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Clerical Discipline and the Rural Reformation

The Synod in Zürich, 1532 - 1580


Bruce Gordon

After the defeat at Kappel in 1531, the political and religious leaders of Zürich had to reckon with both the weak position of the Reformation in the Confederation and the precarious situation in their own rural territories. The reformation of these areas depended crucially upon the ability of both church and state to define and control the lives and doctrines of the ministers who preached in their name. Based on extensive archival research, this book offers a study of the historical and theological background to the first reformed disciplinary institution, the synod in Zürich. The emphasis is upon the individual cases of the ministers, which bring into sharp relief the multifarious difficulties of their positions and of the often disharmonious relationship between the «new faith» and the religious needs of the people. The sensitive and perceptive means by which clerical discipline was administered in Zürich during the period between Kappel and the rise of Confessionalism testifies to Heinrich Bullinger's grasp of the complexities involved in reforming both the clergy and the laity. This book makes a unique contribution to the current debate on the implementation and reception of the Reformation in the countryside.
Contents: Switzerland Reformation - Church History - Social History, Zürich.