Category Archives: Church History

More Than Luther: The Reformation and the Rise of Pluralism in Europe

This volume contains the plenary papers and a selection of shortpapers from the Seventh Annual RefoRC conference, which was held May 10–12th 2017 in Wittenberg. The contributions concentrate on the effects of Luther´s new theology and draw the lines from Luther´s contemporaries into the early seventeenth century. Developments in art, catholic responses and Calvinistic reception are only some of the topics. The volume reflects the interdisciplinarity and interconfessionality that characterizes present research on the 16th century reformations and underlines the fact that this research has not come to a conclusion in 2017. The papers in this conference volume point to lacunae and will certainly stimulate further research.

Contributors: Wim François, Antonio Gerace, Siegrid Westphal, Edit Szegedi, Maria Lucia Weigel, Graeme Chatfield, Jane Schatkin Hettrick, Marta Quatrale, Aurelio A. García, Jeannette Kreijkes, Csilla Gábor, Gábor Ittzés, Balázs Dávid Magyar, Tomoji Odori, Gregory Soderberg, Herman A. Speelman, Izabela Winiarska-Górska, Erik A. de Boer, Donald Sinnema, Dolf te Velde.

My review is forthcoming.

Your Assemblies Sicken Me

Your public assemblies I have come to hate. For there are excessive banquetings, and subtle flutes which provoke to lustful movements, and useless and luxurious anointings, and crowning with garlands. With such a mass of evils do you banish shame; and ye fill your minds with them, and are carried away by intemperance, and indulge as a common practice in wicked and insane fornication.

And this further I would say to you, why are you, being a Greek, indignant at your son when he imitates Jupiter, and rises against you and defrauds you of your own wife? Why do you count him your enemy, and yet worship one that is like him? And why do you blame your wife for living in unchastity, and yet honour Venus with shrines?  – Justin Martyr

Justin would say pretty much the same thing about most modern Christian worship and every Emergent and Seeker Sensitive ‘Church’.

The Council of Trent: Reform and Controversy in Europe and Beyond (1545-1700)

Volume One of this three volume series has been reviewed previously, here.  The publisher also sent volumes two and three for review.

And, as always, people interested in any V&R publications in North America can order them from their distribution partner, ISD.

Exactly 450 years after the solemn closure of the Council of Trent on 4 December 1563, scholars from diverse regional, disciplinary and confessional backgrounds convened in Leuven to reflect upon the impact of this Council, not only in Europe but also beyond. Their conclusions are to be found in these three impressive volumes. Bridging different generations of scholarship, the authors reassess in a first volume Tridentine views on the Bible, theology and liturgy, as well as their reception by Protestants, deconstructing many myths surviving in scholarship and society alike. They also deal with the mechanisms ‘Rome’ developed to hold a grip on the Council’s implementation. The second volume analyzes the changes in local ecclesiastical life, initiated by bishops, orders and congregations, and the political strife and confessionalisation accompanying this reform process. The third and final volume examines the afterlife of Trent in arts and music, as well as in the global impact of Trent through missions.


A click on the volume links above will take one to the table of contents and other relevant materials.  Before proceeding you are requested to go there so as to be ‘up to speed’ with what these two works contain.

Once one comes to the realization that the volumes are comprised with the clearest and most thorough analysis of the Council of Trent presently available one can appreciate more fully the incredible importance of these works.

Volume two’s focus on clerics and governmental authority provides important materials which themselves provide insights into the 16th and 17th centuries as they are experienced by some of society’s most important personages.  To say that another way, how clerics and government officials saw themselves and their tasks are on full and clear display.  This ‘from the top down’ perspective isn’t mere elitism exposed, however but rather a clear portrayal of the wrestlings involved in important cultural trends and decisions.  And all of this in reaction and response to the decrees of the Council of Trent.

But it is volume three which enthralls and delights.  From the ways that Trent influenced art and music to the working out of the implications of Trent for Catholicism in Asia and the Global South, each essay opens new vistas and provides new insights on a very wide world.

The fact that so few (in Protestant circles) know how important and influential Trent was can be laid at the doorstep of our modern tendency to simply scratch the surface of a topic (chiefly, for many misled souls, on the wikipedia website) instead of drilling down to the meat of topics.    If one were to take, for instance, the entry in the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (which is, it has to be said, a very fine resource) as an example, one would discover merely the bare bones outline of the Council’s significance (and that, again, is as deep as most people dive today):

The spread of Protestantism and the drastic need of moral and administrative reforms within the RC Church led to widespread demand among Catholics for a Universal Council, but disputes between *Charles V and others who favoured such action, and the Popes, who were generally averse to it, long prevented a move. At last *Paul III summoned a council to Mantua for 23 May 1537, but the plan fell through owing to French resistance. In 1538 further proposals for a council at Vicenza were frustrated by the unexpected indifference of the Emperor. In 1542 the Pope again convoked the Council, this time to Trent. After yet another postponement it eventually met on 13 Dec. 1545. At the outset it was a very small assembly, composed of 3 legates, 1 cardinal, 4 archbishops, 21 bishops, and 5 generals of orders.

After describing the various Periods of the Council, they conclude

The Council ended on 4 Dec. 1563. The decrees were confirmed in a body on 26 Jan. 1564 by Pius IV, who in the same year published the ‘Profession of the Tridentine Faith’, a brief summary of doctrine, generally known as the *Creed of Pius IV. Several important works, which the Council recommended or initiated but could not effectually carry through, were handed over to the Pope for completion. The revision of the Vulgate, ordered at Trent in 1546, was concluded under *Clement VIII in 1592; and *Pius V founded the Congregation of the Index in 1571 to carry out other unfinished work, having himself issued the ‘*Roman Catechism’ (1566) and revised *Breviary (1568) and *Missal (1570). Though the Council failed to satisfy the Protestants and its reforms were less comprehensive than many Catholics had hoped for, it had established a solid basis for the renewal of discipline and the spiritual life in the RC Church, which emerged from Trent with a clearly formulated doctrinal system and an enhanced religious strength for the subsequent struggle with Protestantism.*

The entire discussion covers but two columns.  And yet thoroughness matters, and the three volumes titled The Council of Trent: Reform and Controversy om Europe and Beyond (1545-1700) make that more than abundantly clear.  They should be read.  Indeed, in my humble view, students of the history of the Church should oblige themselves to read more than surface scratches.  Tolle, lege!

*F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1650-1651.

Yet Another Declaration That ‘The Church is Dying But I Can Revive It’, Take 454

Nope.  And nope.

That same heresy was floating around when Montanus convinced a couple of rich women to support his spiritualism and he sucked in even the likes of the great Tertullian.

It came to nothing then too.

(I wish people would read church history before they peddle their ‘new fad’.  If they did, they’d know that there was nothing new under the sun and that the old heresies have all come and come but the Church remains).

I Have to Confess…

Teaching this course on the first 600 years of the Church is a blast.  I haven’t thought about the Fathers for decades so revisiting them has been terribly and surprisingly enjoyable.  I still love Jerome most and think the rest are pretty heretical, but it really is a delight working through them again.

The moral of the story- teach courses you may not want to teach at first blush and you may discover a certain enjoyment in it.

Fun Facts From Church History: The Real Saint Patrick

patrickST. PATRICK or Patricius (died March 17, 465 or 493) was the son of a deacon, and grandson of a priest, as he confesses himself without an intimation of the unlawfulness of clerical marriages. He was in his youth carried captive into Ireland, with many others, and served his master six years as a shepherd. While tending his flock in the lonesome fields, the teachings of his childhood awakened to new life in his heart without any particular external agency. He escaped to France or Britain, was again enslaved for a short period, and had a remarkable dream, which decided his calling. He saw a man, Victoricius, who handed him innumerable letters from Ireland, begging him to come over and help them. He obeyed the divine monition, and devoted the remainder of his life to the conversion of Ireland (from A.D. 440 to 493).

“I am,” he says, “greatly a debtor to God, who has bestowed his grace so largely upon me, that multitudes were born again to God through me. The Irish, who never had the knowledge of God and worshipped only idols and unclean things, have lately become the people of the Lord, and are called sons of God.” He speaks of having baptized many thousands of men. Armagh seems to have been for some time the centre of his missionary operations, and is to this day the seat of the primacy of Ireland, both Roman Catholic and Protestant. He died in peace, and was buried in Downpatrick (or Gabhul), where he began his mission, gained his first converts and spent his declining years.

His Roman Catholic biographers have surrounded his life with marvelous achievements, while some modern Protestant hypercritics have questioned even his existence, as there is no certain mention of his name before 634; unless it be “the Hymn of St. Sechnall (Secundinus) in praise of St. Patrick, which is assigned to 448. But if we accept his own writings, “there can be no reasonable doubt” (we say with a Presbyterian historian of Ireland) “that he preached the gospel in Hibernia in the fifth century; that he was a most zealous and efficient evangelist, and that he is eminently entitled to the honorable designation of the Apostle of Ireland.”

The Christianity of Patrick was substantially that of Gaul and old Britain, i.e. Catholic, orthodox, monastic, ascetic, but independent of the Pope, and differing from Rome in the age of Gregory I in minor matters of polity and ritual. In his Confession he never mentions Rome or the Pope; he never appeals to tradition, and seems to recognize the Scriptures (including the Apocrypha) as the only authority in matters of faith. He quotes from the canonical Scriptures twenty-five times; three times from the Apocrypha. It has been conjectured that the failure and withdrawal of Palladius was due to Patrick, who had already monopolized this mission-field; but, according to the more probable chronology, the mission of Patrick began about nine years after that of Palladius. From the end of the seventh century, the two persons were confounded, and a part of the history of Palladius, especially his connection with Pope Caelestine, was transferred to Patrick.*

*Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, History of the Christian Church (vol. 4; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910), 45–47.

St Patrick’s Autobiography

17 March is St Patrick’s Day, when the people of Ireland and those of Irish descent around the world celebrate the feast day of this famous saint. Patrick is one of the patron saints of Ireland and certainly the most celebrated! As a young man in the 5th century, he was kidnapped from his home in Roman Britain and spent years enslaved as a shepherd in Ireland. He eventually managed to escape back to Britain, and then returned as a missionary to convert the Irish to Christianity. Patrick describes his remarkable story himself in his Confessio, a form of autobiography. The Confessio survives in only 8 manuscripts, one of which is held by the British Library (now Cotton MS Nero E I/1). This fascinating text has been fully translated from Latin into English by the Royal Irish Academy and can be found online here.

Via.  Enjoy.

The Many Tentacles of the Reformation

This is a very good brief piece on the 10,000 letters of Heinrich Bullinger.

Zürich hat es Heinrich Bullinger zu verdanken, dass es im 16. Jahrhundert von einem relativ unwichtigen Ort zu einer international bedeutenden Stätte wurde – dies dokumentieren die zahlreichen Briefe von und für Zwinglis Nachfolger», sagt Reinhard Bodenmann, Leiter der Bullinger-Briefedition am Institut für Schweizerische Reformationsgeschichte an der Uni Zürich. Der Reformator habe sich nicht nur mit seiner ausgeprägten brieflichen Korrespondenz nach halb Europa einen Namen gemacht. Seine Bibelkommentare seien etwa in Italien gern gelesen worden, und in seiner Zürcher Wohnstätte habe er sich als zuvorkommender Gastgeber erwiesen. Durch dieses Wirken habe Bullinger Bekanntheit erlangt und gleichzeitig das nach der Kappeler Niederlage von 1531 angeschlagene Image von Zürich aufgewertet.

Etc.  Enjoy.

More Than Luther: The Reformation and the Rise of Pluralism in Europe

This volume contains the plenary papers and a selection of shortpapers from the Seventh Annual RefoRC conference, which was held May 10–12th 2017 in Wittenberg. The contributions concentrate on the effects of Luther´s new theology and draw the lines from Luther´s contemporaries into the early seventeenth century. Developments in art, catholic responses and Calvinistic reception are only some of the topics. The volume reflects the interdisciplinarity and interconfessionality that characterizes present research on the 16th century reformations and underlines the fact that this research has not come to a conclusion in 2017. The papers in this conference volume point to lacunae and will certainly stimulate further research.

Contributors: Wim François, Antonio Gerace, Siegrid Westphal, Edit Szegedi, Maria Lucia Weigel, Graeme Chatfield, Jane Schatkin Hettrick, Marta Quatrale, Aurelio A. García, Jeannette Kreijkes, Csilla Gábor, Gábor Ittzés, Balázs Dávid Magyar, Tomoji Odori, Gregory Soderberg, Herman A. Speelman, Izabela Winiarska-Górska, Erik A. de Boer, Donald Sinnema, Dolf te Velde.

A review copy has arrived.  More soon.

Die politischen Gesetze des Mose: Entstehung und Einflüsse der politia-judaica-Literatur in der Frühen Neuzeit

Vordenker der Moderne wie Thomas Hobbes, Baruch de Spinoza, James Harrington, Christian Thomasius und viele mehr griffen in ihren politischen Lehren oft auf das Modell des alten jüdischen Gemeinwesens zurück. Entscheidend beeinflusste sie dabei ein Schrifttum (politiajudaica-Literatur), das in der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts entstand und Moses Gesetze als politisches Vorbild darstellte. Markus M. Totzeck legt die erste vollständige Untersuchung zur Entstehung dieser Literatur vor. Die antiken außerbiblischen Mose-Traditionen bilden den Hintergrund seiner Arbeit. Diese Traditionen waren in der Frühen Neuzeit zum ersten Mal als Druckausgaben erschienen und hatten sich im Renaissance-Humanismus mit Konzeptionen einer uralten Theologie und Weisheit (prisca theologia bzw. prisca sapientia) des Mose verbunden. Totzeck stellt heraus, wie Debatten über die politische Relevanz der mosaischen Gesetze später in der Reformation zur Entstehung der politiajudaica-Literatur beitrugen. Die ersten Werke stammten aus der Feder humanistischer Gelehrter, die in erster Linie ausgebildete Juristen und Historiographen waren, zugleich aber auch einen mehrheitlich calvinistischen Hintergrund hatten. Die Nähe zwischen humanistischer Jurisprudenz und dem Calvinismus prägte die politiajudaica-Literatur in einer ersten Phase bis zu Petrus Cunaeus’ Werk De republica Hebraeorum libri III (1617). Die Verbreitung dieses Buchklassikers des 17. Jahrhunderts führte den ursprünglichen Rechtsdiskurs in umfangreichere politische Diskussionen.

A review copy has arrived.  More later.

Red Theology: On the Christian Communist Tradition

In Red Theology: On the Christian Communist Tradition, Roland Boer presents key moments in the 2,000 year tradition of Christian communism. Defined by the two features of alternative communal practice and occasional revolutionary action, Christian communism is predicated on profound criticism of the way of the world. The book begins with Karl Kautsky – the leading thinker of second-generation Marxism – and his oft-ignored identification of this tradition. From there, it offers a series of case studies that deal with European instances, the Russian Revolution, and to East Asia. Here we find the emergence of Christian communism not only in China, but also in North Korea. This book will be a vital resource for scholars and students of religion and the many aspects of socialist tradition.

As discussions of ‘Socialism’ are all over the news, this may be of interest to folk.

Today in Church History: The Publication of the Second Helvetic Confession

Schaff remarks

second helvetic[The Second Helvetic Confession, written by Bullinger] was published at Zuerich, March 12, 1566, in both [German and Latin], at public expense, and was forwarded to the Elector of the Palatinate and to Philip of Hesse. A French translation appeared soon afterwards in Geneva under the care of Beza.

Happy birthday to the greatest of the Swiss Confessions.

Zwingli Bibliographie

Zwingli-Bibliographie: Verzeichnis der gedruckten Schriften von und über Ulrich Zwingli

IMG_7881Brill have brought back this classic work from 1968 in celebration of the 500th anniversary of Zwingli’s arrival in Zurich.

Printed in the fantastic Fraktur font which graced the printings of so many wonderful volumes of the last century in Germany, this is exactly what it purports to be- a bibliography both of Zwingli’s own works and of the works which graced his personal library.

Though not as thorough as the modern critically assembled listing (which the Central Library of Zurich has put together) and though less informative than the brilliant work of Urs Leu and Sandra Wiedmann which was just published a few months ago, also by Brill, the present work nonetheless is a valuable tool for research.

Divided into two major sections, readers are provided, firstly, a listing including full title page details of all of Zwingli’s works in chronological order.  The second major section then offers a listing with all the relevant bibliographic details of works which discuss Zwingli from 1600 to the days of Georg Finsler (the author of the present tome).

Then appears an index of Zwingli’s works in alphabetical order; an index of chronological events from Zwingli’s life; an index of particular themes connected to Zwingli’s work; and finally an index arranged chronologically containing all the works in the volume.

This volume is no mean achievement; especially given that it was written long before anyone had access to computers or even modern research tools.  It was, in sum, all done ‘by hand’ and is a miracle accomplishment.

This tool is an important, indeed a critical work which needs to sit on the shelves of every research library.  Allow me to be personal and address you familiarly for a moment: if your library doesn’t have a copy of this book, tell your librarian that it must be ordered.

And then use it.


Today With Zwingli: A Letter of Assurance

On 8 March, 1525, in the midst of the controversy with the Re-Baptizing radicals Zwingli wrote a letter to a fellow named Jodocus Hesch.  In it, he confirms his brotherly affection for Hesch and insists that that affection won’t be affected by anything he might hear by word or letter.

Quam equidem conditionem sic tecum subiturus sum, ut nulla sit unquam ętas de perfidia nostra querimoniam ullam habitura; pollicere igitur de nobis non uti de reconciliato hoste, sed uti de fratre, quocum nulla unquam offensio intercessit. Que praesentium lator ad nos attulit, optime curata sunt. Verum, heus tu, senatus noster indubiemaiorem fidem servaturus est, quam ulle possent litere, presertim hoc rerum statu, quo, si vel iota unum excideret [Matth. 5. 18], fieret tota Ilias. Ut ergo amicum ad nos misisti nullis munitum pignoribus, quod equidem pro maximo pignore puto, vis enim tibi fidem haberi, id quod purę plerumque consciencie postulant: sic et nos eundem carissimum et fidelissimum fratrem nostrum ad te remittimus, qui ore ad os, quod dicitur, omnia non modo referet, sed etiam aget tecum.

When Zwingli was your friend, he was loyal to the end.  When he wasn’t… well…

Remembering Martin Niemöller

Zum 35. Todestag von Martin Niemöller (*14. Januar 1892 in Lippstadt; †6. März 1984 in Wiesbaden)

Martin Niemöller wurde am 14. Januar 1892 in Lippstadt geboren. Seit 1933 war er Mitbegründer, führendes Mitglied und kompromissloser Verfechter der Bekennenden Kirche. 1937 wurde er wegen staatsabträglicher Äußerungen und Störung des inneren Friedens verhaftet. 1938 ließ Hitler ihn als seinen persönlichen Gefangenen ins Konzentrationslager Sachsenhausen verschleppen. 1941 wurde er in das Konzentrationslager Dachau verlegt. Während seiner Konzentrationslagerhaft genoss Niemöller hohes Ansehen im Ausland und galt als die Symbolfigur des Widerstands gegen Hitler schlechthin. 1945 wurde er kurz vor der Erschießung durch ein SS-Kommando in Südtirol befreit.

Nach Kriegsende war er von 1945 bis 1956 Leiter des Kirchlichen Außenamts der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland und von 1947 bis 1964 Präsident der Evangelischen Kirche in Hessen und Nassau. Außerdem hatte er zahlreiche ökumenische Ämter inne. Niemöller kritisierte scharf die Gründung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und die Wiederbewaffnungspolitik der Bundesregierung unter Konrad Adenauer. Der ehemalige U-Boot-Kommandant wandelte sich zum radikalen Pazifisten und Gegner der Atombewaffnung. Niemöller starb am 6. März 1984 in Wiesbaden.

In seiner berühmten Rede „Der Weg ins Freie“ bekannte Niemöller offen, seiner christlichen Verantwortung gegenüber anderen Verfolgten des nationalsozialistischen Regimes wie Juden und Kommunisten vor seiner Haftzeit nicht gerecht geworden zu sein.

This man is a hero.  In every sense of the word.

Fun Facts from Church History: Luther’s Dread

luther65Luther left the Wartburg on March 1, 1522, arriving at Wittenberg on March 6. One of the first things he did was to preach a series of eight sermons, during the week beginning March 9, in an effort to counteract the extreme reforms which had been forced through by Karlstadt and Gabriel Zwilling.  Luther was by no means opposed to reform measures, but he held that they should be brought about by persuasion, not compulsion.*

One of those sermons was on marriage, which Luther commences thusly:

How I dread preaching on the estate of marriage! I am reluctant to do it because I am afraid if I once get really involved in the subject it will make a lot of work for me and for others. The shameful confusion wrought by the accursed papal law has occasioned so much distress, and the lax authority of both the spiritual and the temporal swords has given rise to so many dreadful abuses and false situations, that I would much prefer neither to look into the matter nor to hear of it. But timidity is no help in an emergency; I must proceed. I must try to instruct poor bewildered consciences, and take up the matter boldly.

And then of course he does.

*Luther’s works, vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II p. 13.

The Invention of Lent

The number 40 [as the observed days of Lent] was not made up in the Latin Church until the 7th century, when the four days from Ash Wednesday to the First Sunday in Lent were added, a practice first attested by the Gelasian Sacramentary and spreading from Rome throughout the West.*

*F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 971.

#ICYMI – John Calvin: On The Superstition of Lent

I’ll happily stand with Calvin on the issue of Lent and leave those who wish to lie in the filth of the pigsty of ‘tradition’ simply for the sake of ‘tradition’ to do so.

Institutes 4.12.20 reads thusly (with particularly useful descriptions of lenten observance and observers bold-faced)

Then the superstitious observance of Lent had everywhere prevailed: for both the vulgar imagined that they thereby perform some excellent service to God, and pastors commended it as a holy imitation of Christ; though it is plain that Christ did not fast to set an example to others, but, by thus commencing the preaching of the gospel, meant to prove that his doctrine was not of men, but had come from heaven.

And it is strange how men of acute judgment could fall into this gross delusion, which so many clear reasons refute: for Christ did not fast repeatedly (which he must have done had he meant to lay down a law for an anniversary fast), but once only, when preparing for the promulgation of the gospel. Nor does he fast after the manner of men, as he would have done had he meant to invite men to imitation; he rather gives an example, by which he may raise all to admire rather than study to imitate him.

In short, the nature of his fast is not different from that which Moses observed when he received the law at the hand of the Lord (Exod. 24:18; 34:28). For, seeing that that miracle was performed in Moses to establish the law, it behoved not to be omitted in Christ, lest the gospel should seem inferior to the law. But from that day, it never occurred to any one, under pretence of imitating Moses, to set up a similar form of fast among the Israelites.

Nor did any of the holy prophets and fathers follow it, though they had inclination and zeal enough for all pious exercises; for though it is said of Elijah that he passed forty days without meat and drink (1 Kings 19:8), this was merely in order that the people might recognise that he was raised up to maintain the law, from which almost the whole of Israel had revolted.

It was therefore merely false zeal, replete with superstition, which set up a fast under the title and pretext of imitating Christ; although there was then a strange diversity in the mode of the fast, as is related by Cassiodorus in the ninth book of the History of Socrates: “The Romans,” says he, “had only three weeks, but their fast was continuous, except on the Lord’s day and the Sabbath. The Greeks and Illyrians had, some six, others seven, but the fast was at intervals. Nor did they differ less in the kind of food: some used only bread and water, others added vegetables; others had no objection to fish and fowls; others made no difference in their food.” Augustine also makes mention of this difference in his latter epistle to Januarius.

True words, Calvin.  Truly said.   Let’s see how the rabid lent-ianists like those apples.

Copernicus Banned

Nicolaus Copernicus’ book De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) was temporarily suspended and added to the Index of Prohibited Books in 1616. First published in Nuremberg in 1543, the book proposed that Earth and other planets orbited the Sun. At the time of its publication, Copernicus’ book had not created much controversy, however, following Galileo’s support for Copernicus’ theory, De Revolutionibus was officially banned. Copernicus, who died in 1543, would never know what controversy his work had caused. – Via CSSR

Fun Facts From Church History: Luther’s Lectures on Psalm Two and a Post-Mortem Slam on Zwingli

7headedlutherIn 1532 Luther lectured on Psalm two on the following dates: March 5, April 9, April 16, May 27, May 28, June 8, July 5. He took his time with the text (obviously) and in the course of those lectures snidely remarked

That the kings and rulers rage against us at the present time, that Zwingli, Carlstadt, and others cause disturbances in the church, that burghers and peasants condemn the Gospel, is therefore nothing new or unusual.


Münzer stirs up an uproar in Thuringia. Carlstadt and Zwingli stir up horrible disturbances in the church when they try to persuade others that in Communion the body and blood of Christ are not received orally, but only bread and wine. Others join them, and gradually this pernicious doctrine fills France, Italy, and other nations.


“These things have happened through no fault of mine, therefore let the authors of these evils torture themselves. Not I. I shall do and I shall indeed try everything I can to alleviate these evils somewhat, but if I am unable to do so, I shall not on that account consume myself in sorrow. If one Münzer, Carlstadt, or Zwingli is not enough for Satan, he may stir up many more. I know that the nature of this kingdom is such that Satan cannot bear it. He labors with hands and feet with all his might that he may disturb the churches and oppose the Word.”

And several other times as well. That Luther lumps Zwingli with the Radicals is no surprise. What is surprising is his willingness to speak so ill of the dead. Indeed, of the dead not long dead!

Luther: he was a real jerk. (He’s been dead long enough one can say so without any twinge of guilt).