Introduction: Family Resemblances

J. Patrick Hornbeck II

in What is a Lollard?

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199589043
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594564 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Introduction: Family Resemblances

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The etymology of the term lollard remains a source of dispute among scholars: was it coined in the heat of the academic controversies in the University of Oxford in which John Wyclif and his followers played such a prominent role, or was it a pre‐existing term of abuse only retroactively applied to Wycliffites and their supporters? Examining the ways in which discourses about lollardy have inadvertently shaped our assumptions and research agendas, this chapter proposes a new model for thinking about the category ‘lollardy’, a model that draws not only on the traditional disciplines of literary, historical, and theological studies but also on those of psychology and biology. This model has the potential not to solve the mystery of which inhabitants of late medieval England were and were not lollards but, rather, to help students of lollardy ask more helpful questions of the sources.

Keywords: Lollard; Wyclif; family resemblance; development of doctrine; dissenter; categorization; classification

Chapter.  11112 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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