Image from the Zurich Central Library Graphics Collection.

Motto: "For, as we must affirm, the one and only existing
thing which has the property of acquiring thought is Soul."
(Plato, Timaeus, 46 d)

Heinrich Bullinger 1504-75: Man of Reconciliation


From today's vantage point, Heinrich Bullinger's life and work can be seen to make the point that modern democracy is not just an enlightenment experiment of recent vintage, but a tradition with roots in Scripture and Socratic speculative, yet practical, philosophy. This paper highlights the ancient origins of democracy and science to promote a history based, integral understanding of our present moment in time. A more adequate understanding of the present may lead to foresight and a realistic assessment of science-and- democracy's possibilities within the order of time. For Heinrich Bullinger, who managed to reconcile faith and reason, a failure to pursue the ameliorative prospects of science-and-democracy may be but a sign of an irrational, perhaps even unforgivable lack of courage and gratitude for philosophy's gifts.

          Today, Heinrich Bullinger is not so much known as Calvin's influential older friend, or the continental reformation's most distinguished spokesman-statesman; nor as prodigious writer who adapted ancient forms to modern needs, but rather for salvaging, after Zurich's military defeat in 1531, the remains of Huldrych Zwingli's democratic reforms. Both men's pursuit of a just society, with liberty and prosperity for all, is buttressed by their single-minded belief in the Word's power of intelligent persuasion,(1) an article of belief already promoted, mutatis mutandis, by Plato in the Timaeus. The key passage reads "The generation of this cosmos came about through a combination of necessity and intelligence. Intelligence, controlling necessity, persuaded her to lead toward the best the greater part of the things coming into being; and in this way this universe was put together from the beginning, through necessity yielding to intelligent persuasion." (Timaeus. 48) The proof of reason's role in the shaping of the cosmos, at least according to Plato's probable account of how it all happened, is furnished for the human eye by the evidence of the whole creation's formidable and exquisite beauty. This beauty is not only proof of reason's cunning but, perhaps more importantly, of the Creator's unalloyed goodness.(2)

          The belief in the beneficial powers of intelligent persuasion, which is at the heart of classical rationalism, is arguably the enthymeme, i.e., underlying tacit premise, of the brave and precarious democratic interludes during classical and modern times. With fundamentalist movements gathering force around the globe, and communication technologies providing crude, as well as subtle means for behavior and thought control, a moment of reflection on democracy's infrequently mentioned rational roots may be called for. The old slogan "vox populi vox dei", though often used as an ignoble lie, may well point to mostly dormant rational capabilities of individual and community self- predication needed to build a democratic future. To this end, similarities between the political praxis and theory of places as far apart as Athens is from Zurich, invite attention. In Zurich, Bullinger's great concern was to steady the precarious equilibrium of the emerging democracy, poised between the perils of anarchy and tyranny, by acting in word and deed according to the patient and conciliatory wisdom intelligence proffers in the Timaeus.(3)

          To seamlessly assimilate classical pagan notions into Christian Trinitarianism was still an intellectual challenge in the Cinquecento. But Heinrich Bullinger could draw liberally on passages from the fathers and doctors of the Church. Like Luther, though for quite different reasons, he may also have found support in the work of Gabriel Biel.(4) In Biel's theology, God's will and reason are said to be in equipoise since the Creator has limited his absolute power in concert with the counsel of reason in perpetuity. This self- limitation does not make divine judgments more accessible to human scrutiny. What it does is create a new, more reliable framework for stabilized expectations in which to conduct one's life in a reasonable way.

          The shrewd advocacy of intelligence in the Timaeus has, over time, shaped many sensibilities, specially of thinkers and scholars with Augustinian affinities to time- sensitive concepts of growth, development, and fruition. Its salutary effect is evident in humanists like Erasmus, and in the work of both of the Zurich reformers.(5) These men, even under duress, rely as much as possible on the irenic powers of intelligent persuasion to forestall confrontations with blind chance and brute necessity, chaos and fatalistic determinism. Their hope, though thwarted by collisions with fellow reformers of more radical stripe, was that through teaching by example the members of their growing flock the knowledge of intelligent persuasion's ethical powers, the precarious Odyssey of human conscious life, prefigured in the Book of Exodus, will overcome the stasis of corruption and stagnation. Liberated, people's lives will nimbly move ahead in rhythmic harmony with the accelerating beat of divine providence.

          Heinrich Bullinger tended to express the philosophic belief in the - on balance over time - benign dynamics of rational persuasion not so much in classical but in biblical terms. His own existential commitment was to the second person of the Trinity, the Logos, in whom all things consist, and who, once incarnate as the historic Christ, is latent, and sometimes manifest, in the lives of individuals and their institutions. It does not matter whether one translates Logos as Word, or Action Verb, as Jerome does with Verbum in the Vulgate, or prefers Erasmus' rendition of Logos as Sermo , i.e., Language in its formal and informal communicative modalities. Both, Jerome and Erasmus, lend support in their respective translations to Bullinger's momentous reformation slogan "to preach the word of God, is the word of God".(6)

          With these eleven syllables, Bullinger encapsulates the Zurich reformation movement's program. Preachers are called to serve the living word in spirit and in truth. The sermon, a deliberate, often didactic, sometimes creative literary genre, is formally conceived by Heinrich Bullinger as an analogue to the Eucharist itself.(7) The act of preaching quickens, regardless of which topic is addressed, in the listener's ‘deep' memory the vivid and redemptive knowledge of why Christ became man. This knowledge, in turn, gives those who pay attention a sense of gratitude together with the strength (virtue) to walk the paths of their lives in the sight of God. Upright and steadfast, they serve the son by fulfilling the father's terms contained in the One and Only Eternal Covenant he made with humankind at the beginning, through the agency of Abraham before the birth of Isaac was announced. The word of God is to be received the way Abraham did: In ready attention, with open hospitality, interpreted by the rules of faith and charity, and heeded, i.e., obeyed. These injunctions notwithstanding, Abraham also serves as vivid example that he could argue with the Creator and, by dint of his reasonable appeal to fairness, win the argument. (Genesis 18:16-33)

          In his Brief Report of the One and Only Eternal Testament or Covenant of God (1534),(8) Heinrich Bullinger reconciles the Platonic account of reason's teleological role in the cosmos with Catholic orthodoxy following the humanist program, exemplified by Erasmus, to return to the primary sources to promote society's regeneration. This triple approach, incidentally, is consistent with Huldrych Zwingli's theological position. In the introduction to the Brief Report Bullinger says "Here you find what is the original Law of the solidly founded and pure Christian faith: What is in fact the first and oldest covenant and true service of God: the very goal of the whole scripture." When, at the dawn of time, the Creator gave his word to Abraham to be forever the sufficient source, the alpha and omega, of love and life, provided that we, as partners to the contract, attempt to keep its terms, an indissoluble partnership was formed.(9) This alliance, Bullinger insists, reaches across the immeasurable distance and power differential separating Creator from creature. It descends without hindrance from the father's free act of love, enabling us in patience to learn to respond in kind. Based on these premises, Bullinger's theology does not lend itself to criticism of the Supreme Power, nor its worldly representatives, and side-steps overt polemic against the many kinds of Gnosticism alive in Christendom.

          Human identity, according to Bullinger's hypothesis, is founded on the covenantal partnership. To learn to overcome the odds and come to honor the original agreement, with the requisite cooperation of grace, is to arrive at mature selfhood. The primary indispensable human bond is neither instituted by nature, nor by culture, but by the absolute, the numinous and transcendent.(10) The firm personal knowledge of this bond, no longer mediated by priest and ritual, steers the individual's daily conduct toward the ethical standards to which the human being as child of God aspires. Faith in the Trinitarian deity, for Bullinger, is not an irrational subjective mode of experience, but an indispensable rational ingredient of objective reality capable of setting in motion the regeneration and healing of human nature,(11) which finds itself in desperate need of repair. (Cf. OT Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 25:10. Holy Qur'an 29:41). His understanding of the human situation vis-a-vis eternity, though stern, is more humane, lucid, rational, and hopeful than Calvin's teaching of the ‘decretum horribile' and ‘double predestination' in The Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536).

          As a theologian and pastor, Heinrich Bullinger, Leutpriester of the church of Zurich from 1532 to1574, followed prudently in the steps of Theophilus, sixth Bishop of Antioch ( fl. 180 CE), a great and saintly man, whose work and life he knew from the Church History of Eusebius. Theophilus defended the integrity of the young Christian faith against Marcion and Hermogenes, and, in his three books Ad Autolycum,campaigned against the superstitions of popular paganism and the entrenched traditions of magic.(12) For his defense of the Christian faith, Theophilus relied on the prophetic testimonies of the Old Testament, and on conceptual-rhetorical innovation. He is credited to be the first to apply the number three to the Godhead in public controversy, and to have thus given decisive strength to his arguments on behalf of apostolic orthodoxy. Theophilus made sure the center did not crumble amidst the fierce doctrinal conflicts afflicting the new dispensation. Heinrich Bullinger, allowing for changed circumstances, does the same.(13) After having discovered the structural similarity between the law and the scriptural canon,(14) he forwards the analogy that just as the whole of the law is contained in the commandment to love God and neighbor, so the whole of holy script is already - tam facti quam animi - present in the eternal Covenant.(15)

          The rest of the Bible amplifies the covenant by revealed passages as well as inspired prophetic ones. Both are mixed in with historical and legendary narrations, parables, fables, proverbs, figures, songs, poems, admonitions, warnings, sermons, letters. All function, inter alia, as commentaries on the Eternal Covenant, and, ex tempore, as modifiers that make the covenant's universality explicit, its terms non- onerous, and, most of all, increasingly accessible to human understanding. The words of the Bible have been written down by prophets, chroniclers, apostles and record-keepers to communicate their meaning, i.e., intent, to any reader who, while heeding the first commandment, pays undistracted, detached attention to the words themselves. The responsibility of the Reformation's hour in the Cinquecento was beyond the shadow of doubt to bring the word of God to the people in their own languages, and entrust it to their growing understanding in good faith.

          This pre-critical teleological view of time and learning Bullinger has in common with fellow reformers and other notable figures, e.g., Plato's Socrates, the Dante of the Divine Comedy, and the philosopher Hegel, at the time when he wrote the Phenomenology of the Spirit.(16) It forms the foundation of his cultural anthropology and philosophy of mind. The long range vision, which is this view's defining characteristic, permits him to circumnavigate many a crisis, write letters of counsel to people high and low (over twelve-thousand letters are still extant), and add a conciliatory tone to the politico-religious discussions raging at his time. Following the reformed fourfold set of principles, ‘solus Christus, sola scriptura, sola fides, sola gratia', the new quadriga of interpreting scripture, he rendered the medieval way of reading scripture obsolete. And by highlighting the canon's design as an open-ended, inclusive charter for representative democracy, he created a new unity more in keeping with the new, people based sensibilities and, perhaps, with the Book's original intent. (Thomas Hobbes, father of modern national absolutism, transferred the Bible's federal structure to the purely secular political level, in the Leviathan, 1651). Bullinger shared the discovery of the Bible's federal structure with Zwingli, Leo Jud, and Oecolampadius, while being part of Zwingli's team of translators, who rendered the scriptures, from Hebrew and Greek, for the German speaking Swiss cantons, and adjacent regions. He brought it to public attention as a paedagogic principle in his study guide, Studiorum Ratio, published in 1528, when he was twenty-four.

          In this Study Guide he offers, apart from the new approach for reading scripture, a Liberal Arts curriculum along the time-honored pedantic lines of Martianus Capella's Marriage of Philology and Mercury. It takes a look behind the mask of quotes from Lucian's Dream of Scipio to detect the traces of the author's anti-traditional stance, which satirizes the customary eulogies of higher learning, and adds a dry note of consumer report realism. The Study Guide's democratic upside is that the classical poets, orators, historians and philosophers, and the biblical canon, are no longer reserved for people of feudal or ecclesiastical rank, but accessible to all who wish to prepare their wits for a productive life as free citizens of the reformed city states. The students' intellectual independence is encouraged, as is public debate. Small municipal institutions of higher learning, with teachers of international repute as magnets, are beginning to open their doors in Zurich to students from at home and abroad. Some of the best come from England and Scotland, courtesy of King Edward VI., and John Knox.

          The key that opens the lock of knowledge, according to Bullinger, turns on a carefully balanced stance of skeptical-ironic detachment, coupled with the commitment to truth-seeking. To privilege partisan opinion in one's interpretative endeavors detracts from the pursuit of truth and puts the emerging reformed canon of scholarly conduct at risk. Though the individual scholar's interests are personal, and may be rooted in passion, he, or she, must be able as a professional to reconcile subjectivity with the discipline of analyzing, in an open-ended way, a text in its historical setting. Facts must be ascertained, and their presumed significance adjusted, in light of ongoing research. The fast growing body of knowledge, just like life itself, is seen as subject to the rule of linear irreversible time, cheerfully expressed by the protestant slogan "semper reformanda".(17) The humanist demand for intensive training in classical and biblical languages becomes the center of the new curriculum, with a strong emphasis, thanks to Reuchlin's influence, on the study of Hebrew. Linguistic expertise, however, needs to be employed with a historian's sense for the movement of time, i.e., the dynamics, or dialectics, of change. The proto-scientific study of ‘history as development' practiced in Zurich stands as the timely link between the preceding period's dogmatic scholasticism, and the experimental method by which Galileo (1564-1642) was able to lend support to the Copernican theory on how earth and heaven move.(18)

          How the word moves in time, is Bullinger's question. To say it moves ‘dialectically' is insufficient, since what is meant by ‘dialectic', whether as noun, or adjective, has not been established: Not by the reputedly rigorous art of science, nor by the more dubious art of rhetoric. Little wonder that what the dialectic is said to be invites the liveliest, occasionally deadliest, proliferation of misunderstandings. From Hellenic times onward, until today, the dialectic is frequently invoked by philosophers and propagandists as a ‘deus ex machina' without a fact check how it functions in the scheme of time and things. Is the dialectic illustrated, at least in mythical fashion, by Pan, the One, disseminating himself into the Protean Many while re-absorbing and regenerating the vast progeny in non-interruptible repetition? Or, more philosophical in diction, does Nicholas of Cusa's notion of the coincidence of opposites disclose the dialectic's meaning? Or, last not least, does Proclus' neo-platonic scheme of the ineluctable sequence, popularized by Hegel, of thesis, antithesis, synthesis, do it justice?(19) Whatever the temptations of such speculations, and there are many, Bullinger steers clear of them.

          With tact and wisdom he instead resolves one of the sharpest conflicts dividing Protestants. After twenty years of intense controversy over the Lord's Supper, his conciliatory words move Calvin and Melanchthon, against all expectations, toward reconciliation with Zwingli's teaching on the Eucharist, and the signing of the Zurich accord, the consensus Tigurinus of 1549. To strengthen, and perhaps widen, this accord
Bullinger writes a Summa of the Christian Religion (1556) in ten chapters. Serene in tone, and a model of clarity, this slender volume becomes a classic among modern textbooks for religious instruction throughout Europe. As an exercise in ecumenical diplomacy, as well as a commercial publishing venture, Bullinger's Summa turns into a remarkable success. Originally written in German, he translated the work with dispatch into Latin. And wherever in Europe a regional mother tongue was consolidated enough to permit a translation, Bullinger's Summa was published in the indigenous language, censorship notwithstanding, alongside Scripture.

          At the Diet of Augsburg of 1566, the fragile peace among the Imperial, Papal, and the various contending Protestant Powers was shattered, when a work from Bullinger's hand served, to the utter amazement of the participating parties, to rekindle a spirit of comity and generate a longing for peace. The work that changed the atmosphere at the Diet, A Simple Confession and Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, is better known as the Second Helvetic Confession, or the Helvetica Posterior. Bullinger wrote this confession as a personal
meditation on the word's work in the world, five years before he was asked to have it printed and forwarded to the Diet. In this document he quietly consolidates his own experience and clarifies his understanding of the work of Christ, or the Logos. Once composed, he shares the re-collection of his innermost knowledge of scripture as the word of life with a few friends. When the plague strikes Zurich in 1563, he falls sick, partially recovers, and sends the document as his testament to the

town council. By a chain of small accidental events, three years later, at the Diet of Augsburg, Heinrich Bullinger's Simple Confession, fresh off the press, sets the right tone for rapprochement. The Continental Reformation, which had looked lost when the Diet began, is granted a new lease on life, and continues in perseverance. The ensuing peace, though precarious, and at times disturbed, lasts for fifty-two years.(20) In 1618 war breaks out. Thirty long years of unspeakable suffering later, the Reformed Church is granted official recognition in the Treaty of Westphalia. During these times of war, persecution and exile, Bullinger's Simple Confession, which is in fact a quiet manifesto for personal freedom and public welfare, was many a reformed community's mainstay of strength, even a consolation.(21)

          Each of Heinrich Bullinger's religious publications displays, as introduction or conclusion, a quote from the gospel according to St. Matthew, excerpted from the account of the transfiguration of Christ in chapter 17:1-9. The quote itself is the last sentence of verse five, God the Father speaking: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." (KJV) The Zurich Bible of 1532 says "This is my dear son, in whom I am reconciled; listen to him."(22) The change from ‘being pleased' to ‘being reconciled' is quite deliberate. It announces the consolidation of a new, perhaps more profound, and surely more democratic understanding of how human beings are able to relate to God, to themselves, and their neighbors. In this new relationship, people are partners in a rational process where they may arrive to have a deeper trust in themselves, in God and each other. The democratic intimation manifest in this new translation, where the announcement of subjective pleasure is superseded by the declaration of objective reconciliation, confirms human liberty.(23) A sense of freedom lends individuals and communities new sources of strength and confidence. Both are needed in times of crisis as well as in peace, to face the future with an untroubled heart, and not be afraid of the unfamiliar. Heinrich Bullinger, half a millennium ago, gave his energies to communicate this new and liberating form of understanding. He did so, in word and in deed, and by the close fit of his work with the course of his long, fruitful life.

Finis feliciter

(To return to your place in the paper, click the asterisk at the end of each endnote)

1. Intelligent persuasion, the demiurge's helpmate, is, with a touch of whimsey, introduced by Plato in the Timaeus as the goddess Peitho. Peitho is a minor Greek deity mentioned by Hesiod, who, in Plato's time, had become assimilated into the majestic figure of Athena. Peitho's alter ego is the goddess Eris, who represents the equally important forces of contention. Peitho, in Timaeus' creation account, persuades the brute force of necessity - Ananke - to yield to her counsel; she also countervails the impact of chance and moderates the fickleness of what Plato terms "the errant cause" (Timaeus 47-48e). The contravention of necessity by teleology is not a ‘natural law' for Plato, but an aesthetic and ethical accomplishment of the first order. It is based on vision and brought about through creative craftsmanship in partnership with the persuasive counsel of intelligence. In modern times, terms like reason, ratio, or even logos, terms which in the classical period were commonly understood as teleological, are now taken to be merely instrumental, functional, or efficient. *

2. Heinrich Bullinger was not really in the habit of giving voice to his delight in beauty, but there are instances when he does. In the Helvetica Posterior, chapter 1, section 4, where he explains why inward spiritual illumination does not preempt external preaching, he praises the apostle Paul's beautiful development of his thought, in chapter ten of the Letter to the Romans. *

3. The political theory in the Timaeus is systematized by Aristotle in the Politics. Peitho's new name is now Phronesis, or prudent and practical rationality, including ‘pronoia', foresight. Bullinger was familiar with the Politics.- Keeping up with changing times, he turned from theory to praxis and organized a reliable and efficient news service, the Bullinger News, which eventually became the much esteemed Neue Zuericher Zeitung. *

4. See Heiko A. Oberman, Harvest of Medieval Theology, Baker Academic Pb. 1983 *

5. The influence of the Timaeus is not often demonstrable in theology. In poetry it is overt and well-documented. A brilliant discussion of the importance of Plato's creation dialogue on the sonnet can be found, e.g., in Phillis Levin's introduction to the new Penguin Book of the Sonnet: Five-Hundred Years of a Classic Tradition in English; New York, London, 2001. *

6. "To Preach the Word of God, Is the Word of God" is the head of Section 4, Chapter 1, of the Helvetica Posterior, or The Second Helvetic Confession. The original title, Simple Confession and Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, (1566) is based on the fact that the Zurich Reformed Church accepts the biblical canon as it was defined by the Council of Trent in De Canonicis Scripturis, on 8 April 1546. Bullinger's own comment on the statement "To preach the word of God, is the word of God" reads as follows: "Wherefore when this Word of God is now preached in the church by preachers lawfully called, we believe that the very Word of God is proclaimed, and received by the faithful; and that neither any other Word of God is to be invented nor is expected from heaven: and that now the Word itself which is preached is to be regarded, not the minister that preaches; for even if he be evil and a sinner, nevertheless the Word of God remains true and good." (Helvetica Posterior, chapter 1, section 4) The greatest gap between the catholic and the reformed positions is on the question of whether scriptural authority belongs to scripture alone, or is in the trusteeship of the church. There are excellent arguments for either position and argumentation, thus far, has aggravated rather than settled the point. The Protestants' siding with scripture led to an ecclesiology subscribing to a more decentralized notion of ‘church', whose teachings are not monopolistic but pluralistic, i.e., in harmony with the Augustinian teleological ‘unity in plurality' projection. The Hellenistic early Christian church, with its doctrinal flexibility and distinct self-governing bodies, the organizations to whom the apostle Paul addressed his Letters, is Bullinger's paradigm. To him ‘reformation' means renewal from the sources, in particular scripture, to promote the Christian faith's resurgence and diversification, not heresy. "So faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God by the preaching of Christ." Romans 10:17. His ecumenical vision sustained the scattered reformed congregations in central and Eastern Europe, many of whom suffered persecution and exile by the combined forces of Emperor and Pope. It took almost hundred-thirty years, from 1519 to 1648, before the Reformed Church was given official recognition throughout continental Europe, at the end of the thirty years war, by the Treaty of Westphalia. *

7. The paradigm for Bullinger's Eucharistic understanding of the sermon is in Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter one, verse thirteen: "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not asthe word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." KJV *

8. In the study Fountainhead of Federalism by Charles S. McCoy and J. Wayne Baker, (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991) there is a translation of the Brief Report on the One and Only Eternal Covenant from the Latin version De testamento seu foedere Dei unico et aeterno, published by the Zurich printing house Christoffle Froschauer in 1534. *

9. The covenantal partnership is an exchange between two radically unequal parties and the original conception of the contract, in the first 14 verses of the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Genesis, is rather blunt. The passage of time and the astonishing success and increase of human beings attenuates this inequality somewhat. Bullinger takes the global reach of the covenant for granted. His profound metaphysical and moral intuition of all human beings' ontological parity has been corroborated, e.g., by the empirical and historical study, The Gift (1925) by the Grand Master of French sociology, Marcel Mauss.- The Arabic notion of mithaq,the primordial covenant, is documented by Annemarie Schimmel in Mystical Dimensions of Islam, (Chapel Hill, NC, North Carolina University Press, 1975) p 24, ff. It seems unlikely that Bullinger knew of the Islamic conception of the primordial covenant. *

10. There is agreement among the reformers, including Luther, on this point of the human creature's relation to the Creator. A favorite quote is the blood-curdling fifth verse from the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah: "Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departed from the Lord." *

11. Faith is defined by Bullinger in chapter sixteen of the Helvetica Posterior: "Christian faith is not merely an opinion or human conviction, but rather an unwavering trust and an open and constant assent of the heart, as well as a sure laying hold of the truth of God, as it is set forth in Holy Scripture and in the Apostles' Creed, indeed a laying hold of God Himself as the highest Good, and especially of the divine promise, and of Christ who is the substance of all the promises." G.W. Locher comments "Bullinger is never afraid to talk about the psychological aspect of the life of faith. But the objective basis of this life is stated at once: it is not a matter of a pious disposition of the soul, but of a fundamentally clear and sober grasp of "God's truth". And we do not have to produce this by some mystical, hermeneutic or existential act of creation, because it is given to us historically...."(excerpt from an address given by G.W. Locher on the occasion of the quatercentenary of the Confessio Helvetica Posterior, published in the "Reformierte Kirchenzeitung" 107/23,24 in December, 1966.) An English version of the address was published in Zwingli's Thought, E.J. Brill, Leyden 1981. *

12. See H. D. Betz, "The Formation of Authoritative Tradition in the Greek Magical Papryi", Self-Definition in the Greco-Roman World, eds. B.F. Meyer and E. P. Sanders, (Philadelphia, 1982). *

13. Sternly opposed to the semi-magical and mytho-historical modes of textual interpretation emanating from Medicean Florence, Bullinger calls on biblicists and humanists to follow in their interpretations the rules of the Socratic method. Dialectical reasoning and elenctic critique are the appropriate tools to ferret out, as well as validate, the most probable sense(s) of a passage. With this objective epistemological stance of scholarly reading, informed by the intimate knowledge of classical rhetoric, Heinrich Bullinger anticipates Spinoza's historico-critical approach to scripture in the Political Theological Treatise (1670).

Spinoza's thought, in turn, gives further impetus to the Zurich Reformation's secularizing tendencies, linking Heinrich Bullinger's exegetical reading rules to the pragmatic scientific method as set forth by Charles Sanders Peirce. A study devoted to tracing the affinities between Bullinger's critical, yet also figurative, reading rules with Peirce's formulation of the scientific method, triadic logic and theory of signs (semiotics), has yet to be furnished. Such a study could be profitably extended to the present by including Josiah Royce's triadic hermeneutics, and its importance in turn for the communication theory and praxis of his student Norbert Wiener, the father of cybernetics and the information revolution. *

14. The Zurich Reformed Church under Bullinger accepted already in 1532 the same books of scripture as canonical, which were decreed as such, under threat of anathema, by the Council of Trent in 1546. *

15. ‘Tam facti quam animi', i.e., ‘as much in fact as in intention' is ‘shorthand' for Bullinger's elaborate argument, given in the Study Guide and in the Brief Report, that the covenant is a historic factum recorded and preserved in writing. The covenant is not myth, poetic fancy, illusionist projection, wishful thinking, meta-history, or religious mumbo-jumbo, but the most salient fact on record that ought to be taken into account in accord with the words of King David: "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testmonies." Psalm 25:10, KJV *

16. The enthymeme that grounds this shared view is scriptural as well as classical. Two quotes may be useful to shed their own light on the heterogeneity of the Western intellectual tradition. From scripture "The light shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:5) easily comes to mind; from the ‘pagan' classics the most relevant citation may be "....god invented sight and gave it to us that we might observe the orbits of intelligence in the heavens and apply them to the revolutions of our own understanding. For there is kinship between them..." Timaeus 47b,c. *

17. Acting on this instruction to keep reforming, Bullinger revises, and enlarges, his teaching on the covenant of 1534, in his Summa of the Christian Religion of 1556: "Man is created as good; fell by his own guilt; and is preserved and lifted up again by the grace of God. Scripture testifies that God accepted humankind, made a covenant with us and erected it in lasting terms. He began the covenant with Adam, prolonged it with Noah, clarified it with Abraham, renewed it in writing with Moses, and concluded it through Jesus Christ. The Articles of this covenant are: God desires and wills to be our God He desires and wills to give us everything sufficient for life Through Christ he wants to perfect us And communicate to us all heavenly treasures. What does God require in return: That we cling only to him That we have no other gods beside him That we trust only in him; worship him, pray to him, honor him; stay faithful to him And walk in his commandments." The sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist are the ‘seals' of this document. All those who abide by the covenant are faithful servants and allies (partners) of God. They also form the body of the true, eternal, and, under temporal conditions, perfectly unknowable Invisible Church. To accept the uncertainty about one's eventual destination is an act of faith. On the theological question of membership in the Ecclesia Invisibilis, Heinrich Bullinger moved from a position close to Origen's, that articulates a belief in the ultimate redemption of all members of humankind (Apocatastis) to a less inclusive one. In the Helvetica Posterior inclusivity and exclusivity are kept in precarious balance, subtly tipped in favor of the former. *

18. Copernicus' treatise De Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestium (1543) assumes the earth's twofold movement, diurnal rotation and annual solar circumnavigation. Empirical research and painstaking measurements by Tycho Brahe and Galileo supported the Copernican theory which was not only new, and thus upset a ‘true' world view, but also significantly more complex than Ptolemy's system. *

19. The reductive and misleading nature of Proclus' triadic schema, which served Comte, Hegel and Marx as the reliable ‘engine of history,' has been exposed and discredited. Schemata of historical determinism are the modern ideological mind's substitutes for superstition. *

20. Although Bullinger would be the last man to attribute parts of this conflict abatement to any effort of his own, he may not be entirely adverse to reading the historical record with the quote from the Timaeus in mind which is the Leitmotif of this essay on Democratic Intimations of the Continental Reformation: "The generation of this cosmos came about through a combination of necessity and intelligence. Intelligence, controlling necessity, persuaded her to lead toward the best the greater part of the things coming into being; and in this way the universe was put together from the beginning, through necessity yielding to intelligent persuasion." ( Timaeus, 48) *

21. A more recent example of the Helvetica Posterior's relevance to history can be found in the spark which ignited the uprising that toppled the Ceausescu government at the end of the Cold War. The Reverend Laszlo Tokes, pastor of the Reformed Church in Timisoara, protested against Ceausescu's tyrannical regime on behalf of the Hungarian community in Transylvania. The Bucharest government's crackdown led to intense nationwide unrest. The Hungarian Reformed Church's official confession in exile, whether in Rumania, or the US, is still the Helvetica Posterior.- A brief account of the fall of the Ceausescu regime is given in two articles in TIME magazine of 1/1/1990. *

22. The quote reads in modern German "Das ist mein lieber Sohn, in dem ich versoehnet bin; ihm seid gehoerig." In Latin Bullinger often uses a more elaborate version "Hic est filius meus delectus in quo placata est anima mea, ipsum audite" that reads in English "This is my beloved son in whom my soul is reconciled; listen to him." Listening has two components: one is to pay attention, the other is to obey. Both meanings operate jointly in the brief injunction. *

23. The new spiritual-intellectual insight contained in the Zurich Bible's rendition of Matthew 17:5 shows that Zwingli and the members of his translation team knew by heart Paul's letter to the Galatians. *

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