Monday, June 25, 2012

Bullinger and the writing of history

Christian Moser has just written a mammoth work on Bullinger's writing of history: Die Dignit├Ąt des Ereignisses: Studien zu Heinrich Bullingers Reformationsgeschichtsschreibung published by Brill 2012.

This is a summary of what to expect in the book:

The study examines the published and unpublished historical works and materials written by the Zurich Reformer Heinrich Bullinger primarily considering the Reformation History preserved in his handwritten manuscript from the 1560s. Its origin, sources, and his applied work processes are analyzed in the context of the theological assumptions and methodological claims of Bullinger’s historiography, which are also classified and examined against the background of early modern humanist and confessional historiography. The history of reception and influence of Bullinger’s Reformation History are another aspect of this analysis of what came to be a foundational source for later Reformation historians. In addition to this investigation, numerous unpublished source materials by Bullinger are edited, and detailed descriptions of extant transcripts are documented.

This is a must read book for all serious students of Bullinger!

Monday, June 11, 2012


The following I have just cut and past from Jim West’s blog (

No matter who a man may be, if he teaches you in accordance with his own thought and mind his teaching is false. But if he teaches you in accordance with the Word of God, it is not he that teaches you, but God who teaches him. For as Paul says, who are we but ministers of Christ and dispensers or stewards of the mysteries of God?
Again, I know for certain that God teaches me, because I have experienced the fact of it; and to prevent misunderstanding this is what I mean when I say that I know for certain that God teaches me. When I was younger, I gave myself overmuch to human teaching, like others of my day, and when about seven or eight years ago I undertook to devote myself entirely to the Scriptures I was always prevented by philosophy and theology. But eventually I came to the point where led by Scripture and the Word of God I saw the need to set aside all these things and to learn the doctrine of God direct from his own Word.
Then I began to ask God for light and the Scriptures became far clearer to me – even though I read nothing else – than if I had studied many commentators and expositors. Note that that is always a sure sign of God’s leading; for I could never have reached that point by my own feeble understanding. You may see then that my interpretation does not derive from the over-estimation of myself, but the subjection. — Huldrych Zwingli

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Manuscript Quod in ecclesia Christi magistratus sit


A manuscript dated 1534 is kept at the Central  Library in Zurich – Ms S 34/190.

The title of the manuscript is ‘Quod in ecclesia Christi magistratus sit. Qui iure illam adversus haereticorum seditions, et tyrannorum incursions defendat.”

The following are six key statements that Bullinger makes in this manuscript.

      1. There is one God, one testament and one spirit of both the old and the new people.
      2. Consequently, the religion, the faith and the church of the ancients and ours is also the same, a few certain figures having been subtracted which had been introduced in consideration of the people and the times.
      3. Moreover, since there was a magistracy in the ancient (church), it follows logically, that it has not been annulled in ours.
      4. Furthermore, it is his duty to restrain blasphemy, to forbid heresies from the church and to take care of discipline.
      5. It is also his duty to guard the evangelical truth and its worshippers with arms, if it is truly necessary, against the wrongs of the godless ones.
      6. If the magistrate neglects this, dealing in the meatime (only) with civil justice and the like, he is impious and less than perfect (since he neglects religious matters).