Reconceiving the Clerical Corps: How Heinrich Bullinger Resists the Expectations of Confessionalization
The traditional concept of priesthood aroused much interest and animosity in the Reformation. Huldrych Zwingli led efforts to expand priesthood beyond a sacramental subset of Christendom to encompass instead the sum of all the baptized. He redefined clerical identity as a humanistic/linguistic corps of “prophets.” Heinrich Bullinger shared in Zwingli’s mission to preserve a ministerial corps, and yet he found it increasingly necessary to modify the mold of “minister-as-prophet.” Bullinger carefully re-appropriated some aspects of a “priestly” identity for the clerical corps. In the process, he created a fruitful – perhaps even unique – hybrid of humanism with eschatology. The upshot was a model for church-state relations that cannot be reduced to the expectations of propositional dogmatism commonly associated with the theory of confessionalization.
clerical identity; Reformed priesthood; humanism; eschatology; dogmatism; confessionalization; Heinrich Bullinger
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