A Day Full of Zwingli, Celebrating Zwingli’s Birth

01 Jan

First, what do you need to read in order to really know Zwingli (and actually know him- not like the pretenders who only know some snippet about him because that’s what they’ve heard from some silly Lutheran partisan or Wesleyan ignoramus)-


FOR A FULL BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ZWINGLI: FINSLER, GEORG. Zwingli-Bibliographie. Verzeichniss der gedruckten Schriften von und über Ulrich Zwingli. Zürich: Orell Füssli, 1897.


HULDREICH ZWINGLI’S WERKE. Erste vollständige Ausgabe durch Melchior Schuler und Joh. Schulthess. Zürich: Friedrich Schulthess, 1828–61. 8 vols. in 11 parts, with Supplement, 8vo.

The German writings: vol. i. (1522–March, 1524), 1828, pp. viii., 668; vol. ii., 1st part (1526–January, 1527), 1830, iv., 506; vol. ii., 2nd part (1522–July, 1526), 1822, viii., 531; vol. ii., 3rd part (1526–1531), 1841, iv., III. The Latin writings: vol. iii. (1521–1526), 1832, viii., 677; vol. iv. (1526 sqq.), 1841, iv., 307; vol. v., 1835, iv., 788; vol. vi., 1st part, 1836, 766; vol. vi., 2nd part, 1838, 340; vol. vii., 1830, viii., 580; vol. viii., 1842, iv., 715. Supplement by Georg Schulthess u. Gaspar Marthaler, 1861 (both German and Latin), iv., 74.

Vols, v., vi., parts 1 and 2, contain Zwingli’s commentaries, which are on Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Our Lord’s Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, James, Hebrews, and 1 John, all in Latin; vols. vii. and viii. contain the correspondence.

A new edition of the Complete Works is in preparation. It is greatly needed, although that now extant is worthy of the highest praise. It superseded the two previous editions, the first by Rudolf Gualther, Zwingli’s son-in-law, Zürich: Froschauer, 1545, 4 vols., 4to; the second is a reprint, Zürich: Froschauer, 1581, 4 vols., 4to.


M. Huldreich Zwingli’s sämmtliche Schriften im Auszuge. Zürich: Gessner, 1819. 2 vols., 8vo (pp. xxv., 555, 640).
Topically arranged by thorough Zwingli students. Very convenient to find out exactly what Zwingli said upon any theme, which the ample index enables one to do. The contents are entirely in a modern German translation of the original Latin and old Zurich German. A reprint with references to the Schuler and Schulthess edition of Zwingli mentioned above would be a worthy undertaking.

BAUR, AUGUST. Zwinglis Theologie. Ihr Werden und ihr System. Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1885–89. 2 vols., 8vo (pp. viii., 543; ix., 864).
The classic work on Zwingli’s theology.


Archiv für die schkweizerischen Reformationsgeschichte. Herausgegeben auf Veranstaltung des schweizerischen Piusvereins durch die Direction: Graf Theodor Scherer-Boccard, Friedrich Fiala, Peter Bannwart. Freiburg im Br.: Herder, 1868–75. 3 vols., 8vo (pp. lxxvi., 856; vi., 557; vi., 693).
These volumes tell the story from the Roman Catholic side.

BULLINGER, HEINRICH. Reformationsgeschichte nach dem Autographon. Herausgegeben auf Veranstaltung der vaterländisch-historischen Gesellschaft in Zürich von J. J. Hottinger und H. H. Vögeli. Frauenfeld: Ch. Beyel, 1838–40. 3 vols., 8vo (pp. xix., 446; viii., 404; viii., 371).  Bullinger was Zwingli’s successor; an honest man and a diligent collector of authentic material. He wrote in the Zurich Swiss German, which has to be learnt by those familiar only with the modern High German.

CHRISTOFFEL, RAGET. Huldreich Zwingli. Leben und ausgewählte Schriften. Elberfeld: R. L. Friderichs, 1857. 8vo (pp. xiv., 414; writings, 351).  The same translated by John Cochran: Zwingli; or, The Rise of the Reformation in Switzerland. A life of the Reformer, with some notices of his time and contemporaries, by R. Christoffel, Pastor of the Reformed Church, Wintersingen, Switzerland. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1858. 8vo (pp. vii., 461).  The translation omits entirely the selected writings of Zwingli, but otherwise is eminently satisfactory. The book itself is topically arranged, and is entirely reliable, but Christoffel gives no references, and so only one familiar with the writings of Zwingli knows whence his numerous and judicious quotations come. Christoffel made the transfusions of Zwingli’s treatises into modern High German, referred to below, and in the notes in this book.

EGLI, EMIL. Actensammlung zur Geschichte der Zürcher Reformation in den Jahren 1519–1533. Mit Unterstützung der Behörden von Canton und Stadt Zürich. Zürich: J. Schabelitz, 1879. 8vo (pp. viii., 947).  It is a pity that this book is so scarce. It should be reprinted. It collects innumerable items of great interest to the Zwingli student in the very language of the time, and presents a picture of Zurich life of all kinds by contemporaries. Its composition was a gigantic labour, only possible to youth, enthusiasm, and indefatigable, intelligent industry.

MOERIKOFER, JOHANN CASPAR. Ulrich Zwingli nach den urkundlichen Quellen. Leipzig: S. Herzel, 1867–69. Two parts, 8vo (pp. viii., 351; vi., 525). The author knew his subject thoroughly. His matter is arranged in short chapters, his references are mostly to manuscript sources, and singularly few are directly to Zwingli’s writings.

MYCONIUS, OSWALD. Vita Huldrici Zwinglii. This is the original life, very interesting but a mere sketch. The best edition is in the Vitæ quatuor Reformatorum [Luther by Melanchthon, Melanchthon by Camerarius, Zwingli by Myconius, and Calvin by Beza], edited by Neander, Berlin, 1841, pp. 14.

STAEHELIN, RUDOLF. Huldreich Zwingli. Sein Leben und Wirken, nach den Quellen dargestellt. Basel: Benno Schwabe, 1895–97. 2 vols., 8vo (pp. viii., 535; 540). The author, who died in 1900, was for many years Professor of Theology in the University of Basel and lectured upon Zwingli. The book has the calm strength of easy mastery of its materials. Only one thing detracts in the smallest degree from its usefulness to students of Zwingli,—the author frequently puts several references to the writings of Zwingli together at the bottom of the page in such a way that they are hard to separate. If these references could be assigned to the places where they properly belong, then Staehelin’s book would be in all respects beyond criticism. As it is, it will probably retain the first place among lives of Zwingli for years to come—at least until the appearance of that new edition of Zwingli’s Works so eagerly awaited.

STRICKLER, JOHANN. Actensammlung zur Schweizerischen Reformationsgeschichte in den Jahren 1521–1532 im Anschluss an die gleichzeitigen eidgenössischen Abschiede. Zürich: Meyer u. Zeller, 1878–84. 5 vols., 8vo.  Vol. i. (1521–1528), pp. vii., 724; vol. ii. (1529–1530), 819; vol. iii. (1531, Jan.–Oct. 11), 647; vol. iv. (1531, Oct. 11,–Dec., 1532), 736; vol. v. (1521–1532), 172, with bibliographical appendix, 81.  Here are presented the raw materials of history in the shape of documents of all descriptions, chronologically arranged, as in Egli. The labour of compiling these volumes must have been immense.

VÖGELIN, J. K., GEROLD MEYER VON KNONAU, and others. Historisch-geographischer Atlas der Schweiz in 15 Blättern. Zürich: F. Schulthess, 1868. 2nd ed., 1870. Folio.

VÖGELIN, SALOMON. Das alte Zürich. Zürich: Orell, Fues & Co., 1828. New ed., much enlarged, 1878–90. 2 vols., 8vo (pp. xvii., 671; viii., 788). Invaluable, but so peculiarly arranged that consultation is difficult.


Zwingliana. Mittheilungen zur Geschichte Zwinglis und der Reformation. Herausgegeben von der Vereinigung für das Zwinglimuseum in Zurich. Zürich, 1897 sqq.  Two parts a year, edited by that tireless Zwingli student and scholar, Professor Emil Egli. Every Zwingli student should subscribe to it.


Zeitgemässe Auswahl aus Huldreich Zwingli’s practischen Schriften. Aus dem Alt-Deutschen und Lateinischen in’s Schriftdeutsche übersetzt und mit den nothwendigsten geschichtlichen Erläuterungen versehen, von R. Christoff el, V.D.M. Zürich: Meyer u. Zeller, 1843–1846. 12 parts.

Translations of more or less complete selections into modern high German are given by R. Christoffel in the Appendix to his biography as mentioned above, and by C. Sigwart in the Appendix to his sketch of Zwingli (in Die vier Reformatoren, Stuttgart, 1862), pp. 336–406; of especial interest is the first Bernese sermon in 1528, pp. 381–405; the second Bernese sermon is translated by R. Nesselmann (Buck der Predigten, Elbing, 1858), pp. 689–692.

In old English translations appeared of Zwingli’s “Confession of Faith,” two translations (Zürich, March, 1543, and by Thomas Cotsforde, Geneva, 1555); of his “Pastor,” London, 1550; of his “Certain Precepts,” [which is the same as “The Christian Education of Truth “and “Eine kurze Unterweisung,” mentioned on previous pages] London, 1548; and “Short Pathway to the Right and True Understanding of the Holy and Sacred Scriptures,” [i. e., Zwingli’s sermon on the Word of God,] Worcester, 1550, translated by John Veron.1

There are several others more modern but these classics are indispensable for anyone interested in understanding Zwingli.  If readers are interested – I’m happy to send along some suggestions.

Reading Zwingli at first hand is now easier than ever before, simply by visiting the University of Zurich’s web page which contains his theological treatises and letters.  That, of course, is where everyone should start.  Zwingli’s theological treatises can be accessed here and his letters here.

1Jackson, S. M. (1901). Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (pp. xxi–xxvi).

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