The Wycliffe New Testament (1388): an edition in modern spelling, with an introduction, the original prologues and the Epistle to the Laodiceans
Anyone who is unfamiliar with the history of the English Bible may assume that John Wycliffe actually translated the Bible that is named after him. He didn't, although he probably helped in the production of the first attempt. It was translated by followers of his, and the text of this volume, known as Wycliffe B, appeared in 1388, four years after Wycliffe's death. But John Wycliffe's preaching and writing certainly inspired the translating of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English, and the impact of the translation was so great that within a decade of publication a law was passed condemning anyone caught reading it to death.
Despite this, the Wycliffe Bible was read by thousands, and even after the advent of printing, handwritten copies of it were still cherished and read. What caused it to fall into disuse was not just its high cost compared to the new printed Bibles, but the great changes in the English language from 1400 onwards. The Victorians produced an old-spelling edition of it under Forshall and Madden in 1850, but the four volumes are a daunting prospect for the modern reader, even when a copy may be found. Now The British Library, in association with the Tyndale Society, is pleased to present an affordable, compact edition of the Wycliffe New Testament, rendered into modern spelling and punctuation, so that readers can enjoy reading this remarkable text for themselves.