why did the swiss reformation begin


[* ]I would like to thank Professor Werner L. Gundersheimer for his kindness in reading an early draft of this essay and making several helpful suggestions. . Zwinglis studies at Vienna were interrupted in 1499, when he may have been dismissed for a time, but they were resumed and completed by 1502, when Zwingli went to Basel for a Masters degree. The six bishoprics of Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Constance, Sion, and Chur were rendered weaker because of the irregularity of political and ecclesiastical territories.

These seasons built a deep love for his country in his heart which would later fuel his work of reform. As they spun their colorful tales young Zwingli would sit transfixed listening to these stories. While theGerman Reformationwas gaining traction under the influence of such thought leaders as Luther and Melancthon, theSwiss Reformationrose as a parallel movement, the two being joined together by similar ideologies and yet having very little actual contact with each other. By 1525, the radicals had come to the conclusion that only an understanding, consenting, instructed adult should be permitted to be baptized, since understanding and consent implied a valid and profound commitment to a true Christian life. Lewis Spitz, The Protestant Reformation (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1966) offers a smaller anthology of source materials. [16. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1901). Zwinglis preaching thus not only revealedto many for the first timethe essential principles of Scripture, but attacked ecclesiastical and social abuses in an Erasmian vein.

AND THE SON OF MAN, THAT THOU VISITEST HIM? Zwinglis theology had centered on an anti-hierarchical view of the church and a firm belief in mans inability to acquire meritorious grace through sacramental acts. Matthew, Luke, Paul, and Peter watered, but God in wonderful manner gave the harvest.9. Traditional tensions among the Swiss cantons were also evident around 1500. ]On Zwingli and the Anabaptists, see Hans J. Hillerbrand, The Origin of Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism, Archiv fr Reformationsgeschichte 53 (1962), 152-80, and Peter Classen, Zwingli and the Zrich Anabaptists, in Gottesreich und Menschenreich. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1901). Whatever line of investigation we pursue, with a sincere purpose to arrive at truth, we are brought in touch with the unseen, mighty Intelligence that is working in and through all.

Until the end of the thirteenth century the rural and urban areas of what is now Switzerland were known to most Europeans as a land of river valleys and difficult mountain passes which afforded the traveller access to the busier and culturally more attractive lands of Italy and France.4 Internally, these areas were ruled by lords spiritual and temporal, cousins of the great feudal nobles, bishops, and abbots who elsewhere ruled so much of Europe. Here he preached a series of sermons on the New Testament thatwere based solely on the Bible and made no reference to a scrap of church doctrine or dogma. By the late fifteenth century the Confederation had become involved in the larger quarrels of the principalities and kingdoms surrounding it. However, as he immersed himself in the Word of God Zwingli found himself turning away from this ideology to embrace the word of God as the sole authority and the only means through which man might gain a proper concept of Salvation. Its miracle-working statue of the Virgin attracted huge pilgrimages, and the post was an important one. Such religious dissent as was presenthumanist and Erasmian among the learned and the patricians, and social and evangelical among the uneducated and poorprobably did not seem as dangerous as the political and economic problems which the city officials controlled. Liberty Fund, Inc. All rights reserved. The issues of mercenary service and town relations with the recruiters of the great powers and underemployment of urban and rural workers remained just beneath the surface of political life, however, and, as was the case with other social problems during the late middle ages, these could not be considered as separable from religious concerns. tr. His inability to remain sexually continent had troubled Zwingli during his years at Glarus and was to plague him through his arrival in Zrich. In many cases, they attacked specifically the reforms in their own districts; thus in Zrich they criticized Zwingli and the city government, and their attacks centered upon the question of infant baptism. Both Luther and Zwingli came harshly to reject radical reforms which threatened the stability of their societies and actively to persecute the representatives of these movements. In 1529 relations had so far deteriorated that the three forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden and their fellow Catholic cantonsZug and Lucerneformed a Christian Union with Frederick, Duke of Austria, to protect the Catholic faith. Tireless efforts were put forth to lure him into enlisting as a monk but his father, who had a great distaste and distrust of monks in general, being warned of the situation called for his son to return home. ]Cited by George R. Potter in Zwingli and Calvin, Hurstfield, Reformation Crisis, 32-43. Zwinglis more deliberate reform program produced the urban theocracy, the Christian city-state ruled by godly magistrates and pastors, the ideal which influenced not only Bern, Strasbourg, and Geneva, but Mnster and the early Massachusetts towns as well. Zwingli himself hastily mustered a force from the city and encountered the cantonal army at Kappel on October 31, 1531. The origins of this fierce localism are obscure, and the best characterization of its qualities is given by the modern English historian H. S. Offler: Whatever the origin of this free elementwhich it is simpler, and perhaps safer, to regard as persisting from the time of the Germanic occupationits importance, together with the necessity of the co-operation of all in the details of Alpine economy, had early promoted in the valleys the fusion of all the inhabitants into communities which in some sense overrode, though they did not abolish, the ordinary divisions of feudal lordship.5, This freedom was, of course, understood in the sense of freedom from excessive jurisdiction and interference on the part of an overlord in internal affairs, not political freedom in its later sense. The complex association of ecclesiastical reform movements with social welfare in the sixteenth century is considerably illuminated by the Zrich Poor Law and its influence. That people should always seek to retain Swiss freedom.8. In certain specific areas relations broke down quickly and emphatically. Erasmus and the New Testament seem to have occupied his time and his mind, as his notes in his library volumes indicate. In 1525-27, city ordinances were proclaimed against assemblies of the Anabaptists, and by 1529 Anabaptist beliefs were declared a capital crime. Erasmus was a former monk released from his vows who practiced the still-novel career of an independent man of letters. 25 of The Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia, 1957). Zwingli obeyed the wishes of his father and returned home without delay but he was restless to return to his education and it wasnt long before he went back to school first in Vienna and then later in Basel where he was influenced by some of the brightest minds of the Renaissance, among whom were Erasmus, Oecolampadius, and Wittenbach. [2. A superb volume of Zwinglis writings, beautifully illustrated with scenes from the life of sixteenth-century Zrich is Ulrich Zwingli. This led to an outbreak of war in 1531 and Zwingli himself went into battle with the Protestant forces and was killed in the Battle of Kappel. The unique Swiss phenomenon of shared jurisdictionsareas within the Confederation in which justice was supervised jointly by two or more membersimmediately raised the question of ecclesiastical conflict. His immersion in classical literature and his pastoral duties were rudely interrupted by Pope Julius II declaring war on Louis XII of France and calling the priests and bishops of the church to join him in his holy war. In 1525 Zwingli explained his views in a tract entitled On Baptism.13. [14. Desiderius Erasmus (1466(? As Zwinglis ideas of reform matured his goal became to use the Scriptures as a guide for not just religious and moral life but also for social and political reform as well, thus setting the tone for the Swiss Reformation and laying the groundwork for the social reform that would be propagated byCalvinin the future. One reason for this popularity may well have been his introduction of the practice of preaching about the text of Scripture and interpreting it directly without availing himself of the standardized readings which had long since constituted the main staple of medieval preachers.

Rome was infuriated and tried in vain to silence the reformer. ]Hans J. Hillerbrand, The Reformation in Its Own Words (New York, 1964), 118. Any errors and infelicities that remain, however, are entirely my own. in Bromiley, Zwingli and Bullinger 176-238. In the period 1525-27 the opposition between Zwingli and Zrich, on the one hand, and the Anabaptistsas the radicals were now calledon the other, increased.

He insisted that the government should maintain law and justice, and protect widows and orphans. They reflected and extended that world, and the influence of their work helped to change it forever.

In the journal Zwingliana: Mitteilungen zur Geschichte Zwinglis und der Reformation (Zrich, 1904- ) may be found the most contemporary Zwingli-research. Both Erasmus and Luther began as characteristic types of late medieval culture, and the surroundings in which they lived and worked exerted a considerable influence on the development and the wide impact of their ideas. In his sexual appetiteswhich were probably not very dissimilar from those of other Swiss rural clergyhe saw a problem which he reported to have caused him considerable remorse and which his enemies were later to make much of. Then came Pauls First Letter to Timothy. After eighteen days of debate, Rome declared that the church was triumphant and the cause of the Reformation vanquished but history records the disputation at Baden as a catalyst to the spreading of Protestantism throughout Switzerland. Copyright 2003 2022, In establishing this court the city magistrates and pastors institutionalized their responsibilities of supervising the moral life of the town.

Afterwards I dealt with the Letter to the Hebrews so that the work and honour of Christ would be more clearly recognized. Eck and his entourage appealed to the authority and customs of the church, while the reformers appealed to Scripture. ]Eng. The death of Zwingli plunged Zrich into internal and external crises, and the passing of the guiding genius of the Swiss Reformation marked the end of the first phase of the religious transformation of Europe. Catholic officials from the forest cantons continued to persecute Protestants in these areas, and Protestant governments retaliated in kind. Zwinglis complete works are in the series Corpus Reformatorum, as Huldrych Zwinglis Smtliche Werke, many editors, published at Berlin and Zrich from 1904. Both mens thought reached out into a wider and more cosmopolitan world. 1519-1919 (Zrich, 1919). This controversy was the last stage in the deterioration of the relations between Zwingli and the radicals, a process which many historians have seen as having begun with Zwinglis resolution in 1523 to accomplish reform gradually with the cooperation of the city government. In changing the inner lives of men and women, it changed their social lives as well, the principles according to which they married, raised children, and conceived of themselves as members of ecclesiastical, economic, and political communities. Zwinglis father Huldrych was a shepherd during the summer months and his sons helped him lead the sheep to green pastures high up in the Swiss Alps. Throughout this early period in Zrich, Zwinglis response to his critics remained adamant: The Word of the Bible must prevail, whether it suits us or not. The hostility of the clergy who feared the abolition of many of their economic prerogativesindeed, in many cases, of the basis of their livelihoodcould not counter the wide-ranging social response to the new preacher. Since some possessed only a superficial knowledge of faith, I omitted the Second Letter to Timothy until I had expounded the Letter to the Galatians. The second crisis of Zwinglis last years arose from the traditional tension between the city of Zrich, now reformed, and the old forest cantons to the southUri, Schwyz, and Unterwaldenwhich had remained Catholic. The vast wealthand much of the temporal powerof the churches, monasteries, convents, and pilgrimage shrines of the Confederation had steadily decreased throughout the fifteenth century, as, indeed, had some of the spiritual prestige attached to them. Two mayorsburgomasterswere the symbolic heads of the city-state. Meanwhile, more sacrifices were demanded of the ordinary artisan and peasant than rewards were offered to them; an outer discipline was imposed. In the first instance, he refused to keep a church-appointed fast, calling it unscriptural and in the second instance, he, a Roman Catholic priest, openly married. His work in Zrich set the pattern for later reforms at Bern and at Geneva under Calvin. Among his reforms, Zwingli had attacked certain articles of sacramental theology, including the character of baptism. ]Of the Education of Youth is in, Zwingli and Bullinger, 96-118.

Several attempts on his life were made, and the enduring hostility of some segments of the population persisted, the reasons for this opposition having been analyzed most convincingly by Birnbaum. The means of instituting reform in the city did not always succeed in the countryside, and the rural areas around Zrich were both more conservative and more extreme in their response to the citys lead.

This gave him a greater desire to not only study the scriptures but to set in motion a reformation of the church by educating the people with regards to the truths of Scripture and contrasting them with the teachings of the church. In 1516 Zwingli was offered the benefice at the famous Benedictine monastery of Einsiedeln, one of the oldest and most venerated shrines in Europe. The Reformation, wherever it occurred, did not touch dogma and liturgy alone. Ancient Chinese Historical Documents: Shu King, Calvins Commentary on Pauls Epistle to the Romans, Hooker on Religious Controversy in England, St. Augustines City of God: Complete Table of Contents, St. Augustines City of God: Introduction.

If the purely confessional interests of many Reformation historians have often clouded that significance, it was not clouded for Zwingli, the citizen-body of Zrich, the magistrates, and the clergy who supported or opposed his reforms. Zwingli reluctantly followed the soldiers to war, but instead of taking up arms he functioned in the capacity of chaplain to the Swiss soldiers fighting in Italy. Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) shared at different times the interests of both Erasmus and Luther, and he too lived and worked in a social setting which was a recognizable type of late medieval society. Those whom his scholarly works did not or could not reach were stung by his mastery of scornful, withering Latin satire, a vein which was to contribute much to both the vernacular and the Latin literatures of the sixteenth century. These works reflect and illuminate the social and political difficulties of early reform movements as much as they do Zwinglis own development as a theologian, and they thus contribute to our understanding of the increasingly important questions touching the social and institutional history of the Reformation and the impact of Reformation theology upon social, cultural, and political institutions. ]See E. Bonjour, H. S. Offler, and G. R. Potter, A Short History of Switzerland (Oxford, 1952). The social divisions of the city and its surrounding countryside had begun to divide along religious lines as well. Between 1291 and 1314 they appear to have remained content with this loose arrangement, but their defeat of the forces of the Duke of Austria at Morgarten in 1315 welded the three cantons into a political unit.

The Great Minster (Grossmnster) of Zrich supported twenty-four canons, and the Fraumnster supported seven. Ernst Staehelin zum 80.

Its masters were the new men engaged in a struggle for control of the state; they used the Marriage Court, devised as an instrument of moral discipline, as an instrument of political rule. The public character of the disputation, the presence of official episcopal visitors including the Chancellor Johann Faber, and the city governments decision, that Master Zwingli shall continue to proclaim the Holy Gospel as hitherto, according to the spirit of God, constitute one of the most dramatic moments in Reformation history.

. Custom, Oecolampadius said, has no force in our Switzerland, unless it is according to the Constitution; now, in matters of faith, the Bible is our constitution. The contrast between the modest Oecolampadius and the haughty Eck was unmistakable. More comprehensive studies are: Gottfried W. Lochner, Huldrych Zwingli in neurer Sicht (Zrich-Stuttgart, 1969); Fritz Bsser, Das Katholische Zwinglibild von der Reformation bis zur Gegenwart (Zrich-Stuttgart, 1968); J. V. Pollet, O. P., Huldrych Zwingli et la rforme en Suisse dapres les recherches recentes (Paris, 1963). Zrich then capitulated in the Second Peace of Kappel, and the Swiss reformation was contained for a time within its old boundaries. Texts from the Anabaptist movement may be found in G. H. Williams, Spiritual and Anabaptist Writers, Vol. The First Zrich Disputation of 1523 (below, Selection Three) centered upon the recent ecclesiastical reforms in the city and Zwinglis theories concerning dogma and the nature of Christian society, summarized in his Sixty-Seven Conclusions (below, Selection Three).

Luther had no parishioners. Zwingli, who had contracted plague when the epidemic swept through Zrich in 1519, had earned a secure place in popular esteem for his heroic service among the stricken populace. . A convenient selection of Luthers works is John Dillenberger, Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings (Garden City, N. Y., 1961).

It was during his stay at Glarus that Zwingli first became acquainted with the writings of Erasmus, and with his eloquent and fierce denunciations of abuses in ecclesiastical institutions and in society in general. Yet Luther attacked peasants rebellions and radical critics of his theology with an enormous hostility, and he was willing to urge the civil authorities to deal savagely with those whom he rejected. The radical movement was weakened only in Zrich, however, for the Anabaptists successfully proselytized elsewhere, the movement coming to an early and terrible triumph in Mnster in 1534.15. The Great Council numbered two hundred members, and the Little Council numbered fifty. In 1506 Zwingli was invited by the population of Glarus to become its priest. Throughout his life Zwingli spoke the dialect of Swiss-German like a peasant, a dialect which, Luther was later to remark, was a shaggy, tangled German, which makes you sweat before you understand it.7 Zwinglis childhood, although doubtless touched frequently by severe rural Christian discipline, seems to have been both happy and normal.

Samuel Macauley Jackson [8. Farner is also the author of the masterful four-volume standard biography, Huldrych Zwingli (Zrich, 1943-1959). He rebuked vice, such as idleness, excesses in eating, drinking and apparel, gluttony, suppression of the poor, pensions, and wars. In the case of the latter, Zwingli had come to a position which maintained that although baptism had no sacramental efficacity, it could and should be considered a public demonstration of a covenant and a public promise of a Christian upbringing; therefore, the city magistrates might legitimately require infant baptism, not as a sacrament, but as a commitment to a Christian life. As a sign of the civic character of the Zrich reformation, Zwingli resigned his episcopal appointment as Peoples Priest and was given in its stead a commission from the city itself. Several reform centers of the early Reformation often turned upon those reformers who would have carried reform even further, and persecuted them mercilessly. His personal and intellectual reputation enhanced his standing in the eyes of all social groups. The men would huddle around the fire and tell stories of Swiss history. Accordingly I also interpreted the two letters of Peter, the Prince of the apostles, to show them that the two apostles proclaimed the same message, moved by the same Spirit. Earlier rulers had encouraged the confederations of regions, primarily for commercial purposes, and before the expansion of Habsburg power they had generally left the government of these areas to the regions themselves. Zrichs leadership in the movement away from mercenary military activity, the old ambitions of the city to dominate the Confederation, and the religious homogeneity between the forest cantons and the rest of Catholic Europe heightened the stresses of the early sixteenth century. ]Birnbaum, The Zwinglian Reformation in Zrich, 44.

He remained at Basel from 1502 to 1506, studying at a distinguished university in a wealthy, cosmopolitan city, where he soon earned the reputation of a good Latin scholar and seems to have enjoyed the company of a lively group of humanists. The powers of the court were later greatly extended, and this institution may in fact be considered the foundation of the theocratic community in Zrich (below, Selection Four). In addition to commerce, much of Zrichs wealth came from the income of mercenaries and recruiters, a weapons industry, and the lucrative administrative careers of Zrichs citizens in the affairs of the neighboring rural areas. It may have been in the wake of the disaster of Marignano that Zwinglis revulsion against the mercenary system fully developed. Czechowski: First Contact With Europe. The ecclesiastical divisions of the Swiss Confederation were older than the political divisions. Tithes, indulgences, claustral vows, the practice of indiscriminate hiring-out as mercenary troops to any paymaster, the social and moral abuses generated by the crises of urban life, all these became the targets of Zwinglis sermons, and they were further assaulted by his minute barrage of Scriptural references. In Zrich, the Reformation meant practical, pragmatic changes in the life and character of the city as well as in its forms of religious belief and expression. The 7 Churches of Revelation Introduction, Literature | An Impetus for Revival and Reformation, Remembering The Reformation Behind The Scenes, Australia & New Zealand Behind the Scenes and Bloopers, Lineage 3ABN Interview Behind the Scenes, College of the Barbs, Waldensian Valleys, 360, MISSION MOVEMENT: THE WALDENSIAN TRAINING SCHOOLS, WALDENSIANS MOTTO: LUX LUCET IN TENEBRIS, ENGLAND: FROM THE AGE OF ELIZABETH TO THE GLORIOUS REVOLUTION, THE BRITISH ISLES AND THE CELTIC CHURCH (400 600 AD), EUROPE IN THE LATE MIDDLE AGES (1300 1500), JOHN CALVIN: VANGUARD OF THE FRENCH REFORMATION, MARTIN LUTHER: POINT MAN OF THE REFORMATION, HUSS AND JEROME: THE BOHEMIAN REFORMATION, GEORGE WISHART AND THE SCOTTISH REFORMATION, JOHN WYCLIFFE: MORNING STAR OF THE REFORMATION, WILLIAM MILLER: EARLY LIFE AND CONVERSION, WILLIAM MILLER: STUDY AND CALL TO MINISTRY, ELLEN WHITE: FIRST VISION AND CALL TO MINISTRY, John Andrews: The Ablest Man In Our Ranks, ELLEN WHITE: CALL TO MINISTRY AND EARLY YEARS, M.B.
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