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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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Edition and translation of the Concilium


Concilium [Air] Concilium. HIe in dem bůch wirt diſputiert Das puren lang zyt hat verfürt Heilgen fürbit / ouch des bapſts gwalt vom Fägfhür / ouch was dMäſs innhalt. 5 Deßglychen von dem Sacrament. von Zins / Zähenden / gült vnd rent. Von Bicht / was die vor Gott nützt / darumb hie Pur gen Doctor ſitzt. {Doctor Eck. {Thoman Klotz. 10 {Doctor Faber. {Knüchel Fritz. {Doctor Murner. {Cleywi Fenchmul. {Doc. Fritz Lindou. {Ios Hechelzan. {Doctor Laurentz. {Hans Ofenrůß. 4 baſts A 64 The Council Here in this book things will be debated which have long led farmers astray: prayers to the saints, the power of the Pope, purgatory, and what the Mass involves. Also the sacrament,1 interest payments, tithes, taxes and tributes,2 and confession and its value before God. To debate these things farmers are seated here opposite learned doctors: Dr Eck Thoman Klotz3 Dr Faber Fritz Knüchel4 Dr Murner Cleywi Fenchmul5 Dr Fritz Lindou6 Joß Hechelzan7 Dr Laurentz8 Hans Ofenrůß 1 The title page seems to have been intended primarily to catch the eye of the prospective reader, rather than to set out the order in which the topics will be discussed. Nevertheless what amounts to a double mention of the Eucharist does underline its importance in what follows – as well as enabling Eckstein’s list to contain seven items, in line with seven’s status as a holy number and with late-medieval...

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