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The Biography Index

Biographies Main Index

 

Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus

Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Huldreick Zwingli

Huldreick Zwingli

John Calvin

John Calvin

BIOGRAPHIES

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Comparing Four Reformers

 

Name

Desiderius Erasmus

Martin Luther

Huldreick Zwingli

John Calvin

Dates

1469-1536

1483-1546

1484-1531

1509-1564

Place of birth

Holland

Germany

Switzerland

France

Place of study

Sorbonne, Paris

Wittenberg University, Saxony

Vienna and Basle

Orleans and Bourges

Occupation

Augustinian friar

Augustinian friar

People's priest

Lawyer and later theology student

Lived in

Basle, Switzerland

Wittenberg, Germany

Zurich, Switzerland

Basle, Switzerland + Geneva

Important publications

"Guide to Practical Piety and Programme for Moral Reform"

"The Handbook of the Christian Soldier" (1504)

New Testament (Latin translation)

 "Ninety Five Theses" (1517)

Translated the Bible into German

 

"Institutes of the Christian Religion" (1536)

Teachings

Pointed out errors in the "official" Vulgate translation of the bible by St. Jerome.

Pointed out that even St. Jerome had stated that the Bible should be available to lay people to study.

Laid stress on the teachings of St. Paul the Apostle.

Believed in predestination (that some people are chosen to be "saved" and others are not), but people could be saved by absolute belief in God and in Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

People should accept God into themselves.

Individual relationship with God (through the written word of God - the Bible)

Taught that the bread and wine of the mass were symbols of Christ's body and blood.

Believed in the Bible as a precise authority (much more vigorously than Luther).

Denounced the use of music, pictures and sculptures in church.

Taught that the bread and wine of the mass were the real body and blood of Christ.

Believed in predestination and salvation through complete surrender to God (as did Luther).

Believed that there could only be one type of religion in any State.

Believed that the Church should govern society in daily life under a strict code of discipline and morality.

Disagreed with the pomp and ceremony of the established Church and denounced the use of any form of ornaments.

Notes

He was the first person to translate the New Testament without the censure of the Catholic church.

He never considered separating from the Catholic church.

He criticized the abuses of the Catholic church e.g. indulgences.

He demanded direct and uncensored access to the scriptures.

His teachings were against the established church because he disagreed with the pomp and ceremony.

He also disagreed with the need of the clergy as middle-men to God.

Said he was influenced by Erasmus rather than by Luther. When he met Luther, he argued with him over the meaning of Christ's words about the bread and wine during the Last Supper.

He was killed in battle against Swiss Catholics in 1531.

His ideas went further than those of Luther since he saw his religion dictating to society and believed in the formation of courts working on religious principles.

He saw the Church as a community with Christ at the head and all other members of the community as equals - the Presbyterian church.

 

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