#ICYMI – Zwingli to Bugenhagen

Bugenhagen had written Zwingli asking him to clarify his view of the ‘Lord’s Supper’ and on the 23rd of October in 1525 Zwingli obliged with his Responsio ad epistolam Ioannis Bugenhagii.

Peppered with Scriptural proofs, Zwingli shows Bugenhagen in meticulous detail why ‘hoc est’ in the celebration of the body of Christ in the Supper should be understood “significat”. ‘This signifies my body…’ etc.

Here’s a fun section:

Sic ergo didicimus, urgente nos rudium cura, qui non bene norunt, quid tropus significet, quomodo ista vox “est” debeat pro “significat” accipi. Videbam τροπικῶς dictum esse “hoc est corpus meum” [Luc. 22. 19], sed in qua voce tropus lateret, non videbam. Ibi dei munere factum est, ut duo quidam et pii et docti homines, quorum etiamnum tacebo nomina, ad Leonem nostrum et me conferendi de hoc argumento causa venirent; cumque nostram hac in re sententiam audirent, gratias egerunt deo (suam enim ipsi celabant, quod tum non erat tutum cuique communicare, quod in hac re sentiret), ac epistolam istam cuiusdam et docti et pii Batavi, quae iam excusa est anonyma, soluta sarcina communicarunt. In ea foelicem hanc margaritam “est” pro “significat” hic accipi inveni.

Zwingli’s view persuaded many but it didn’t persuade Luther or the other Catholics of Luther’s mindset. It never could, because Luther was far too chained to his mystical past. Or, as Zwingli puts it in his colorful conclusion-

Non potest ex integro antichristus profligari, nisi et hoc errore labefactato corruat. Spectemus veri ante omnia faciem, non autoritatem hominum, quae nihil valere debet, ubi veritas illuxit.

That delightful phrase could be repeated daily concerning so many…