Category Archives: Zwingli

A Little Gossip Between Oecolampadius and Zwingli

The Reformers loved to chat.  One can only imagine what they could have done with email…

Gratia et pax à Christo

Invenimus literas Pauli inter reculas eius, quas adolescens affert una cum pecuniis circiter viij florenos in batzis, quas apud te retine, ut vectori ex eis satisfacias et reliquum Paulo mittas. Nihil praeterea novi hic habemus. Adversarii nostri sua potentia satis abutuntur, sed verbo dei praevalere nequeunt, ita ut retrocedatur adhuc. Orationibus tamen vestris et aliorum semper egemus. Gratum est, quod Pellicanus advigilat nostrę apologię. Mittatur huc, quando commode poterit.

Salvus sit Pellicanus, uxor tua et cęteri symmistę. Vale.

Basileę 16. Augusti 1528.
Tuus Oecolampadius.
Huldrico Zwinglio, fratri suo charissimo.

Today With Zwingli: The Explanation of the 67 Articles

On 14 July 1523 Zwingli published his very long ‘Explanation’ of the 67 Articles he had put together to explain his Reformatory program. It’s good stuff. You can read the Articles here. If you read German, you can read the explanations published on this date here. If you’re confined to English, you’ll have to get this book.

Here’s my favorite (because in it Zwingli eviscerates the ‘entertainment’ too often found in worship)- (skip to the end for an explanation if you wish) –

Der sechs und viertzigst artickel.

So muoss ie volgen, das tempelgsang oder gschrey,

one andacht und nun umb lon, eintweders ruom suocht vor den menschen oder gwün. Der sinn ist, das die gsang, die man in den templen thuot umb lon und one andacht, allein darumb geschehind, das man oder gruempt werde, wie man geystlich sye oder das man gelt gwünne, welche fürnemmen doch alle böß sind. Darumb noch vil böser ist, das man sölichen gouggel den menschen zuo eim geltkloben für die nasen ußsteckt und inn so tür verkoufft.  Hie sprechend sy zum ersten: So es aber mit andacht geschicht, so ist es ie nit böß. Antwurt: Hast nit ghört, das du kein werck schetzen solt, wie guot es sye; denn so man uns das gestattete, so wurden wir unser werck so tür schetzen, daß uns got die kümmerlich möchte bezalen. Das ein werck guot sye, lyt allein an got; von dem muoß es kummen. Darnach pruelt der andacht nit vor den menschen, wie die unsinnigen buoler thuond, sunder er gadt an sin stille. Da kan er sich aller bast mit got ersprachen; denn inn zücht nitt gsicht, nit ghörd von der guoten betrachtung ab.

Es ist wider aller menschen vernunfft, das man in grossem gethös unnd gthön sinnig oder andächtig sye. Darzuo ist des menschen andacht so kurtz und schnell, das er gar nit lang mit worten und hertzen andächtig ist; aber mit dem inneren sinn und gedancken imm hertzen mag er den andacht lenger verstrecken. Darus man ermißt, das die, die so übel an dem korgsang rüwt, eintweders närrisch sind oder kindisch. Närrisch: das sy noch den rechten, waren andacht nie erlernet hand; denn hettind sy den ie recht empfunden, so möchtind sy nit erlyden, das man sy mit dem mönen irrte. Kindisch: das sy den kinden glych gern singend und hörend singen, ob sy glych nit verstond, was sy singend. Ja, ich sag by der warheit, das ich das umblonsingen mee sündig warlich schetzen mag dann guot. Denn was thuond die kinder minder, die umb die gaß krützend und ouch darzuo singend, und buckent ire münd ouch in seltzame wort, die weder sy noch andere menschen verstond. Also singt der meerteil joch der münch und pfaffen, das sy wenig verstond, was sy singend.

Doch muoß man inen lonen oder aber sy singend nit. Darzuo ist da oben gnuog bewärt, das wir nit durch unsere werck sunder durch gottes erbärmbd sälig werdind, mit dero ouch die todtenpfyffer sälig werden muessend, und nit mit iren wercken. Demnach werffend sy engegen: Ist es aber nit wäger, man sye also in der kilchen, denn das man muessig gang oder imm bretspil lige? Antwurt: Gnad, herr, das ir dahin kummen sind, das ir üwren so schönen gotsdienst nit besser sin könnend bewären, denn das er dennocht besser sye denn muessiggon und bretspilen. Wellend ir üwren andacht dahin rechnen, so wil ich reden: spinnen sye besser dann muessiggon und brätspilen. Wie wär nun, ir spunnind oder haspletind, min andächtiger vatter? Doch sind ir ze starck darzuo, wie wär es, man machte ein holtzschyter oder ein pfluogheber uß üch, so ir doch etwas muessend thuon für muessiggon? So hulffind ir ouch dem gemeinen menschen die arbeit tragen; ir sind schön und fäßt.

Ach got, wie muoß man üch die wyl so kostlich vertryben! Thuond so wol und lesend das 14. capitel 1. Cor. [1. Cor. 14. 19], so werdend ir finden, das Paulus lieber wil fünff wort mit verstand des sinnes reden andren zuo der ler, weder zehentusend wort mit der zungen. Also werdend ir, wie da oben ist anzeigt, nach dem sinn der gschrifft arbeiten und die unverstandnen wort lassen ligen, als ich hoff. Und so ir überein frölich sin wellend in dem geist, so würt das nit lang wären. Darumb thuond es, so lang das gemuet mit den worten hält; hab ich dhein zwyfel, ir werdind nimmerme singen; denn er spricht daselbst [1. Cor. 14. 15]: Wil ich mit dem atem einen psalmen reden, so sol es mit dem gmuet geschehen, das ist: wiltu mit dem mund einen psalmen reden, luog, das munnd und gmuet mit einandren ziehind. Nun ist mund und gmuet, so man bättet, nit lang uff eim weg, vil weniger gemuet und gsang. Lis das gantz capitel daselbst, so findstu, das under den Cristen das höchst ampt ist, daß sy das wort gottes zuo guotem verstand bringind, damit die gantz menge gelert werd. Item es hatt ouch Amos 5. [Amos 5. 23] das singen imm alten testament verworffen: Thuo mir das gmürmel diner gsangen hinweg, und das gsang diner lyren wil ich nit.

Wie wurd der pürisch prophet zuo unseren zyten thuon, wenn er so mengerley musick in den templen sähe, und so mengerley mensuren der basdentzen, turdionen und hopperdentzen und ander proportzen horte, und dazwüschen dis zarten korheren in iren sydinen hembdlinen zum altar gen opffer gon? Warlich, er wurd aber schryen, daß sin wort die gantz welt nit erlyden möcht. Sich, das tockenwerck in den templen kost so vil schweiß und arbeit; noch wil es nieman ze hertzen gon, noch muoß man die glychßnery (ich hatt nach geredt: die abgötery) für und für neren. Unnd beschicht doch nit on merckliche sünd; denn da wirdt eintweders angesehen uppige eer oder wollust oder nutz, und kanst du nienen nüt uß der gschrifft harfürbringen, das den verlonten gotsdienst bevest. Denn das wort: Der arbeiter ist wirdig sines lons Luc. 10. [Luc. 10. 7], dient gar nit dahar.

Darumb sol im nieman grusen lassen, ob er das russen uß den templen laßt kummen, und ordnet an des statt wolglerte, die das gotswort trülich uffschliessind, und gibt das übrig guot den armen, dürfftigen, doch mit sölicher mas, das da nit uffruor enspring, es wellind dann die gotsjunckheren nit anderst. Alde, min tempelgmürmel! Bis mir nun nit schad; guot weiß ich wol, das du mit nit bist.

Aber biß grueßt, o frommes, innwendigs gebett, das vom gotswort erweckt würdt imm hertzen des gleubigen menschen, ja, ein kleiner sünftz, der kurtz bschicht und sich selbs erkent, und bald wyter loset! Bis  ouch grueßt, du gmeines gebett, das alle Christenmenschen für einandren tuond, es sye offenlich imm tempel oder imm kämerlin, doch fry, unverlont! Ich weiß, das du das gebett bist, dem gott geben wil, das er verheissen hat.

To summarize- worship is more about hearing and heeding the Word than it is in hearing shrieking self-promoting buffoons compete with the organ for attention.

Today With Zwingli

The prohibition to the clergy of marriage comes from the devil not from God. — Huldrych Zwingli

An Interim Reminder, Again, That Though Calvin Was Great, Zwingli Was Greater

Zwingli wrote, in defense of Luther, in 1520 shortly after Luther had been excommunicated-

zwingliAs to Luther, the largest part of this evil [i.e., the Roman uproar about his teaching] must be laid at the door of those who have preached and written about indulgences and the power of the Roman Pontiff things which no educated and religious ear could bear, so that as far as the beginning of this disturbance is concerned Luther may fairly seem to have been influenced by devotion and zeal in the cause of the Christian Religion.

Moreover, those who do not excuse his beginning afterwards to write more bitterly, yet make allowance for it, saying that he was not altogether without reason angered by the exceedingly bitter hectoring and taunts of certain persons. Without having yet read his books, they raised among the people the cry of “Heretic, Antichrist, Schismatic,” before the Pope had made any public interposition of his authority in the matter at all. Nobody admonished or confuted him, though he declared himself, as he even now declares himself, ready for discussion with any one—they only damned him.

Mission: Zwingli – The Film

Zwingli’s ‘Petition for Priests to Marry’ and a Little Help from a Friend

xylotectusOn 7 July 1522, while Zwingli was preparing his little booklet on the freedom of priests to marry, his friend in Lucerne, one Johannes Xylotectus, sent him a note with a tiny story to help Zwimgli make his point. Xylotectus writes

Ioannes Xylotectus Huldricho Zuinlio S. D. P.

Sacrificus quidam nostras scorti sui maritum confecit. Scortum sacrificus aliquandiu invito marito aluit. Maritus eum de restituenda preda Lucernae convenit. Hinc cum scorto redeuntem in itinere deprehendit, adgreditur loethiferoque vulnere cadit et tandem moritur. Hoc ideo te scire volui, ut, si commode inserere libello, quem parturis, posses, exemplum haberes recens, quanta noster coelibatus non modo scandala, verumetiam pericula pariat, quibus legittimo coniugio foelicissime mederi possent nostri Helvetii. Noster item Bodenler dominica pręterita multa in sacerdotum coniugia pro contione dixit, cui velim vel per Erasmum nostrum responderetur (ut scilicet vel taceret vel scripturam scriptura refelleret, ne tandem suis coloribus depictus toti orbi fabula redderetur), nugas suas diutius non ferendas, et cetera in hunc modum, ut visum fuerit, litterasque illas cum libello negotii nostri accipiat. Iacobus Naef te ad templi sui consecrationis festum venturum dixit. Fac sciam, an ita sit et quando.

Vale.

Ex Lucerna Nonis Iuliis 1522.
Et doctissimo et amicissimo domino Huldricho Zuinlio,
Tigurinorum euangelistae. –
Meister Uolrich Zwingli zuo Zurich lutpriester.

Zwingli’s friends across the Cantons were happy to help him Reform the Church.  And reforming the Church meant reforming the clergy.

Of Xylotectus (who isn’t exactly widely known), the Swiss Historical Lexicon notes

Geboren 1490 (Johannes Ludwig Zimmermann) Luzern, gestorben 19.8.1526 Basel, von Luzern, aus patriz. Geschlecht stammend. um 1524 Margarethe Feer, Tochter des Jost, Bauern. Stud. in Basel, 1508 Bakkalaureus, 1510 Magister Artium. 1499 Chorherrwartner des Stifts Beromünster, 1504 Chorherr zu St. Leodegar im Hof in Luzern, 1513 Priesterweihe.

Ab 1510 wirkte X. als Lateinlehrer in Luzern und knüpfte enge Bande zum Humanistenkreis um Joachim Vadian, Huldrych Zwingli, Glarean und Oswald Myconius. Als seine Stellung in Luzern aufgrund seiner reformator. Gesinnung unhaltbar wurde, siedelte X. Ende 1524 nach Basel um. Dort erlag er der Pest. 1520 wurde X. von Hans Hohlbein (dem Jüngeren) porträtiert.

Quote of the Day

«Genauso ziehen auch die Monopolisten nach und nach alles an sich, und wird ihnen das Wasser nicht abgegraben, so werdet auch ihr mit euren Untertanen ihr Eigentum.» — Zwingli, Wer Ursache zum Aufruhr gibt, 1524

Now Bring it to America!

It will be joyfully welcomed here too!

Ein halbes Jahr nach seinem Start in den Schweizer Kinos ist der Historienfilm Zwingli in Deutschland angekommen. Am Münchner Filmfestival feierte das Epos am 1. Juli in einer hochdeutschen Synchronisation seine Deutschland-Premiere. Die Zuschauerinnen im Kino «Gloria-Palast» hätten begeistert applaudiert, berichtete persoenlich.com.

Bei der Premiere anwesend waren unter anderem die Schauspieler Anatol Taubman und Sarah Sophia Meyer sowie die Produzentin Anne Walser und Co-Produzent Manfred Klemann der Zürcher Firma C-Films.

Etc.

Now bring it to America!

Zwingli’s Petition to the Bishop that Priests Be Allowed to Marry

Zwingli Speaks Prophetically: Heed Him

zwingli

Today With Zwingli: On the Preaching Office

On the 30th of June in the year of our Lord, 1525, Huldrych Zwingli published one of his most delightful and useful volumes, Von dem Predigtamt.  Who, and what, is a Preacher and what does his office entail?  But even more centrally, the ‘problem’ with which this book wishes to deal is the question, ‘ob ein ley sollt das wort gottes sagen’.  Do layfolk have the right to preach?

It might seem an odd question to us, but in 1525 Zwingli was at the center of the Anabaptist storm and among those people, unauthorized preaching was part and parcel of their belief that the entire church was corrupt, including all the ordained.  So preach they did- even if as equipped for it as a dog for higher science.

Zwingli has some pretty forthright things to say in this text including but not limited to

Anabaptism is wholly and totally against God.

and

Without a thorough knowledge of Hebrew and Greek there is no knowledge of the contents of the Old and New Testaments.  Every commentary in the world cannot measure up to the value of a knowledge of those languages.’

and

Romans 10:15 clearly shows that only the ‘sent’ may preach.

And of course by sent, Zwingli means duly authorized by the rite of ordination.  These re-baptizers, though, were sent only by their own wicked imaginations and were therefore neither legitimate nor authorized by God.

Zwingli’s book is a fantastic read.  For even more on Zwingli’s understanding of the preaching office, Hans Scholl’s essay is a valuable resource.

Zwingli on the Death Sin Brings, and the Slavery

Zwinglidenkmal_EinweihungIn John 8:34, Christ says: “Everyone that committeth sin is the bond-servant of sin.” Adam sinned. Therefore he became the slave of sin.

Paul, writing to the Romans, puts it thus, Rom. 6:16: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves as servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey?” Adam yielded himself to sin, for if he had not yielded himself, he never would have touched the forbidden fruit. Therefore he became its servant and slave. For unless, resolved to make himself like God, skilled in the knowledge of good and evil, he had first yielded himself to the counsel of the Devil, he would have had such a repugnance to the fruit that he would not have deigned to look at it.

Our first parent, then—not to go on offering kindly excuses—willingly and gladly yielded himself to the servitude of sin. Now, by virtue of his condition, a slave neither can nor ought to listen to anyone but the master to whom he has bound himself. Man, therefore, meditates the sin which his master orders.

But there is sin the moment man, disregarding the law of the Creator, has preferred to follow himself, rather than the standard of his Leader and Lord. He is the slave, I was saying, of him to whom he has gone over. But he has gone over to himself, abandoning the love of God through love of self. He is, therefore, his own slave: he loves himself more than God, more than anyone even. And this, at last, is to be dead, this is the death that is sin, this is the character of corrupted and fallen man.

Bravo, dear Huldrych.  Bravo.

Because Zwingli Is Better Than All the Fathers

Today With Zwingli

bucerOn the 23rd of June, 1530 Martin Bucer wrote Zwingli a letter which contained this line:

“Nothing more intolerant can be imagined than the hatred which the Lutherans have against us.”

Zwingli received the letter on June 25.  Bucer managed to sum up the situation in the Holy Roman Empire and its environs nearly perfectly.

Jackson’s Description of Zwingli’s First Days in Zurich, and of the Man Himself

On Saturday, January 1, 1519, he presented himself to the assembled canons [of Zurich], and was formally inducted into his office as people’s priest. … Zwingli thanked them for electing him, requested their prayers and the prayers of the congregation, and then announced that he would begin the next day the continuous exposition of the Gospel of Matthew, not according to the Fathers, but according to the Scriptures themselves. This announcement made a decided sensation, as it was a marked deviation from the practice of following the pericopes and interpreting them patristically, and awakened some adverse criticism.

Of stalwart frame, above middle height, of a ruddy countenance and pleasing expression, he made a good impression upon spectators, and when he spoke he soon showed that he was an orator who could enchain the attention. All Zurich, and indeed all Switzerland, rang with his praise. And not only town people but the country folk also listened to him with delight. For the benefit of the latter he preached every Friday, which was market-day, in the market-place, and took the Psalms for continuous exposition. On Sundays in the cathedral he expounded during his first four years, and in this order, Matthew, Acts, I. Timothy, Galatians, II. Timothy, I. and II. Peter, and Hebrews. — S.M. Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531).

Kappel. June 25. 1529.

The First Kappel War ended on this day in 1529.

After several negotiations, a treaty of Peace was concluded June 25, 1529, between Zuerich, Bern, Basel, St. Gall, and the cities of Muehlhausen and Biel on the one hand, and the five Catholic Cantons on the other. The deputies of Glarus, Solothurn, Schaffhausen, Appenzell, Graubuenden, Sargans, Strassburg, and Constanz acted as mediators.

The treaty was not all that Zwingli desired, especially as regards the abolition of the pensions and the punishment of the dispensers of pensions (wherein he was not supported by Bern), but upon the whole it was favorable to the cause of the Reformation.

The first and most important of the Eighteen Articles of the treaty recognizes, for the first time in Europe, the principle of parity or legal equality of the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches,—a principle which twenty-six years afterwards was recognized also in Germany (by the Augsburger Religionsfriede of 1555), but which was not finally settled there till after the bloody baptism of the Thirty Years’ War, in the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), against which the Pope of Rome still protests in vain. (Schaff)

Regrettably the peace would not hold, and just over 2 years later the disastrous Second Kappel War would see the end of Zwingli’s life.  But not the end of his influence nor the end of his Reform.

Today With Zwingli: The End of the First Kappel War

On June 24, 1530, the treaty [that ended the First Kappel War] was signed, and Zwingli on that day expressed himself as satisfied and thankful. The treaty contained eighteen Articles, of which these were the chief:

  • 1. Neither side was to persecute anyone for his faith’s sake. The majority in each canton was to decide whether the Old Faith was to be retained or not.
  • 2. The alliance with Austria was to be dissolved and the papers pertaining to it “pierced and slit.”
  • 3. The six cities of Zurich, Bern, Basel, St. Gall, Mülhausen, and Biel, all Reformed, renounced definitely for themselves and their dependencies all pensions and foreign subsidies of every description, but merely recommended a similar course to the Five Forest Cantons.
  • 7. Schwyz was to support the children of Jacob Keyser (or Schlosser), whom she had burned for his faith’s sake.
  • 10. Abusive speech on both sides was to cease.
  • 13. The Forest Cantons were to reimburse Zurich and Bern for the cost of the war inside of fourteen days from the date of the treaty; on penalty for failure to do so the six cities would refuse to sell-them food.

So SM Jackson.  Regrettably the peace didn’t hold and not too much later Zwingli would be killed while serving as Chaplain to the Zurich troops in the same little meadow at Kappel.

The Pope Writes Zwingli: And Zwingli Responds to the Bearer of the Letter

Pope Adrian wrote Zwingli on 23 January, 1523-

“Adrian, Pope, the sixth [of the name], to his dear son salutations and the Apostolical benediction: We send the venerable brother Ennius, Bishop of Verulam, our domestic prelate and Nuncio of the Apostolic See, a man distinguished for prudence and fidelity, to that unconquerable nation most completely linked unto us and to the Holy See, in order that he may treat with it respecting things of the highest importance to us and the Holy See, and to the entire Christian commonwealth. Although he is enjoined to conduct our affairs with your nation openly and in public, yet because we have a certain knowledge of your distinguished merits and especially love and prize your loyalty, and also place particular confidence in your honesty, we have commissioned this Bishop, our Nuncio, to hand over to you in private our letter, and declare our best intentions toward you. We exhort your devotion in the Lord, and that you have all confidence in Him, and with the same disposition, in which we are inclined to remember your honour and profit, to bestir yourself also in our affairs and in those of the Apostolic See. For which you will earn no small thanks from us.

“Given at Rome at St. Peter’s, under the ring of the Fisherman, January 23, 1523, of our pontificate the first year.”

Zwingli wasn’t about to agree to abandon Reform just to get a plumb reward from the Pope. So he read it, and, according to a letter he wrote his mentor and friend Thomas Wyttenbach, ‘The Pope is the Antichrist’ (letter of 23 June, 1523- SS VII,300)-

zwingli_7-300

Zwingli and Hebrew

Zwingli wrote to his friend Rhenanus that he intended

… to resume the study of Hebrew,—which he had begun at Einsiedeln,—and so he had ordered from Basel the Rudiments of Capnio, as he styles him who is better known now as Reuchlin, the famous Humanist. But he had made a similar start in 1519, and this time again he probably did not make much progress, for on March 25, 1522, he writes to Rhenanus: “Tell Pellican that I have begun Hebrew. Ye gods, how distasteful and melancholy a study! But I shall persist until I get something out of it.”

He persisted.  And he was successful.  By 1531, shortly before his death, the Zurich Bible was published.  It contained both Testaments, was a translation into German from Hebrew and Greek, and was the result of Zwingli’s efforts along with the other faculty of the Zurich ‘Prophezei’.

Zwingli’s Foreword to the ‘Prophet’s Bible’

On 1 March, 1529,the famous ‘Prophet’s Bible’ was published in Zurich by the printer Froschauer.  Naturally it was Zwingli’s task to write the foreword to a work which the learned clerics at Zurich in the Prophezei had produced.  Zwingli states the project’s rationale as follows:

Es sind gar vil wort by den Ebreern, die, so man sy in tütsch vertolmetschet, ir krafft unnd ducht, ir liebliche und schöne gar verlürend oder ye nitt gnuogsam ußtruckend. Uff das nun in sölichem dem Tütschen nüt manglete unnd der ursprünglichen spraach, in deren die propheten gschriben, eygenschafft und ard wol harfürbracht wurde, habend wir zuo zyten, wo es die not erforderet, annstatt des ebreischen ein anders gschoben, doch ein söliches, das die eigenschafft des ebreischen eygentlich zuo verston gebe.

That’s what translations are supposed to do!