Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bullinger and the writing of history

Bullinger was prolific in writing historical works, particularly about the Reformation in Switzerland up until the Kappel War. With reference to Bullinger’s Anklag, Bast noted that it “is utterly unselfconscious in its identification of the Swiss as the recipients of God’s covenant promises, more precious to him than the Jews; in it Swiss history becomes salvation history.” This was a way of highlighting the positive contributions of Zwingli. But precisely because Zwingli was such a controversial figure the publication of Bullinger’s Reformationsgeschichte was delayed. Detailed investigation of the Reformationsgeschichte by Moser revealed four constitutive elements of Bullinger’s historico-theological thinking that aid in the study of Bullingers works:

“1. History is understood essentially as covenant and salvation history, which has unfolded between God and humanity since the beginning of time and which reaches its culmination in Christ’s act of redemption and in his return at the end of time; 2. Biblical prophecy interprets the direction or periodization of history, especially church history; 3. History has a revelatory character –even if clearly subordinated to Scripture – and it serves as a source to make known God’s work and will; 4. Bullinger makes use of history in order to support his own argumentation as well as to expose and relativize false opinions in confessional confrontations.”

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