Zwingli’s Writing Habits

Zwingli, writing to Myconius on August 26, 1522, thus candidly describes his literary methods:

“I am rough and impatient of the time necessary for condensing and polishing. You know that my mind is felicitous in nothing except invention, if indeed that is not the greatest infelicity which is either not willing or not able to adorn and polish and so render worthy of immortality what one has done in the way of invention. Yet when I imagine I have studied enough, a disgust at my own performance presently seizes me, and I feel such a loathing for what I have thus far written that reviewing it is likely to produce nausea.” — (VII., 218, 219.)*

Durus sum ac castigandi morę nimis impatiens et expoliendi. Ingenium nostrum nulla scis parte quam inventione fęlix esse, si modo ea non est summa infęlicitas, quę inveneris nolle vel non posse consilio iudicioque ornare, venustare cedroque digna reddere. Cęlo tamen studuisse dum sat putamus, capit nos mox fastidium nostri, ac quicquid hactenus scripsimus, ita mox fastidivimus, ut respectum forte fortuna nauseam  pariat.

Zwingli was always his own harshest critic.

*Samuel Macauley Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (Heroes of the Reformation; New York; London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons; Knickerbocker Press, 1901).

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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