in a game of hazard, the dice would always roll his way
ever found that any of them was corrupted by gifts or bribes.
officials: the clerks of king’s bench (1415)
The account of this scuffle in
Westminster Hall in 1415 brings an air of human realism to the otherwise
dry bureaucratic world of the central courts. The event presumably
occurred while the king’s bench was in recess and the clerks were
Wyclif’s views on the church and the papacy were recorded systematically in two roughly contemporary treatises, On the Church (1378–79) and On the Power of the Pope (late 1379). His conception of the church, like his understanding of the nature of Scripture, was underpinned quite conspicuously by his philosophical realism, which privileged the eternal over the finite and ephemeral. In the first chapter of On the Church , in response to his initial desire to describe the quiddity of the church, he therefore claims simply that the