Zwingli’s Mentor- Thomas Wyttenbach

wyttenbachWyttenbach was born at Biel, or Bienne, sixty miles west by south of Zurich, in 1472, and died there in 1526. In 1496 he was matriculated at Tuebingen, made M.A. there in 1500. In Basel he lectured from 1505 to 1507, when he became people’s priest in Biel and was to the rest of his days identified with that place.

He showed his independence and his defiance of ecclesiastical authority by marrying in 1524, and from that time on his troubles were incessant. He was deprived of his position, and just when he had increased need of money he found himself without any, and till the end of his days was miserably poor. But though in dire need he pleaded the case of spiritual freedom and kept up a gallant fight. His exertions won over many to the Reformation, and while he lay dying his heart was gladdened by the thought that his beloved native city was about to be numbered with the other Reformed cities of Switzerland.

He and Zwingli were frequent correspondents, yet only one letter has been preserved, viz., a long one by Zwingli on the Eucharist, dated June 15, 1523 (vii., 297–300). It is addressed “to his dear preceptor and brother in Christ at Biel.” Zwingli sends him a greeting as “his dear preceptor” in a letter to Haller, December 29, 1521 (vii., 187).