- Zwingli, Huldrych
- (1484-1531)Swiss religious reformer, the first major figure of the Reformed (later often called Calvinist) branch of Protestantism. Although he primarily figures in history as a leader of the Reformation in Zürich and as the first systematic de-fender of the Sacramentarian doctrine of the Eucharist, Zwingli be-gan his career as a young priest who was attracted to humanism. He studied classical languages at Bern (1496-1498) and then pursued traditional scholastic subjects at the University of Basel (B.A. 1504, M.A. 1506). When he moved from Basel to become pastor at Glarus, he continued his study of Greek language and the Church Fathers, and these interests led him to the study of the Bible and into the cir-cle of young Swiss admirers of the biblical humanist Erasmus.Zwingli matured as a preacher at Glarus and the great pilgrimage center at Einsiedeln, and when he moved to Zürich as the city's prin-cipal preacher in 1519, he cast aside the liturgical calendar of Scrip-ture readings and began preaching chapter by chapter through the Gospel of St. Matthew. His early preaching was inspired by Erasmus' biblical scholarship and conception of religion as the "philosophy of Christ," but his sermons increasingly reflected Lutheran influence, more than Zwingli ever acknowledged or even realized, though he honored Luther as a great religious leader. At Zürich, Zwingli moved from a reform-minded humanism to an evangelical or Protestant per-spective. He led the city in its sharp break away from traditional Catholic doctrine and religious practice and then worked to spread his ideas through the rest of Switzerland, an effort that generated con-flict with those Swiss cantons that remained firmly Catholic, giving rise to a civil war that in 1531 led to his death in battle.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.