Zwingli: Third Man of the Reformation

By Jean Rilliet and Harold Knight (translator)

A comprehensive analysis of Zwingli’s life and his role in the reformation, in Switzerland and beyond

ISBN: 9780227179635


Ulrich, or Huldrych, Zwingli of Zürich is the ‘great unknown’ of the Reformation in Europe, and yet his influence and ideas have penetrated into every part of the world where the Reformed tradition has been planted. He was neither a passionate man of religion like Luther, nor a superb dialectician like Calvin. But in his lucid radicalism and belief in thorough reform in Church doctrine as well as in government, Zwingli stands with his two more famous brethren as a ‘Father of the Reformation’.

First published in English in 1964, Jean Rilliet’s biography places Zwingli in the context of Swiss church history, as well as that of the sixteenth-century upheaval of which he was a part. Covering every aspect of Zwingli’s career, with detailed discussion of his more influential writings, the picture that emerges is one of a ‘fighting prophet’, unremittent in his search for God in this most turbulent of times.

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Pages 324

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About the Author

Jean Rilliet (1908-1980) was a Swiss reformed theologian. After studying in Strasbourg, Lausanne, Glasgow and Basel, he served as a pastor in Switzerland and abroad, and from 1964 at the Cathedral of St Pierre in Geneva. His doctoral thesis, on Alexandre Vinet, was completed in 1938, and in 1940 he was appointed lecturer at the University of Geneva, with research interests in Calvin, Barth and Ignatian theology. Besides his academic work, Rilliet wrote extensively on religion for the Geneva Tribune.


Author’s Foreword
Introduction: The Swiss Background

Part One: The Formative Years
1. Childhood and Education
2. Vicar of Glarus and Chaplain in Italy
3. Chaplain A Einsiedeln: Th e Call To Zürich
4. Beginnings at Zürich: the Great Plague
Part Two: The Reformer
Zwingli, the Biblical Preacher
6. Ways and Means: the Temporizer
7. Lent, 1522: the Dramatic Affair of the Sausages
8. Final Attempts at Conciliation: the Rupture
Part Three: Th e Protestant Revolution
Abandonment of Ancient Practices
10. End of Chapter and Cloisters
11. From Mass to Lord’s Supper
Part Four: Th e Theological Thought of Zwingli
12. A Book for France: the De vera et falsa religione
13. Doctrine of God and of Man: Origin and Nature of Religion: The Christ
14. Gospel and Penitence: Law and Sin
15. The Power of the Keys – the Church: the Idea of the Sacrament: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
16. Confession, Marriage, Monastic Vows, Invocation of Saints, Images, Merit, Prayer, and Purgatory
17. Temporal Authority
Part Five: Divergence of the Ways
Rupture with Erasmus
19. The Anabaptist Drama
20. Opposition of the Catholic Cantons: Conversations with Rome
21. The Baden Disputation
22. Local Opposition Crushed
23. Scholar and Family Man
Part Six: The Development of the Reformation
The Matrimonal Tribunal: Formation of the New Clergy
25. The Berne Disputation (1528)
26. Organization of the Church: Development of State Discipline
27. The First War of Cappel (1529)
Part Seven: The Eucharistic Controversy
29. Preliminaries of the Quarrel
30. Zürich against Wittenberg
31. The Strasburg Mediators and Philip of Hesse
32. Arrival at Marburg: the De Providentia Dei
33. The Colloquy
Part Eight: Last Struggles
Projects of Alliance: Venice and France
35. In the Shadow of the Diet of Augsburg
36. The Royal Writings
37. Switzerland under the Shadow of Anxiety and Suspicion
38. On the Battlefield (1531)
Epilogue and Conclusion

Appendix I
Appendix II


Endorsements and Reviews

An exceedingly well planned volume, which, after an introductory essay on the Swiss people, takes the reader through every important aspect of Zwingli’s career, including Marburg with all of its political and theological difficulties, and even manages to seize upon the appearance of Zwingli’s Commentarius de vera et false religione (1525) to offer a descriptive review of Zwingli’s theology in the course of some thirty pages. . . . A sound, eminently readable, even absorbing biography, that teaches us more about Zwingli, and does him greater justice, than any comparable volume I am aware of. Bart Thompson, in Church History