The Zwingli Film: My Review

The participants in the Zwingli Conference were invited to view the film tonight and we also had the opportunity of asking questions of and interacting with the director, Stefan Haupt.

The cinematography was spectacular.  The score was wonderful and not overpowering or overwhelming.  The acting was superb. Worth noting in particular in the film’s acting are the complexity of Zwingli as man both strong and weak and the astonishing amount he was able to achieve in but 12 short years.  Also admirable were the at times earthy language (16th century Zurich-er could use very cheeky language) utilized and the space allowed the viewer to ‘read between the lines’ in various scenes.  Maximilian Simonischek, and Sarah Sophia Meyer were just brilliant as Huldrych and Anna.  The portrayal of both was really on the mark historically speaking.  Zwingli was shown to be both a powerful speaker and a forceful presence.   

The other characters were also well portrayed, especially Leo Jud and Konrad Hoffmann.

The costumes and scenery were brilliantly done and the story flowed with a great coherence in spite of the fact that, of necessity, many events from Zwingli’s life were overlooked.

There were but two historically questionable matters: the idea that Zwingli had a child with the Einsiedeln strumpet and the portrayal of the drowning of Felix Manz who was tossed into the water without any weight tied to himself.  But these are exceedingly minor things and the film loses not a bit of its power.

Of the many films made on topics or persons from the 16th century, particularly about Luther, this is the best, the most accurate, and the most moving.  No ‘Bible film’, actually, has ever come close to the real-to-life portrayal of its subject matter like this film has.

Go see it when you can.

Zwingli and the Anabaptists in the Early Days

One of the Baptists, Rudolph Thomann of Zollicon, examined by the Council of Zurich on February 7, 1525, thus described the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as observed in the Zollicon gatherings:

“He had eaten the Lord’s Supper with the old assistant (Brötli?), and him from Witikon (Röubli), and had invited them into his house.… There many had assembled so that the apartment was full; there was much speaking and long readings. Then stood up Hans Bruggbach of Zumicon, weeping and crying out that he was a great sinner and asking all present to pray God for him. Whereupon Blaurock asked him if he desired the grace of God and he said ‘Yes.’ Manz then arose and said, ‘Who will hinder me from baptising him?’ Blaurock answered, ‘No one.’ So Manz took a dipper of water and baptised him in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Jacob Hottinger arose and desired baptism; and Felix Manz baptised him also.… Seeing the loaf on the table, Blaurock said: ‘Whoever believes that God has redeemed him with His death and rosy-coloured blood, comes and eats with me from this loaf and drinks with me from this wine.’ Then each one present ate and drank as invited.”

Weekly debates with the Baptists were held in Zurich during March and one especially on March 20, 1525. But they only widened the breach, and the punishment of banishment which the Council inflicted for rebaptism did not lessen the numbers of the Baptists. Yet from the Council’s point of view the punishment was defensible as the Baptists were enemies of the standing order.

Among those openly to adhere to the Baptists was the famous theologian Balthasar Hubmaier. He quickly became their leading man, and it was with him that Zwingli was engaged in hot debate—all the more painful because Hubmaier had been a bosom friend.

The fight was now on and it was bitterly waged. But no space can be given to it. Both sides went over the now well-worn arguments and were as far apart as ever. The action of the Zurich authorities was determined by practical considerations. They could not tolerate a body of schismatics who denounced Zwingli and themselves. If there were to be any abuse let Zwingli and them have it all to themselves.

The conflict got ugly.  Very ugly, very fast.  It is, however, my view that had the rebaptizers simply allowed Zwingli his measured pace and careful reformational development he would have come to the same conclusion as they.  But pushing him into a corner was the mistake they made.

Oh those Precocious Homeschooled Kids

They solve the hardest theological problems whilst mommy combs their hair!

According to the Brandt family moments ago, 17-year-old homeschooler Jake Brandt has solved the greatest mystery known to man.

Brandt, who had just gotten out of the shower, reportedly worked out and solved the mystery of the Holy Trinity while his mother Cherry Brandt worked, furiously, to comb down a few stubborn hairs on the back of his head.

“Funny thing is, he’s not even the smartest kid on the block,” Cherry Brandt told EOTT. “The Jacobs down the street also homeschool, and their son Nathan last week was able to make sense of an entire G.K. Chesterton article after just one read through.”

Cherry Brandt credits her son’s intelligence on the power of prayer, as well as the importance of not allowing him to go near “that sorry excuse for a Catholic school down the road.”