88 Facts About Zwingli


Huldrych or Ulrich Zwingli was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland, born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system.

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Zwingli attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly center of Renaissance humanism.

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Zwingli continued his studies while he served as a pastor in Glarus and later in Einsiedeln, where he was influenced by the writings of Erasmus.

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In 1519, Zwingli became the Leutpriester of the Grossmunster in Zurich where he began to preach ideas on reform of the Catholic Church.

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Zwingli clashed with the Anabaptists, which resulted in their persecution.

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Zwingli'storians have debated whether or not he turned Zurich into a theocracy.

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Zwingli formed an alliance of Reformed cantons which divided the Confederation along religious lines.

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Meanwhile, Zwingli's ideas came to the attention of Martin Luther and other reformers.

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In 1531, Zwingli's alliance applied an unsuccessful food blockade on the Catholic cantons.

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Swiss Confederation in Huldrych Zwingli's time consisted of thirteen states as well as affiliated areas and common lordships.

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The religious factions of Zwingli's time debated vociferously the merits of sending young Swiss men to fight in foreign wars mainly for the enrichment of the cantonal authorities.

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At ten years old, Zwingli was sent to Basel to obtain his secondary education where he learned Latin under Magistrate Gregory Bunzli.

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The Dominicans in Bern tried to persuade Zwingli to join their order and it is possible that he was received as a novice.

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Zwingli enrolled in the University of Vienna in the winter semester of 1498 but was expelled, according to the university's records.

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However, it is not certain that Zwingli was indeed expelled, and he re-enrolled in the summer semester of 1500; his activities in 1499 are unknown.

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Zwingli continued his studies in Vienna until 1502, after which he transferred to the University of Basel where he received the Master of Arts degree in 1506.

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Zwingli placed himself solidly on the side of the Roman See.

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Zwingli took the role of chaplain in several campaigns in Italy, including the Battle of Novara in 1513.

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Zwingli's countrymen were presented as virtuous people within a French, imperial, and papal triangle.

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Zwingli stayed in Einsiedeln for two years during which he withdrew completely from politics in favour of ecclesiastical activities and personal studies.

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Zwingli's library contained over three hundred volumes from which he was able to draw upon classical, patristic, and scholastic works.

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Zwingli exchanged scholarly letters with a circle of Swiss humanists and began to study the writings of Erasmus.

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Zwingli's turn to relative pacifism and his focus on preaching can be traced to the influence of Erasmus.

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Zwingli's connection with humanists was a decisive factor as several canons were sympathetic to Erasmian reform.

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Zwingli continued to read and interpret the book on subsequent Sundays until he reached the end and then proceeded in the same manner with the Acts of the Apostles, the New Testament epistles, and finally the Old Testament.

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One view is that Zwingli was trained as an Erasmian humanist and Luther played a decisive role in changing his theology.

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Zwingli attacked moral corruption and in the process he named individuals who were the targets of his denunciations.

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In 1519, Zwingli specifically rejected the veneration of saints and called for the need to distinguish between their true and fictional accounts.

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Zwingli cast doubts on hellfire, asserted that unbaptised children were not damned, and questioned the power of excommunication.

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Zwingli's attack on the claim that tithing was a divine institution had the greatest theological and social impact.

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Zwingli insisted that he was not an innovator and that the sole basis of his teachings was Scripture.

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Zwingli responded with displeasure that the people were not being properly informed about the conditions of the indulgence and were being induced to part with their money on false pretences.

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Zwingli described his preparation for death in a poem, Zwingli's Pestlied, consisting of three parts: the onset of the illness, the closeness to death, and the joy of recovery.

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Zwingli retained his post as the people's priest of the Grossmunster.

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Zwingli noted that no general valid rule on food can be derived from the Bible and that to transgress such a rule is not a sin.

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Zwingli defended himself against charges of inciting unrest and heresy.

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Zwingli denied the ecclesiastical hierarchy any right to judge on matters of church order because of its corrupted state.

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Fabri, who had not envisaged an academic disputation in the manner Zwingli had prepared for, was forbidden to discuss high theology before laymen, and simply insisted on the necessity of the ecclesiastical authority.

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The decision of the council was that Zwingli would be allowed to continue his preaching and that all other preachers should teach only in accordance with Scripture.

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Supporters of the mass claimed that the eucharist was a true sacrifice, while Zwingli claimed that it was a commemorative meal.

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Zwingli's opponent was the aforementioned canon, Konrad Hofmann, who initially supported Zwingli's election.

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Zwingli believed the opinions of the people would gradually change and the voluntary removal of images would follow.

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Zwingli wrote a booklet on the evangelical duties of a minister, Kurze, christliche Einleitung, and the council sent it out to the clergy and the members of the Confederation.

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Zwingli gave a formal opinion in Vorschlag wegen der Bilder und der Messe .

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Zwingli wrote an official response for the council and the result was the severance of all ties between the city and the diocese.

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Some time Zwingli had accused mendicant orders of hypocrisy and demanded their abolition in order to support the truly poor.

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Zwingli suggested the monasteries be changed into hospitals and welfare institutions and incorporate their wealth into a welfare fund.

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Zwingli requested permission to establish a Latin school, the Prophezei or Carolinum, at the Grossmunster.

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The Zurich Bible translation, traditionally attributed to Zwingli and printed by Christoph Froschauer, bears the mark of teamwork from the Prophecy school.

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Shortly after the second Zurich disputation, many in the radical wing of the Reformation became convinced that Zwingli was making too many concessions to the Zurich council.

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Zwingli secretly conferred with Grebel's group and late in 1524, the council called for official discussions.

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When talks were broken off, Zwingli published Wer Ursache gebe zu Aufruhr clarifying the opposing points-of-view.

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Zwingli was the first Anabaptist martyr; three more were to follow, after which all others either fled or were expelled from Zurich.

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Zwingli was to be banned and his writings were no longer to be distributed.

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Zwingli assumed the main burden of defending the Reformation and he preached twice in the Munster.

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Zwingli outlined justifications for an attack on the Catholic states and other measures to be taken.

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Zwingli demanded the dissolution of the Christian Alliance; unhindered preaching by reformers in the Catholic states; prohibition of the pension system; payment of war reparations; and compensation to the children of Jacob Kaiser.

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Zwingli began to express his thoughts on the eucharist in several publications including de Eucharistia .

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Understanding that Christ had ascended to heaven and was sitting at the Father's right hand, Zwingli criticized the idea that Christ's humanity could be in two places at once.

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Zwingli accepted Philip's invitation fully believing that he would be able to convince Luther.

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Yet, Zwingli replied, if the words were taken in their literal sense, the body had to be eaten in the most grossly material way.

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The main issue for Zwingli was not the irrationality or exegetical fallacy of Luther's views.

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Zwingli personally negotiated with France's diplomatic representative, but the two sides were too far apart.

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Zwingli then produced his own private confession, Fidei ratio in which he explained his faith in twelve articles conforming to the articles of the Apostles' Creed.

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Zwingli interpreted this to mean that preaching should be permitted, but the Five States suppressed any attempts to reform.

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Zwingli had considered himself first and foremost a soldier of Christ; second a defender of his country, the Confederation; and third a leader of his city, Zurich, where he had lived for the previous twelve years.

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Zwingli placed its authority above other sources such as the ecumenical councils or the Church Fathers, although he did not hesitate to use other sources to support his arguments.

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The principles that guide Zwingli's interpretations are derived from his rationalist humanist education and his Reformed understanding of the Bible.

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Zwingli rejected literalist interpretations of a passage, such as those of the Anabaptists, and used synecdoche and analogies, methods he describes in A Friendly Exegesis .

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Zwingli paid attention to the immediate context and attempted to understand the purpose behind it, comparing passages of scripture with each other.

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Zwingli rejected the word sacrament in the popular usage of his time.

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For Zwingli, a sacrament was an initiatory ceremony or a pledge, pointing out that the word was derived from sacramentum meaning an oath.

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Zwingli challenged Catholics by accusing them of superstition when they ascribed the water of baptism a certain power to wash away sin.

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Zwingli argued that baptism was a sign of a covenant with God, thereby replacing circumcision in the Old Testament.

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Zwingli approached the eucharist in a similar manner to baptism.

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Zwingli used various passages of scripture to argue against transubstantiation as well as Luther's views, the key text being John 6:63, "It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh is of no avail".

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Zwingli himself asserted vigorously his independence of Luther and the most recent studies have lent credibility to this claim.

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Zwingli appears to have read Luther's books in search of confirmation from Luther for his own views.

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Zwingli agreed with the stand Luther took against the pope.

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Zwingli enjoyed music and could play several instruments, including the violin, harp, flute, dulcimer and hunting horn.

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Zwingli criticized the practice of priestly chanting and monastic choirs.

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Zwingli associated music with images and vestments, all of which he felt diverted people's attention from true spiritual worship.

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Zwingli eliminated instrumental music from worship in the church, stating that God had not commanded it in worship.

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Zwingli was a humanist and a scholar with many devoted friends and disciples.

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Zwingli was more conscious of social obligations than was Luther, and he genuinely believed that the masses would accept a government guided by God's word.

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Zwingli tirelessly promoted assistance to the poor, who he believed should be cared for by a truly Christian community.

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Zwingli had instituted fundamental reforms; Bullinger consolidated and refined them.

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Zwingli is often called, after Martin Luther and John Calvin, the "Third Man of the Reformation".

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