Zwingli

Life and times of Ulrich Zwingli, as relevent to the AS Early History Course (Luther Paper).

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  • Created by: Tiula
  • Created on: 27-03-11 20:58

Early Life

  • born 1484 (six weeks younger than Luther)
  • born into a lowly family, he was intelligent and attended university, where he was under the influence of Christian Humanist ideas
  • after he left university, he became a priest, and served for some times as a chaplain (army priest) to Swiss mercenaries who were fighting in Italian wars
    •  it was at this point that Zwingli became distressed by the number of Swiss lives being sold to foreign wars
    • ages 22 he left the chaplaincy and returned to Switzerland, becoming a parish priest, a few years later returning to Zurich
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Zwingli the Reformer

Two main events transformed Zwingli into a reformer:

The Battle of Marignano -- 1515

  • 6000 young Swiss mercenaries were slaughtered in the service of the Pope
  • Zwingli was immensely distressed and revolted by the idea of selling "blood for gold"
  • not only were innocent lives being destroyed, but Zwingli was also convinced that it was corrupting men's souls through greed.

Erasmus' Greek New Testament -- 1516

  • Zwingli was inspired by the experience of reading the Bible in its more original form, just as Luther was
  • he was shocked to see how far the Church appeared to have strayed from the orignial word of God
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Reforming Zulrich

  • in 1518 Zwingli became parish priest in Zulrich
  • he persuaded the authorities not to let the indulgence sellers into the city
  • a few years later, he publicly criticised the Catholic practice of fasting in Lent and clerical celibacy
    • deliberately and provocatively organised a "Sausage Sunday", preparing a meal of smoked sausages, breaking the ban on eating meat in Lent
  • in his open letter to the Bishop of Constance, Apologeticus Archeteles, in 1522, he attacked the authority of the Pope
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The Sixty-Seven Articles

In short, the sixty-seven articles (written by Zwingli in 1523):

  • rejected the authority of the Pope
  • challenged monasticism and clerical celibacy
  • criticised Lenten fasts, the worship of relics and the sale of indulgences
    • here we see his views on "Salvation by Faith Alone" for the first time
  • criticised prayers to saints
  • challenged pilgrimages
  • denied the existance of purgatory
  • rejected music as a "sensual snare"
  • denied the real presence of God in the Eucharist
    • claimed it was only symbolic, unlike Luther, who believed in consubstantiation 
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Zwinglian Reforms

  • gradually, Zulrich and surrounding towns began to take up his ideas practically
  • they were done slowly "so as not to leave the weaker brethren behind" (Zwingli)
  • the authorities did not want to alienate its Catholic allies and neighbours
  • the Pope owned debts to Zulrich -- a sudden change might risk them not being paid back 
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