Hus was greatly influenced by the writings of Wycliffe. While Hus was rector, dozens of Wycliffe's ideas were branded heretical by the church authorities. That didn't frighten Hus away from Wycliffe's works, and he translated Wycliffe's Trialogus into Czech. The Trialogus was a conversation between three individuals: Alithia (Truth) and Pseudis (Falsehood), with Phronesis (Wisdom, the voice used by Wycliffe to present his answers to sticky doctrinal questions). Among the many points discussed in the work, Wycliffe challenged the church's teaching on transubstantiation (previously mentioned here), the idea that the consecrated bread and wine at Mass are converted to the body and blood of Christ. Wycliffe's disagreement with the church on this was based on his logic that bread and body must still both exist, and that they cannot simultaneously occupy the same place.*
It signifies, [...] one and the same - as though, for instance, he should make the person of Peter to be one with Paul... For if A is identical with B, then both of them remain; since a thing which is destroyed is not made identical, but is annihilated, or ceases to be. And if both of them remain, then they differ as much as at first, and differ consequently in number, and so are not, in the sense given, the same...Hus shared these observations, and like Wycliffe began to preach against what he saw as the corruption and moral failings of the church hierarchy. In 1406, when some Bohemian students brought to Prague a eulogy for Wycliffe bearing the seal of Oxford University, Hus read it proudly from the pulpit. By this time, it was known that King Wenceslaus IV was tolerant of non-conformists. Pope Gregory XII, getting wind of all this, sent a stern warning about Wycliffe's heretical works and the king's attitude. The king and the University of Prague both stepped backed from the preaching of Wycliffe and Hus.
|Statue of Hus in Prague.|
[to be continued]
*I blame all that Oxford education.