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The Swiss Reformation

Initially, there were two main currents of the Reformation in Europe: one was the Lutheran tradition in north and central Germany, the second was the Reformed tradition in Switzerland

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Initially, there were two main currents of the Reformation in Europe: one was the Lutheran tradition in north and central Germany, the second was the Reformed tradition in Switzerland. For centuries, the Swiss republic had fought to preserve its territory and identity against the princely families of the German empire; this fierce sense of nationalism and independence would characterize the Reformation in Switzerland as well. Ulrich Zwingli was the leading figure -- as chief pastor at Zurich, he took center stage in the conflicts and disputations. He was a formidable scholar and incisive commentator on the Bible; and no mean statesman either. He died prematurely, as a chaplain during the famous battle of Cappel. We offer two volumes of his works, including most of the essential writings -- treatises, letters, and expository works. The Commentary on True and False Religion is perhaps his greatest work, and a true classic of the period. Also included is Joseph Hottinger's Life and Times of Ulrich Zwingli.

Zwingli's successor at Zurich was Heinrich Bullinger, whose played a prominent role (alongside John Calvin), in establishing the doctrinal standards of the Reformed Churches. Bullinger was especially influential and revered among the English Reformers. His Decades -- a collection of 50 sermons, expanded and arranged into a kind of systematic theology -- was, for a time, the chief theological textbook in England, achieving a greater popularity even than Calvin's Institutes.

The Anabaptists were also an important, if somewhat forgotten, part of the Swiss Reformation. Many died young (some in prison or at the stake), persecuted by both Catholics and fellow-Protestants. From Switzerland and southern Germany, the movement spread north and east, encountering persecution at almost every turn. We offer a selection of their writings, along with historical articles and documentation, as well as a History of the Anabaptists in Switzerland, by H. S. Burrage.

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What's Included

Works of the Swiss Reformation, Volume 1: Select Treatises and Letters of Ulrich Zwingli

  •  The Life of Zwingli, by Oswald Myconius
  • The Labyrinth (Spring, 1516)
  • Pestlied (1519)
  • Concerning Choice and Liberty Respecting Food (April, 1522)
  • Archeteles (Answer to the Bishop of Constance, August 1522)
  • Letter to Erasmus Fabricius, on the Visit of the Episcopal Delegation to Zurich (April, 1522)
  • Petition of Priests to the Bishop of Constance, to Be Allowed to Marry (July, 1522)
  • Acts of the First Zurich Disputation (January, 1523), including Zwingli's 67 Articles
  • Zurich Marriage Ordinance (1525)
  • On Original Sin (August, 1526)
  • Refutation of the Baptists (1527)
  • Confession of Faith, submitted to Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg (July, 1530)
  • Refutation of the Articles of Zwingli, by Johann Eck (July, 1530)
  • Letter to the Princes of Germany at Augsburg, regarding the Insults of Eck (August, 1530)
  • Sermon on the Providence of God (August, 1530)

[from a Sermon delivered at the famous Marburg Colloquy]

  • A Short and Clear Exposition of the Christian Faith (July, 1531)

 

Works of the Swiss Reformation, Volume 2: Zwingli's Commentary on True and False Religion, with Additional Select Treatises

  • Commentary on True and False Religion (1525)
  • Reply to Emser (1524) [regarding the Canon of the Mass; portions of the Reply were used in the Commentary of 1525]
  • Of the Clarity and Certainty or Infallibility of the Word of God (1522)
  • Of Baptism (1525) [excerpts]
  • On the Lord's Supper (1525) [excerpts]

 

Works of the Swiss Reformation, Volume 3: The Decades of Heinrich Bullinger [SwissRf3]
Bullinger's most famous work: 50 Sermons -- five sets of 10  sermons (hence 'Decades'), organized as a manual for theological instruction. It proved immensely popular and influential in England, for a time even surpassing Calvin's Institutes as a theological text-book. The sermons in the first two volumes are relatively short, those in the last three volumes are often quite lengthy, with frequent and extensive patristic citations. The Decades are organized as follows:

  • Decade 1: On the Apostles' Creed
  • Decades 2 and 3: On the Law and the Ten Commandments
  • Decade 4: Theological and Christological doctrines
  • Decade 5: Ecclesiology, esp. the Sacraments, the nature of the Church, government, discipline, etc.

There are two separate Dedications to King Edward VI., and a Biographical Notice on Bullinger is prefixed.

This, of course, is the Parker Society edition, with nearly complete textual footnotes provided

 

Works of the Swiss Reformation, Volume 4: Writings and Documents of Swiss Anabaptism

  • Introductory Chapters on Swiss Anabaptism
  • Introductory Articles
  • Article: The First Anabaptist Congregation: Zollikon, 1525

CONRAD GREBEL

  •  Select Letters and Extracts from other Writings
  •  On the Teachings of Conrad Grebel

BALTHASAR HUBMAIER

  • Article: Balthasar Hubmaier and the Beginnings of Swiss Anabaptism
  •  Hubmaier at the Second Zurich Disputation, followed by excerpts from numerous writings  
  • On the Sword (1527)
  • Statement of Faith (Rechenschaft) sent from Prison (1528)
  • A "Forgotten Hymn" of Hubmaier

HANS DENCK

  • Confession to the City Council of Nuremberg (January, 1525)
  • Letter to the City Council of Augsburg (c. 1526)
  • Letter to Oecolampadius (October, 1527) [extract]
  • Protestation and Confession (Denck's "Recantation", 1528)
  • Article: The Theology of Hans Denck

LUDWIG HAETZER

  •  On the Second Zurich Disputation (Haetzer was the secretary)
  •  Excerpted and complete Prefaces to several of his translations

[Hetzer was a gifted scholar and translator; his translation of the Hebrew Prophets was well-regarded, even by his enemies]

  • Concerning the Martyrdom of Ludwig Hetzer
  • Hymns of Hetzer

[MICHAEL SATTLER]

  • Concerning the Satisfaction of Christ

Three Swiss Brethren Tracts (c. 1525-1530)

  • The Hearing of False Prophets or Antichrists
  • Follow Only Men of the Word ("Concerning Evil Overseers")
  • On Christian Baptism

Two Early Anabaptist Tracts (c. 1527)

  •  An Anonymous Anabaptist Sermon (on Jeremiah 7 and 9)
  • An Exposition of the Lord's Prayer, by Hans Langenmantel

WILLIAM REUBLIN

  • Letter to Pilgram Marpeck (1531)

ADDITIONAL WRITINGS AND ARTICLES:

  • Martin Weninger's Vindication of Anabaptism (1535)
  •  On the Berne Disputation (1538)
  •  On the Confession of the Swiss Brethren in Hesse, 1578
  •  APPENDIX 1: Mandate from the Council of Zurich, concerning the Anabaptists (November, 1525)
  •  APPENDIX 2: "How to Deal with Anabaptists" - A Letter of Heinrich Bullinger
  •  APPENDIX 3: Hans Landis of Zurich, the Last Swiss Anabaptist Martyr

History of the Anabaptists in Switzerland, by Henry S. Burrage
A readable history, which covers much the same ground as the Swiss Anabaptism volume, but presented in a continuous historical narrative.

Life and Times of Ulrich Zwingli, by J. Hottinger

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The Swiss Reformation

The Swiss Reformation

Initially, there were two main currents of the Reformation in Europe: one was the Lutheran tradition in north and central Germany, the second was the Reformed tradition in Switzerland

Write a review