The Theology and Politics of Infant Baptism in Renaissance Zurich

Anneliese Mills

Abstract


Ulrich Zwingli was a Swiss reformer who lived from 1484 to 1531; he was born in Toggenburg, of the Swiss Confederacy, and is most famous for starting the reformation movement in Zurich. The main theme of his work was the endorsement of scripture-based Christianity and the rejection of aspects that he thought were purely inventions of the church, and this manifested in numerous debates on particular practices and sacraments. Zwingli’s influence was widespread, and he gave birth to many different – often incompatible – lines of theological thought. One such movement was Anabaptism, a diverse belief system that had roots in Zurich, Strasbourg, and Germany. The Anabaptists were not marked by one thinker, and their theological beliefs were consequently quite varied. However, the movement was characterized by a desire for purity and separation, and most famously, the belief that baptism should only be practiced on informed adults.


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