The Earliest known full translation that still exists in full is Wycliffe’s Bible completed directly from the Vulgate into Middle English. A total of 117 of these bibles were hand written by John Wycliffe between 1382 and 1392. Undeterred by the condemnation of formal church councils and demands to appear before the Pope, he continued his monumental work of translating the Bible so that every man, even the plough boy, might possess the Word of God in their own language.
John Wycliffe was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, and seminary professor at Oxford. He was an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century.
Wycliffe attacked the privileged status of the clergy, which was central to their powerful role in England. John Wycliffe’s statesmanship was remarkable by any standard. He rose to public prominence after boldly asserting that the King of England owed no financial tribute to the Pope. This helped to carry the tide in the English parliament for so ‘strange’ a notion.
There is further evidence that dragons were known for their howling. There is an intriguing Hebrew word found in Isaiah 13:21. The word “oach” is actually translated “dragouns” in the Wycliffe Bible of 1388. Other translators have translated it “ostriches,” “doleful creatures,” or “howling creatures.” It seems that this word doesn’t name a particular animal, but describes it as a “howler.” Wycliffe in the Middle Ages identified this howler with the dragon.
The Christian church tells of righteous and godly saints battling and vanquishing Satan in the form of dragons. The most celebrated of these was St. George the Dragon Slayer, who comes upon a town threatened by a terrible dragon. He rescues a fair maiden, protects himself with the sign of the cross, and slays the beast. The town’s citizens, impressed by St. George’s feat of faith and bravery, immediately convert to Christianity.
The King James Bible was translated in the 17th Century as the authoritative Bible of the Anglican Church. Because of the printing press it was then the only translation with legal sanction.
Leviathan — the massive monster described in detail in the Book of Job, chapter 41 — seems to describe a dragon in detail:
“I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs, its strength and its graceful form. Who can strip off its outer coat? Who can penetrate its double coat of armor? Who dares open the doors of its mouth, ringed about with fearsome teeth? Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted. Its snorting throws out flashes of light; its eyes are like the rays of dawn. Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds. Its breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from its mouth” (NIV).
Dr. Karl P.N. Shuker BSc PhD FRES FZS based in England is internationally recognised as a world expert in cryptozoology, as well as in animal mythology and allied subjects relating to wildlife anomalies and inexplicabilia. His work bring public attention to recently discovered or rediscovered species in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Dr. Karl Shuker shares his wealth of knowledge on:
Dragon dwellings: These magnificent beasts have been found in an astounding number of places. Dragons and their near relatives have found niches in every ecosystem on the planet — from the mountains of Greece to the forests of northern Europe to the volcanic plain of Mesoamerica to the river valleys of China — and have, as a consequence, become deeply embedded in human culture.
Dragon variety: Here are five main types of dragons, emerging from the floods or flames of history — the frightening Serpents, Wyverns, and Classical Dragons of the West; the Sky Dragons, including beneficent Chinese Dragons, Amphipteres, and winged New World species; the Neo-Dragons such as the Basilisk, Salamander, and the like; as well as dozens of varieties and subspecies, including orms, guivres, lindorms, and more.