Časopis ARS 51 (2018) 1-2


Viklefovy teze a jejich revoluční potenciál


The main goal of this article is to demonstrate an inherent connection between Wycliffe´s metaphysical thought and his reform programme of the Church and society. First his metaphysical realism is discussed, since it leads to the emphasis of the role of the reason and to the conviction that truth is knowable (with certainty and adequation). However, human reason cannot reach the heights of the Divine reason and so we must depend on God’s authority in the matter of the highest truths, which means we must accept the truths revealed by God. This is what faith is in Wycliffe´s eyes. The main revelation of truth is the Biblical revelation in Jesus Christ. Hence, the Scripture is almost identical with Christ (regard the content) for Wycliffe. The Bible is the irrevocable standard for all things human, it is a description of the ideal human society and conditions that cannot be ameliorated in any way, because the Bible is the act of the Absolute and Perfect Truth. This has serious effects on Wycliffe’s ecclesiology. The Church of his time was far away from the small apocalyptical society of the New Testament he considered to be the ideal. For this reason, Wycliffe saw the contemporary Church as a symptom of the age of Antichrist, the lowest point of history that must be reversed. However, the salvation cannot come from within the Church, because not only the priests, but even the Pope are so corrupt that Wycliffe thinks of them as servants of the Devil, i.e. the antichrists. That is the reason why he turns to the secular rulers, since they should take care of the well-being of their land, and since no land can prosper if the local Church is rotten. This is the very spot where we can observe the revolutionary potential of Wycliffe´s thought – an almost compulsive need for Church reform based on a belief that the time of Apocalypse has come. Although Wycliffe himself refused the thought of a popular uprising, his philosophical system nevertheless justifies it – after all, when even the secular rulers are corrupt, who else remained to save the Church if not the third estate?