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Lollard Society at Kalamazoo International Medieval Congress

The Lollard Society will sponsor three panels at the 52nd International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, MI.

Constructing the Wycliffite Bible
[Update 5/10/17 – regrettably, this session has been canceled] 

Beguines and the Transformations of Urban Piety on the Eastern Periphery of Late Medieval Christendom
Sunday, May 14, 8:30am (Bernhard 205)

Organizer: Michael Van Dussen (McGill Univ.)
Presider: Michael Van Dussen (McGill Univ.)

1) Henry Harrer’s Tractatus contra beghardos: The Polish and Czech Dominican Response to Early Fourteenth-Century Heresies
Tomasz Gałuszka, Univ. Papieski Jana Pawła II w Krakowie

2) The Bohemian Beguines Lost in Oblivion
Pavlína Cermanová, Centrum medievistických studií, Prague

3) The Inquisitor at Work: John of Schwenkenfeld, O.P., and His Inquiry into the Beguines in Świdnica
Paweł Kras, Katolicki Univ. Lubelski Jana Pawła II


(Reformation in Faith and [Feeling) Like Saints]
Sunday, May 14, 10:30am (Bernhard 205)

Organizer: Michael Van Dussen (McGill Univ.)
Presider: Michael Van Dussen (McGill Univ.)

1) The Wordes of Poule
Michael Sargent, Queens College, CUNY

2) Hilton on Paul
Fiona Somerset, Univ. of Connecticut

3) “[H]o so haþ clene affectioun in his soule”: Conservative Affectivity and the Middle English Meditationes de passione Christi
Ryan Perry, Univ. of Kent

4) Love: Is it More than a Feeling?
Robyn Malo, Purdue Univ.

Cfp: Reformation on the Record

A conference sponsored by The National Archives (UK) will be held Nov. 3-4, 2017, to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The organizers, who welcome papers on lollardy, describe the conference as follows:

“The National Archives holds an enormous collection of public records that document the changes and continuities in governance of the Church and State in 15th, 16th and 17th century Britain and Ireland, and shed light on religious practices and popular piety. Many of these records have not been used extensively in the historiography and have the potential to offer deeper insight into this period.

It is our intention to create a network of scholars and postgraduates researching the Reformation using our documents, and to develop the profile of The National Archives as a hub for Reformation studies. The conference will form a key part of the network, bringing together current research on the Reformation and drawing on the holdings of The National Archives.”

Abstracts for papers are due April 30. Please see the cfp poster for more information.

Cfp: The Fifteenth Century Conference 2017, including sessions in honour of Margaret Aston

The 38th Fifteenth Century Conference will be held at the University of Essex, Colchester
Thursday 31st August to Saturday 2nd September 2017.

The conference, which has met in most years since 1970, will bring together established as well as younger scholars of all aspects of fifteenth-century studies. We invite proposals for papers showcasing all aspects of current research into the fifteenth century and new trends in the field, relating to both England and the wider world, and of all disciplinary backgrounds.

In honour of Margaret Aston (1932-2014), we propose to include a stream of sessions focusing upon the religious history of the long fifteenth century. We particularly invite papers on subjects such as heresy and non-conformity, martyrdom, and iconoclasm, as well as pre-Reformation and Reformation religion in a broader sense.
Contributions from current research students are especially welcome. Papers should normally be of 20 minutes; additional time will be allowed for discussion. Subject to peer review, papers may be published in Boydell & Brewer’s series The Fifteenth Century.

To propose a paper please submit a title and short abstract (no more than 300 words) by email no later than Friday 28th April 2017. Contact: Dr Justin Colson (jcolson [at] essex [dot] ac [dot] uk) and Dr Tom Freeman (tfreeman [at] essex [dot] ac [dot] uk)

The conference will be held at the Colchester Campus of the University of Essex, located in the beautiful grounds of Wivenhoe House, around 60 minutes from central London. The conference will take advantage of the many medieval features of Colchester, including an exclusive evening private view and wine reception at the newly refurbished Colchester Castle museum, the largest Norman keep in Britain, constructed upon the foundations of the Roman temple of Claudius. Tours will include the Red Lion, the Duke of Norfolk’s fifteenth century townhouse; the gatehouse of St John’s Abbey; the ruins of St Botolph’s Priory, and eight surviving medieval parish churches.

Conference: Studying the Arts in Medieval Bohemia

On 8-9 December, the Institute of Philosophy at the Czech Academy of Sciences will hold a conference relevant to Wyclif’s reception in Bohemia:

Studying the Arts in Medieval Bohemia: Production, Reception and Transmission of Knowledge at the Arts Faculty of Prague University in the Middle Ages

More information and the schedule of presentations can be found here.

Conference: Before and After Wyclif

The Università degli Studi di Milano hosted “Before and After Wyclif: Sources and Textual Influences” on 12-13 September 2016.


The conference aims to “enhance our understanding of Wyclif’s thought and his place within his contemporary intellectual milieu from the standpoint of textual dependence and/or influence.”

More information, including a list of speakers, can be found here.

CFP: Fourth Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Saint Louis University

The Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies provides a convenient summer venue in North America for scholars in all disciplines to present papers, organize sessions, participate in roundtables, and engage in interdisciplinary discussion. The goal of the symposium is to promote serious scholarly investigation of the medieval and early modern worlds.

We invite proposals for papers, sessions, and roundtables on all topics and in all disciplines of medieval and early modern studies. Proposals from learned societies and scholarly associations are particularly welcome. The deadline for proposals submissions is December 31.

The plenary speakers for this year will be Barbara Newman, of Northwestern University, and Teofilo Ruiz, of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Symposium is held on the beautiful midtown campus of Saint Louis University, hosted by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. On-campus housing options include affordable, air-conditioned apartments and a luxurious boutique hotel. Inexpensive dorm meal plans are available.

All sessions take place in state-of-the-art classrooms and auditoriums with complete audiovisual facilities. All sessions, events, meals, and housing are located within easy walking distance of each other. A rich variety of restaurants, bars, and cultural venues are also only a short walk away.

During their stay, participants are welcome to utilize the Vatican Film Library as well as the rare book and manuscript collections of the nearby Pius XII Library. Those interested in using the Vatican Film library, should contact Susan L’Engle (lengles [at] slu [dot] edu) by email or phone at 314-977-3090. Participants may also use the library’s regular collections, which are especially strong in medieval and early modern studies.

All sessions are 90 minutes long. A variety of session formats are welcome. Preference will be given to organized sessions that involve participants from multiple institutions.

To register, follow this link:

CFP: Kalamazoo, 2016

The Lollard Society will sponsor two sessions at the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI (May 12-15, 2016):

1. What Do We Mean by Devotion?
In scholarship on later medieval religiosity, the terms “devotion” and “devotional” can signal a wide range of dispositions, behaviors, teachings, and textual forms: just what do we mean by this term? For this panel, we seek papers that explore the variety of external behaviors and internal states we might consider devotional. Questions papers might engage with include, but are not limited to: What are the scope and limits of this terminology? How does devotion relate to form, genre, emotion, cognition, contemplation, or theology? Papers might also ask how devotion meaningfully differs from or overlaps with pastoral instruction, guidance for right living, examination of conscience, or communal ritual. Likewise, they might explore to what extent manuscript contexts determine how we categorize religious texts. We welcome papers addressing the texts, codices, and experiences of lay people or clerics, whether dissenters, reformers, or more mainstream Christians.

2. Lollardy and Literature
As a part of the so-called “religious turn,” the study of lollardy (or Wycliffism) in Middle English literature has flourished over the past two decades. This panel aims to take stock of what such scholarship has achieved and to identify directions for future research. Do we read Chaucer, Langland, Hoccleve, or Lydgate differently in light of lollard studies? If we don’t, should we? What place do lollard texts hold in the corpus of Middle English literature or within English literature curricula? How do we better understand anticlerical, antifraternal, or other dissenting discourses within English literary history? Alternatively, how might emphasis on lollardy distort the literary landscape, such that we become too prone to “smelle a loller in the wind”? We welcome discussion of the assumptions, methods, and research questions that shape our understanding of dissent, reform, or heterodox belief in Middle English literature.

Please send your abstract (approx. 200 words) and a completed Participant Information Form to Mary Raschko (raschkml[at]whitman[dot]edu) no later than September 15, 2015.

CFP: Wyclif and the Realist Tradition

A two-day workshop on ‘Wyclif and the Realist Tradition in 14th-Century Logic’ will be held at the University of St. Andrews on 16-17 May 2015. Proposals should be submitted by 12 January.

Historians of logic have known for decades that the 14th century was a tremendously productive period in the Latin West. As far as the relationship between logic and metaphysics is concerned, however, research has tended to focus on the nominalist tradition associated with Ockham and Buridan. The aim of this workshop is to redress the balance a little by focussing instead on the realist tradition that spans the 14th century. We have singled out for special mention the influential figure of John Wyclif, whose Logic is currently being re-edited here at St Andrews, but we welcome contributions involving other figures from Walter Burley to Paul of Venice.

Each accepted paper will standardly be allocated an hour including time for discussion. Authors of accepted papers will be provided with meals during the conference and overnight accommodation for three nights. Please submit abstracts of around 250 words to the organizers Mark Thakkar (mnat [at] st-andrews [dot] ac [dot] uk) and Stephen Read by Monday 12 January 2015. They will notify you of the outcome by the end of January.

The list of participants currently includes Jenny Ashworth, Laurent Cesalli, Alessandro Conti, and Sara Uckelman, and we gratefully acknowledge the support of the Scots Philosophical Association.

Further details will be made available in due course on the website:

Two New Monographs

If they are not already on your shelf, be sure to check out these two exciting new books:

WB Art         Feeling Like Saints

Kennedy, Kathleen E. The Courtly and Commercial Art of the Wycliffite Bible. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. [From the publisher: “The Courtly and Commercial Art of the Wycliffite Bible examines the illuminations of the first complete translation of the Bible into English and situates this art within networks of artists catering to bourgeois and noble clientele in both London and the provinces from the late fourteenth century into the early sixteenth century.]

Somerset, Fiona. Feeling Like Saints: Lollard Writings after Wyclif. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014. [From the publisher: “While lollardy has attracted much attention in recent years, much of what we think we know about this English religious movement is based on records of heresy trials and anti-lollard chroniclers. In Feeling Like Saints, Fiona Somerset demonstrates that this approach has limitations. A better basis is the five hundred or so manuscript books from the period (1375–1530) containing materials translated, composed, or adapted by lollard writers themselves. These writings provide rich evidence for how lollard writers collaborated with one another and with their readers to produce a distinctive religious identity based around structures of feeling.]

Recent Publications: Secondary Sources

This installment features essays from After Arundel: Religious Writing in Fifteenth-Century England, edited by Vincent Gillespie and Kantik Ghosh, as well as other recently published articles and book chapters. Please contact Mary Raschko regarding any changes that should be made to the material below or to request inclusion of a secondary source in the next update.

Barr, Helen. “‘This Holy Tyme’: Present Sense in the Digby Lyrics.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 307-323. [Barr argues that the poet’s use of the present tense in the Digby Lyrics projects a unified, ethical kingdom that contrasts with “the divisions, factions, and unrest following the deposition of Richard II and the threats to the institutional church posed by the challenges of the Lollards.”]

Bradley, Christopher G. “Censorship and Cultural Continuity: Love’s Mirror, The Pore Caitif, and Religious Experience Before and After Arundel.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 115-132. [Bradley argues for more attention to religious experience in the study of vernacular theology and models such study with his comparative reading of Love’s Mirror and the Pore Caitif. He emphasizes continuities in the two works’ pastoral aims, countering Nicholas Watson’s assertion that the two works address lay readers in contrasting ways.]

—. “The Letter of Richard Wyche: An Interrogation Narrative.” PMLA 127.3 (2012): 626-642. [Bradley translates the only surviving copy of the Letter of Richard Wyche from Latin into modern English. This edition includes a brief introduction describing the Wycliffite heresy as well as the context of Wyche’s imprisonment and interrogation that he recounts in the letter.]

Catto, Jeremy. “After Arundel: The Closing or the Opening of the English Mind?” Gillespie and Ghosh, 43-54.
[Refuting the claim that Arundel’s Constitutions muted England’s intellectual culture in the fifteenth century, Catto argues that “there is abundant evidence of vitality on the part of the educated laity and their largely monastic suppliers of spiritual instruction.” He considers the shift away from speculative theology in light of a larger continental tradition and discusses Parisian influences on Lancastrian literature.]

Cole, Andrew. “Staging Advice in Oxford, New College, MS 288: On Thomas Chaundler and Thomas Bekynton.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 245-263. [The essay describes a shift in the fifteenth century from the pastoral to the secular in the advice offered to bishops, creating “what might be called in some instances a ‘mirror for bishops’ tradition.” Cole addresses Wycliffite advice literature, claiming that it combines pastoral and secular advice traditions. More broadly, however, he argues that study of ecclesiastical humanism raises questions about the relevance of “the Wycliffite paradigm” in the latter half of the fifteenth century.]

Gillespie, Vincent. “Chichele’s Church: Vernacular Theology in England after Thomas Arundel.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 3-42. [Gillespie argues that the recent focus on Arundel’s Constitutions has obscured the influence of the Council of Konstanz on the fifteenth-century English church. In describing that influence, he asserts that intellectuals after Arundel’s time shared an interest in reform with the earlier followers of Wyclif at Oxford, although the two groups disagreed on the means for that reform. He explains that vernacular religious literature had continental influences and contends that, while it was often interested in liturgy and orthodox reform, it was still “imaginative and inventive.”]

Hill, Bracy V. “Apocalyptic Lollards? The Conservative Use of the Book of Daniel in English Wycliffite Sermons.” Church History and Religious Culture 90.1 (2010): 1-23. [From the article abstract: “This study asserts that the Middle English Wycliffite sermons’ focus upon the Old Testament prophetic literature as a source of figures fulfilled in the New Testament, the reluctance of the politically conservative Wycliffite movement to embrace a radical apocalyptic vision, and the overriding concern of Lollard hermeneuts to acquire certitude resulted in the limited use of the book of Daniel in Wycliffite sermonic literature.”]

Hornbeck, J. Patrick. “‘A Prophane or Hethyn Thing’: English Lollards on Baptism and Confirmation.” Mediaeval Studies 74 (2012): 283-306. [This article surveys Wyclif’s writings about sacraments of initiation, especially focusing on the Trialogus, as well as trial court records of lollards that addressed baptism and, more rarely, confirmation. Hornbeck concludes that critiques of these sacraments were complex and diverse, with lollard positions varying considerably from those articulated by Wyclif.]

Hudson, Anne. “So Far and Yet So Near.” Preaching the Word in Manuscript and in Print in Late Medieval England: Essays in Honour of Susan Powell. Ed. Martha W. Driver and Veronica O’Mara. Turnhout: Brepols, 2013. 49-62. [Demonstrating that a geographically remote manuscript may contain a superior text to those remaining in England, Hudson explains why two Bohemian copies of Wyclif’s sermons provide a more accurate witness than the Cambridge, Trinity College manuscript that is the basis for the Wyclif Society’s late nineteenth century edition. The relevant manuscripts are Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.16.2 and Wolfenbüttel Herzog August Bibliothek MSS Helmstedt 306 and 565.]

Johnson, Ian. “Vernacular Theology/Theological Vernacular: A Game of Two Halves?” Gillespie and Ghosh, 73-88.
[The essay begins by considering the limitations of the terms “vernacular theology” and proposing that a rearrangement of these terms to the “theological vernacular” may better account for the fluidity and performative nature of this discourse. Johnson then presents evidence of “complexity, latitude, possibility, discretion, spiritual ambition, and choice” in select fifteenth-century manuscripts with English translations of the Meditationes vitae Christi, in an effort to show that vernacular theology persisted after Arundel.]

Karáth, Tamás. “Vernacular Authority and the Rhetoric of Sciences in Pecock’s The Folewer to the Donet and in The Court of Sapience.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 285-303. [With the aim to explore continuities in a genre before and after Arundel’s Constitutions, Karáth analyzes how Pecock and an anonymous author draw on previous discourses pertaining to the classifications of the sciences and highlights how each author describes the limitations or dangers of composing such works in English.]

Kuczynski, Michael. “An Unpublished Lollard Psalms Catena in Huntington Library MS HM 501.” Journal of the Early Book Society 13 (2010): 95-138.
[The essay discusses Lollard interest in the Psalter, the medieval genre known as the catena, and the particular thematic emphases of this abbreviated Psalter that rearranges excerpts from 23 Psalms. Kuczynski includes a critical edition of the Lollard catena that highlights “the rhetorical structures and argumentative patterns implicit in the text.”]

Lahey, Stephen. “Richard FitzRalph and John Wyclif: Untangling Armachanus from the Wycliffites.” Richard FitzRalph: His Life, Times and Thought. Ed. Michael W. Dunne and Simon Nolan. 204-213. [Lahey aims to show that FitzRalph’s and Wyclif’s antifraternalism was a point of contrast for the two, not something they held in common. He grounds this argument in each theologian’s views on the authority of scripture and then analyzes their arguments against the friars, describing FitzRalph as opposed to particular practices and Wyclif as fundamentally antisectarian. Lahey also emphasizes, however, how much Wyclif had in common with friars.]

Lawton, David. “Voice after Arundel.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 133-151. [In this essay, Lawton asks “what are the private consequences of major public change?” and argues that studying voice can reveal nuanced responses to phenomena like Arundel’s Constitutions. He draws attention to how authors play with Boethian, Psalmic, and Pauline voices in early fifteenth-century literature.]

Lepine, David. “‘Let Them Praise Him in Church’: Orthodox Reform at Salisbury Cathedral in the First Half of the Fifteenth-Century.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 167-185. [Lepine describes reform efforts at Salisbury Cathedral in the late fourteenth century and connects those developments to national reform efforts in the fifteenth century. Changes in personnel lead to more emphasis on learning and preaching, with figures like Ullerston and Chichele becoming closely connected to the cathedral in the fifteenth century. Lepine describes the promotion of the Sarum Use as an effort to counter heresy and cites Lollard criticisms of it.]

Lewis, Anna. “Rethinking the Lollardy of the Lucidarie: The Middle English Version of the Elucidarium and Religious Thought in Late Medieval England.” Florilegium 27 (2011): 209-236. [Lewis argues that the Middle English adaptation of Honorius Augustodunensis’ Elucidarium should not be considered Lollard. Rather, it reflects “theological mobility” as it engages with multiple points of view. The article discusses passages related to the Eucharist, the papacy, and antichrist as well as evidence from the two relevant manuscripts (Cambridge, St. John’s College, G.25 and Cambridge University Library An appendix gives a partial transcription from the St. John’s manuscript.]

Lindenbaum, Sheila. “London after Arundel: Learned Rectors and the Strategies of Orthodox Reform.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 187-208. [Lindenbaum describes the pastoral theology of a cohort of university graduates who became rectors in London during the 1430s. She characterizes their work as an effort to reform the London clergy and thereby stem the spread of heresy and anticlericalism. The essay highlights three books owned by Robert Whyte, Walter Crome, and Robert Rooke. Ultimately, Lindebaum argues that “far from disengaging from the challenges of theology, the London rectors were bravely redefining what theology should be.”]

Russell, Alexander. “Conciliarism and Heresy in England.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 155-165. [To understand Gascoigne’s pessimism about reform, Russell asks whether “the English ever placed their hopes in the efficacy of the general council as a reforming body.” Focusing primarily on Netter’s Doctrinale, Russell claims that conciliarism too closely paralleled Wyclif’s (and Wycliffite’s) critiques of the papacy to have taken hold in England.]

Sargent, Michael G. “Censorship or Cultural Change? Reformation and Renaissance in the Spirituality of Late Medieval England.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 55-72.
[With reference to Stephen J. Gould’s theory of biological evolution, as well as to the work of queer theorists Glenn Burger and Steven Kruger, Sargent applies a “preposterous” theory of history to late medieval spirituality, drawing attention to the complexity and diversity that defies binaristic descriptions of orthodoxy and heterodoxy.]

Simpson, James. “Orthodoxy’s Image Trouble: Images In and After Arundel’s Constitutions.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 91-113. [Simpson introduces a critique of images in Capgrave’s Life of St. Katherine as an occasion to investigate overlapping sentiments about images in orthodox and heterodox texts. With reference to Lollard writings and trial records as well as Dives and Pauper, Lydgate’s Pilgrimage of the Life of Man, and Pecock’s Repressor, he argues that “orthodoxy shares with heterodoxy a distrust of illiterate reception of images.”]

Thompson, John J. “Bagpipes and Patterns of Conformity in Late Medieval England.” Everyday Objects: Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture and its Meanings. Ed. Tara Hamling and Catherin Richardson. Farnham: Ashgate, 2010. 221-230. [This essay features analysis of an image in the royal presentation copy of Roger Dymok’s Liber contra duodecim errors et hereses Lollardorum that, according to Thompson, portrays Lollards as a threat to royal power. The author also briefly discusses William Thorpe’s references to bagpipes in his criticism of pilgrimage.]

Voaden, Rosalynn. “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Margery Kempe as Underground Preacher.” Romance and Rhetoric: Essays in Honour of Dhira B. Mahoney. Ed. Georgiana Donavin and Anita Obermeier. Turnhout: Brepols, 2010. 109-121. [Voaden describes Margery Kempe’s travels around England as an “underground preaching tour.” In the midst of making her argument, she discusses the association of female preaching with Lollardy as well as Thomas Netter’s disapproval of Kempe.]

Wakelin, Daniel. “Religion, Humanism, and Humanity: Chaundler’s Dialogues and the Winchester Secretum.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 225-244. [Wakelin explores the relationship between studia humanitatis and pastoral and theological thought in fifteenth century England. Although many associate humanism with the Reformation in the sixteenth century, Wakelin notes that some who read classical texts in the fifteenth centuries also “managed to combine humanist interests with attacks on heresy.”]

Westphall, Allan F. “Reconstructing the Mixed Life in Reginald Pecock’s Reule of Crysten Religioun.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 267-284. [Westphall characterizes Pecock’s criticisms of Lollardy in The Repressor as “just one part, and possibly a minor part, of a coherent and determined attempt to re-imagine a Christian community founded on ideas of critical intellectualism and lay-clerical exchange. Turning to the lesser-studied Reule of Crysten Religioun, he describes how Pecock’s concept of the “hool lijf” extends yet differs from the “mixed life” concept promoted by Walter Hilton.]

Willoughby, James. “Common Libraries in Fifteenth-Century England: An Episcopal Benefaction.” Gillespie and Ghosh, 209-222. [Willoughby discusses the rare “public” library in late medieval England, describing their foundation in London, Worcester, Bristol, and Norwich. He suggests their roots may stretch back to a cluster of scholars at Oriel College and characterizes the libraries as “institutions of reform, with a concern for right teaching at their core.”]