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Dialogue and Disputation in the Zurich Reformation: Utz Eckstein’s «Concilium» and «Rychsztag»

Edition, Translation and Study

Nigel Harris and Joel, Rev. Love

This volume contains the first modern critical editions of Concilium (1525) and Rychsztag (1526), two vernacular verse dialogues by the Zurich-based Zwinglian author Utz Eckstein, together with translations of both into English prose. These works are of interest not just for their literary qualities (which differ markedly from those conventionally associated with ‘Reformation dialogues’), but also because of what they reveal about Zwingli’s theological and socio-political priorities in the mid-1520s. Along with many other aspects of the contemporary Swiss context, these features are examined in an introduction and in extensive elucidatory notes. An underlying thread of the authors’ interpretation is that, for all their evident desire to express and establish Evangelical perspectives, the Concilium and Rychsztag make imaginative and constructive use of specifically Swiss traditions of dialogue, which were expressed, for example, both in the consultative decision-making processes of rural communities and in the increasingly influential procedures of the formalized urban disputation.


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Preliminary remarks


The idea for the present book arose out of doctoral research into Utz Eckstein funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, carried out by Joel Love, and supervised by Nigel Harris. While significant parts of the introduction, and several of the elucidatory notes, draw on the resulting 2008 thesis, our editions and translations of Eckstein’s texts represent an entirely new and fully collaborative project. More- over a considerable amount of additional research, particularly into Eckstein’s life, the textual history of the Concilium and Rychsztag, and various aspects of their theological and cultural environment, has been undertaken by Nigel Harris in the context of a period of study leave awarded by the University of Birmingham. We would like to thank our academic colleagues, particularly Graeme Murdock, who helped to supervise an earlier piece of re- search; David Hill and Ulrike Zitzlsperger, who examined the PhD thesis and gave crucial advice about the ‘next stage’; the late Ben Benedikz for philological support; Ron Speirs and Robert Swanson for practical help; and Sania Reddig, Alan Suter, Antje Pieper, Robert Evans, Elystan Griffiths, and Joanne Sayner for many timely morale- boosts. Joel Love thanks Adrian Newman, Mike Murkin, Jacki Graham, and the staff of St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham (where he worked throughout his PhD), as well as Janet Bonner and the Infor- mation Services team at Birmingham University Library. Our thanks also go to the Rare Books and other specialist librarians of the British Library, Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek,...

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