Huldreich Zwingli

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Zwingli, Huldreich


Born Jan. 1, 1484, in Wildhaus; died Oct. 11, 1531, near Kappel. Swiss religious reformer and political figure. Founder of Zwinglianism, one of the burgher-bourgeois Protestant movements.

Zwingli was the son of a village magistrate. He was one of the most highly educated humanists of his time. Zwingli’s reforming work took place in Zürich, where he was appointed people’s priest in 1519, and was closely connected with the intensified sociopolitical struggle in the city. Progressive townspeople, who were associated with the new capitalist attitudes, the guilds, and the local peasantry opposed the patricians, the nobility, and the leadership of the city. Expressing the interests of the former classes, Zwingli developed an integrated system for the reform of the church and the political order. Zwingli’s religious teachings had much in common with those of Luther, but Zwingli was more decisive than Luther in his opposition to the ceremonial aspects of Catholicism. He explained the sacraments of the Eucharist and baptism, for example, rationally, considering them symbols rather than mysteries. Zwingli opposed the republicanism of his church to the princely Lutheran Reformation. He advocated the possession of small holdings and condemned usury, serfdom, and the use of mercenaries.

In 1522, Zwingli openly broke with the pope, abandoned his priestly calling, and married. In the following year he emerged the victor in his dispute with the Catholic Church, and his 67 articles (1522) became the basis of Zwinglianism. In 1523, Zwingli began implementing his reform of the church and the political order in Zürich: monasteries were closed, images and relics were removed from churches, and monastery property was confiscated and turned over to the needs of charity and education. In addition, authority in the city passed from the oligarchical small council to the great council, in which the guilds dominated; the use of mercenaries and the acceptance of foreign pensions were made punishable by death. Zwinglianism also won out in Bern, Basel, Schaffhausen, Glarus, and St. Gallen which together with Zürich joined in the Christian Civic Alliance.

Zwingli, however, not only failed to draw strength from the peasant movement that arose in Zürich in 1524, but through minor concessions to the authorities accompanied by repression he brought about its elimination and instigated a persecution of the Anabaptists. Zwingli insisted on retaining the large tithe, gave his church a strict organizational form, and made the church dependent on the civil authorities. As a result, Zwingli weakened the mass support for his reforms. In a war with the Catholic forest cantons, the Zürich forces were defeated and Zwingli was killed in a battle at Kappel.


Sämtliche Werke, vols. 1–14. Leipzig-Zürich, 1904–68.


Prozorovskaia, B. D. Ul’rikh Tsvingli. St. Petersburg, 1892.
Köhler, W. Huldrych Zwingli, 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1954.
Farner, O. Huldrych Zwingli. vols. 1–4. Zürich, 1943–60.


References in periodicals archive ?
Huldrych Zwingli assumed the office of people's priest in Zurich in January, 1519; by 1522, he had accepted the principle that Scripture alone was the ultimate authority for Christian doctrine and life.
Huldrych Zwingli prepared a document of sixty-seven points, outlining the central themes of his biblical preaching; the bishop decided to send a delegation, led by Johannes Fabri.
Gallen where he met with the leading reformer of that city, the doctor and humanist Vadian, and promoted reforming ideas with public preaching; he continued on to Zurich, where he met Huldrych Zwingli and had a fateful conversation with him that included a discussion of infant baptism.
position, including Erasmus, Karlstadt and Luther, but certainly Huldrych Zwingli was the reformer who most influenced Hubmaier's mature reformed position.
Gallen: the latter had no Huldrych Zwingli dominating its early reform movement from the pulpit.
Sometime in 1523 (as nearly as can be established) some private discussions took place between Huldrych Zwingli and Leo Jud, on the one hand, and Simon Stumpf, Conrad Grebel and Felix Mantz on the other.
By the conclusion of the first section, Snyder observes, "There is a wide range of interpretation of the historical data documenting the evolving relationship between Huldrych Zwingli to the increasingly visible 'radical' elements"--an observation that is nothing if not an understatement.
Wayne Pipkin, Huldrych Zwingli Writings, Volume II: In Search of True Religion: Reformation, Pastoral and Eucharistic Writings (Allison Park, Pa.