Kritiker und Exegeten: Porträtskizzen zu vier Jahrhunderten alttestamentlicher Wissenschaft

Rudolf Smend presents many important representatives of the Old Testament studies. Thereby he places emphasis on the scholars and their group of persons, but also discusses the historical contexts and contextual factors of the schools of thought.  His goal is it to put the persons themselves as the most important factors of history into focus.

Martin Luther: Rebel in an Age of Upheaval

No other German has shaped the history of early-modern Europe more than Martin Luther.

In this comprehensive and balanced biography we see Luther as a rebel, but not as a lone hero; as a soldier in a mighty struggle for the universal reform of Christianity and its role in the world. The foundation of Protestantism changed the religious landscape of Europe, and subsequently the world, but the author chooses to show Luther not simply as a reformer, but as an individual.

In his study of the Wittenberg monk, Heinz Schilling – one of Germany’s leading social and political historians – gives the reader a rounded view of a difficult, contradictory character, who changed the world by virtue of his immense will.

Here’s an excerpt.

Leo Jud on the Anniversary of his Death

Leo Jud…

… was born in 1482, the son of a priest in Alsass, studied with Zwingli at Basle, and became his successor as priest at Einsiedeln, 1519, and his colleague and faithful assistant as minister of St. Peter’s in Zurich since 1523. He married in the first year of his pastorate at Zurich. His relation to Zwingli has been compared with the relation of Melanchthon to Luther. He aided Zwingli in the second disputation, in the controversy with the Anabaptists, and with Luther, edited and translated several of his writings, and taught Hebrew in the Carolinum.

Zwingli called him his “dear brother and faithful co-worker in the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He was called to succeed the Reformer after the catastrophe of Cappel; but he declined on account of his unfitness for administrative work, and recommended Bullinger, who was twenty years younger. He continued to preach and to teach till his death, and declined several calls to Wurtemberg and Basle.

He advocated strict discipline and a separation of religion from politics. He had a melodious voice, and was a singer, musician, and poet, but excelled chiefly as a translator into German and Latin.

He wrote a Latin and two German catechisms, and translated Thomas à Kempis’ Imitatio Christi, Augustin’s De Spiritu et Litera, the first Helvetic Confession, and other useful books into German, besides portions of the Bible. He prepared also a much esteemed Latin version of the Old Testament, which is considered his best work. He often consulted in it his colleagues and Michael Adam, a converted Jew. He did not live to see the completion, and left this to Bibliander and Pellican. It appeared in a handsome folio edition, 1543, with a preface by Pellican, and was several times reprinted.

He lived on a miserable salary with a large family, and yet helped to support the poor and entertained strangers, aided by his industrious and pious wife, known in Zurich as “Mutter Leuin.”

Four days before his death, June 19, 1542, he summoned his colleagues to his chamber, spoke of his career with great humility and gratitude to God, and recommended to them the care of the church and the completion of his Latin Bible. His death was lamented as a great loss by Bullinger and Calvin and the people of Zurich.  — Philip Schaff

The Prayer Which Opened the Daily Sessions of the Prophezei

Omnipotens sempiterne et misericors Deus, cuius verbum est lucerna pedibus nostris et lumen semitarum nostrarum, aperi et illumina mentes nostras ut oracula tua pure et sancte intelligamus et in illud quod recte intellexerimus transformemur, quo maiestati tuae nulla ex parte displiceamus: per Jesum Christum dominum nostrum. Amen.*
_________
*Written by Zwingli

The Birthday of the Prophezei

Under Zwingli’s leadership…

A theological college, called Carolinum, was established from the funds of the Great Minster, and opened June 19, 1525. It consisted of the collegium humanitatis, for the study of the ancient languages, philosophy and mathematics, and the Carolinum proper, for the study of the Holy Scriptures, which were explained in daily lectures, and popularized by the pastors for the benefit of the congregation. This was called prophesying (1 Cor. 14:1).  Zwingli wrote a tract on Christian education (1526).   He organized this school of the prophets, and explained in it several books of the Old Testament, according to the Septuagint. He recommended eminent scholars to professorships. Among the earliest teachers were Ceporin, Pellican, Myconius, Collin, Megander, and Bibliander. To Zwingli Zurich owes its theological and literary reputation. The Carolinum secured an educated ministry, and occupied an influential position in the development of theological science and literature till the nineteenth century, when it was superseded by the organization of a full university. — Philip Schaff