Mack, Martin. “John Wycliffe’s Challenge to the Late Medieval Understanding of the Eucharist: Affirming the Reality of Christ’s Presence in Eucharistic Worship.” M. Div., Tyndale University, 2022.
John Wycliffe’s understanding of the real presence ignited a debate of mammoth proportions when he challenged the late medieval understanding of the Eucharist. Despite the magnitude of this debate, many accounts have minimized the importance of this challenge. Although Wycliffe believed in the paramount importance of the Sacrament of the Eucharist in the life of the church, he challenged the late medieval understanding of the Eucharist because he felt that it caused the people to worship the visible sign rather than the real presence of Christ in the Sacrament. Most late medieval worshippers only knew one theological understanding of Christ’s real presence, namely transubstantiation. Wycliffe contended that transubstantiation was a recent addition to
canon law that was founded neither on Scripture nor traditional canon law. Traditionally the Church previously had allowed for a variety of views regarding the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Wycliffe’s figurative view of the real presence provided worshippers an alternative understanding which incorporated a dialectic of presence and absence. The significance of Wycliffe’s polemic is seen in the many dialogues that were generated through this challenge. The vitality of this debate is evidenced by the rich variety of eucharistic understandings that were generated by this polemic. Wycliffe’s challenge is important because it centers attention on the reality of Christ’s presence in eucharistic worship.
Thesis (M. Div.)–Tyndale University, 2022
Table of Contents
Introduction -- John Wycliffe’s Theological Understanding of the Eucharist – The Implications of Labeling John Wycliffe a Heretic – Debate about Wycliffe’s Eucharistic theology Among Medieval Christian Communities -- Conclusion
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