Two New Popular Biographies Of Zwingli

William Boekestein has published two popular biographies of Zwingli in recent years

“With these two volumes Boekestein, a minister in the United Reformed Churches in North America, has done us a service by providing accessible, popular pathways into Zwingli’s world, life, theology, piety, and practice and for that we are in his debt.”


Since this is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses (October 31, 1517) this has been understandably designated the “Luther Year.” There were, however, other figures in the Reformation, who made their own contribution. Huldrych (or Ulrich) Zwingli (1484–1531) is among the more significant first-generation Reformers. Despite the fact that he was Luther’s contemporary and frequent adversary, and despite his significance for the Reformed tradition in the Reformation, he is relatively ignored. In my first year of teaching the seminary course in Medieval and Reformation church history I commented in passing that though there are societies devoted to the study of Luther and Calvin there is no such Zwingli Studies Society. Some of the students took that as a challenge and began meeting as the “Zwingli Society.” However interesting the discussions were (and sometimes they were), the study of Zwingli was not advanced. Remarkably, there is still no actual English-language Zwingli Studies Society. There is, however, a Swiss organization devoted to the study of Zwingli and the Swiss Reformation: Zwingliverein, which was founded in 1897, which publishes the magazine Zwingliana in association with Die Institut für Schweizerische Reformationsgeschichte.

In 2013–14 our library accessioned 7 English-language titles containing the word Luther. Luther titles began to appear with more frequency, of course, as the LutherPalooza approached. This year, who knows how many Luther titles will appear. Of course, Zwingli titles appear much more infrequently but Zwingli deserves some attention.

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