Reformed Preaching in the Sixteenth Century: The Use of Lectionaries in Zurich

Max Engammare


We know how important preaching was for the Reformers, who centred the service around the sermon. Although the content of sermons has been studied, their form has hardly ever been considered. There were three main models which existed for sixteenth-century preachers: starting from the first verse of the first chapter of a biblical book and commenting on it until its end in lectio continua, using commonplaces (loci communes), or using a lectionary as the Roman Catholic Church did during the Middle Ages. The article focuses on the practice of Zwingli’s successor as the Zurich antistes, Heinrich Bullinger, with an examination of his handwritten drafts. We thus discover that Bullinger preached not only according to the lectio continua, or favoring commonplaces when he wrote the Decades, but he still continued to preach according to the remains of a lectionary which was still current in Zurich, together with some yearly sermons, as well as in particular civil and political circumstances: the feast day of the City of Zurich, battle sermons, or sermons on marriage.


Zurich; Reformation; Preaching; Heinrich Bullinger; Leo Jud; Lectionary; Christian Holidays

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