The School of Heretics

Academic Condemnation at the University of Oxford, 1277-1409

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Academic condemnation has long been recognized as an important issue in the history of universities and the history of medieval thought. Yet few studies have examined the phenomenon in serious detail. This work is the first book-length study of academic condemnations at Oxford. It explores every known case in detail, including several never examined before, and then considers the practice of condemnation as a whole. As such, it provides a context to see John Wyclif and the Oxford Lollards not as unique figures, but as targets of a practice a century old by 1377. It argues that condemnation did not happen purely for reasons of theological purity, but reflected social and institutional pressures within the university.
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Biographical Note

Andrew E. Larsen, Ph.D. (1998) in Medieval History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaches history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University. He has published numerous articles on heresy and academic condemnation in England.

Review Quotes

"...Andrew E. Larsen’s study is an excellent historical and doctrinal analysis of accusations of heresy leveled against various academicians related to the University of Oxford during the period in question.The author has carefully designated the parameters of his study so as to limit its scope and purview..."
Girard J. Etzkorn, The Catholic Historical Review, July 2013

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ...ix
Abbreviations ...xi

1. Introduction ...1
The Purpose of This Book ... 1
Concepts of Heresy ... 5
Pertinacity and Condemnation ...10
The Problem of Terminology ...12
The Process of Academic Condemnation at Paris ...14
The Treatment of Heresy outside the University...18

2. The Condemnation of 1277 ...25
Robert Kilwardby and the Background to the
Condemnation of 1277 ...26
Kilwardby’s Involvement ...31
The Condemnation Itself ...38
Conclusions ...40

3. The Condemnation of 1284 and the Condemnation of Richard Knapwell ...42
The Main Players ...42
The War of the Corrections ...45
The Condemnation of 1284 ...46
The Condemnation Itself ...48
The Case of Richard Knapwell ...57

4. The Condemnation of 1315 ...64
Oxford in the Early Fourteenth Century ...64
The Record of the Condemnation ...67
The Scholar Involved ...68
The Condemnation Process ...71
The Later History of the Propositions ...73

5. The Investigation into William of Ockham ...76
William of Ockham and John Lutterell ...76
Lutterell’s Removal from Offi ce ...78
Ockham at the Provincial Chapter ...83
Lutterell’s Denunciation of Ockham ...86
The Process at Avignon, in brief ...90

6. The Case of Friar John ...92
John Kedington ...92
Mendicant Privileges, Archbishop FitzRalph, and the Debate over Dominium ...94
The Events Leading to the Condemnation ...98
Kedington’s Appeal...100
The Punishment ...103

7. The Case of Uthred of Boldon and William Jordan ...109
Uthred of Boldon and William Jordan ...109
Uthred’s Th eology ...111
The Quarrel between Uthred and Jordan ...114
Archbishop Langham Intervenes ...118
The Condemnation ...120
Deeper Considerations ...124

8. John Wyclif ...127
Wyclif ’s History ...127
The Condemnation of a Franciscan ...129
The St Paul’s Trial ...131
The Attempted Condemnation of 1377 ...133
Barton’s Condemnation ...148
The Blackfriars Council ...164
Wyclif Goes Unpunished ...175

9. The Oxford Lollards ...177
The Main Figures ...177
The Emergence of Wyclif ’s Followers as a Group ...181
The Radical Sermons and the Controversy at Oxford ...182
The Second Session of the Blackfriars Council ...189
The Meeting at Totenhale ...193
The Third through Sixth Sessions of the Blackfriars Council ...195
The Seventh Session of the Blackfriars Council ...203
The Failed Condemnation of Crumpe and Stokes ...204
Causes of the Strife at Oxford ...207

10. The Condemnation of Henry Crumpe ...210
The First Condemnation of Henry Crumpe...210
Crumpe at Oxford ...212
The First Session at Stamford ...213
The Second Session at Stamford...217

11. The Condemnation of Richard Flemmyng ...222
Richard Flemmyng ...222
Arundel’s Constitutions ...223
The Condemnation of Flemmyng ...225
Flemmyng’s Appeals ...227
Conclusions ...230

12. The Authority of the University to Condemn Heresy ...232
The Chancellor’s Office and Powers ...234
Appeals from the Chancellor’s Court ...237
Punishments ...238
The Right of Condemnation for Heresy ...240
Formal Authority in the Individual Cases ...241
Archbishop Arundel and the University of Oxford ...250

13. Libertas inquirendi at Oxford ...254
The Debate over ‘Pelagiansim’ at Oxford ...256
Academic Freedom in Medieval Universities ...258
Responses to the Condemnations of 1277, 1284, and 1286 ...260
The Absence of Condemnation as Evidence for Libertas Inquirendi ...267
The Dynamics of Libertas Inquirendi ...268
Arundel’s Constitutions ...270

14. Non-Theological Factors in Academic Condemnation ...273
Inter-Order Tension as a Cause of Condemnation ...273
Other Political Issues ...280
The Dynamic of Condemnation ...282
Punishment ...284
The Role of Unanimity in Academic Condemnations ...287

15. A Closing Thought ...292

Appendix: Known Cases of Academic Condemnation at Oxford ...295

Bibliography ...301
Index ...313

Readership

Those interested in the history of universities, the history of philosophy and theology, as well as the history of heresy, John Wyclif, and the Lollards.

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