The first complete translation of the Bible into English was produced by the followers of John Wyclif in the last quarter of the fourteenth century; it is known in two versions, very literal and more idiomatic, and, despite being banned within 25 years of its completion, survives today, complete or partial, in around 250 copies. The organization of the enterprise almost certainly was initiated in Oxford, and reflects in many ways contemporary scholarly interests. The gospel commentaries of the present study represent a spin-off from the processes of translation: they use the literal text, and attach to it English translations of patristic and later biblical exegesis. The book considers the background to the copies that survive, the precise sources that lie behind the vernacular, and the ways in which older texts were scrutinized and modified to fit a later medieval audience; a section looks at the uses that, so far, have been traced. No part of the commentaries has so far been printed: this study concludes with some extracts from all sections of the compilation, chosen to amplify the claims of the discussion and to illustrate the commentaries' varied methods.
This will be a major publication ... The editorial complexities in these voluminous Wycliffite texts would defeat most scholars, and few, perhaps none, are as well-qualified as Hudson to edit them. It is unlikely that there will be an edition of the Glossed Gospels undertaken in the near future, and it would be an immense bonus to have as many substantial extracts as possible available in an easily accessible authoritative edition.
The study of late medieval English religious and intellectual culture is currently developing rapidly; this study, along with the edited extracts, promises to constitute a major primary intervention in the field.
Kantik Ghosh, Trinity College, University of Oxford
'Doctors in English constitutes an important primary intervention in the study of late medieval English religious and intellectual culture.'Kantik Ghosh, Journal of Ecclesiastical History