Amica Exegesis

id est: expositio eucharistiae negocii ad Martinum Lutherum, by Huldrych Zwingli, was published on the 28th of February, 1527.  It was the last time there was any semblance of friendliness between the two.  The breach was insurmountable, in spite of later efforts to overcome the gulf.

You can read the whole book here.  In it, Zwingli shows the proper understanding of the Lord’s Supper in opposition to the magical view of the Catholics and the ridiculous view of the Lutherans.

Zwingli’s closing salvo is fantastic- writing in conclusion to Luther that the Supper is ‘sign’, and absolving him (for his sinful misrepresentation of the supper!).

Hoc est externums signum, quod mentem certam reddit, non carmen: “Ego te absolvo”.

Luther’s reaction was – naturally – quite negative and downright hostile.  Apparently he didn’t want to be forgiven his error.

8 thoughts on “Amica Exegesis

  1. irishanglican

    Whatever Luther’s Eucharistic position was, it was certainly not heretical. And in fact, it was a position seeking to grapple with a certain mystery in and of the sacraments and the sacramental. As we can see in the early Church Fathers, to Augustine, etc. It is indeed a very profound and real mystery!

    Zwingli’s, “symbolic” view does not quite make it either, as Calvin himself knew. Thus perhaps the classic Anglican position gets closer to the mystery, as both ‘Sign & Seal’. We can also see this in the view of Peter Martyr Vermigli works: “WE say with Augustine that the sacramental symbols are visible words.”

    If one would like to see a work and position that is fully Evangelical, but seeks something “catholic”, it would be P.T. Forsth’s book: The Church & The Sacraments. As Forsth could see the Sacraments were more than “bread, wine and water”, etc. But also have to do with the Incarnate Church, in unity and certain freedom, “In Christ”. “The Sacraments – or let us use the wider term, the means of grace, which include the Word – draw all their meaning from their connection with Christ’s vocation. They serve and convey not His person alone but His person as consummated in His saving work.”


  2. irishanglican

    Do you think Zwingli wanted to express the sense of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, thru symbol to sign? Are they different? or is it just memorial and looking back?


  3. irishanglican

    For the Eucharist, the idea of a “memorial” which only implies the mind in thinking about something that happened in the past does not seem adequate? The sacrament as “memorial” seems to require a more total worship, as even Luke 24:30-31 seems to imply, etc.


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