Swiss Reformed Protestants present Zurich Bible to the City of Wittenberg

The New Testament of the Zurich Bible was printed at the Swiss Pavilion of the Wittenberg World Reformation Exhibition using a replica Gutenberg printing press. This unique volume will be presented to the City of Wittenberg and its Luther House on September 9.
One of the three copies of the Zurich Bible, presented by Serge Fornerod (FSPC) with Margot Kässmann (EKD, right).

The Swiss Pavilion, “Prophezey – the Swiss Reformation”, sought to bring visitors to the exhibition (May 20 - September 10) a step closer to the particular developments of the Swiss Reformation, focusing on the printing of the New Testament of the Zurich Bible. Three copies were produced and bound in only 96 days using handmade paper and with 21 illustrations by Hans Holbein the Younger, all done by hand as had been the case during the Reformation Era. Three years before Luther, the Zurich printer Froschauer printed the first copy of the entire Bible, a text that has been considered to be authoritative in the German-speaking tradition ever since.

As Michel Müller, Church Council President of the Church of Zurich, put it: “The Zurich Bible provided considerable support to the rapid expansion of the Reformation. The translation connected with the education and restructuring of society, corresponding with the vision of the Zurich reformers and their humanistic background. This spirit has, without a doubt, been one of the longest-lasting Zurich ‘exports’ over the centuries. We are happy to present Wittenberg with this Zurich Bible, printed here. This sends a strong signal.”

On Saturday, September 9, Peter Schmid, Vice President of the Council of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, will hand over one of the three reproduced copies to the City of Wittenberg and its Luther House. The closing event will take place with Margot Kässmann, Ambassador for the Reformation Anniversary on behalf of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Zurich Church Council President Michel Müller, Mayor Torsten Zugehör of Wittenberg, Chairman and Director of the Foundation for Luther Memorials in Saxony-Anhalt, Stefan Rhein, and Jan von Campenhausen of the EKD’s Protestant Wittenberg Foundation.

The Swiss “Prophezey” at the World Reformation Exhibition was inspired by the translators’ forum of the same name, led by Zwingli in Zurich from 1524-1530. The pavilion in Wittenberg was a joint effort of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, the Roman Catholic Central Conference of Switzerland, and the Reformed Churches of Cantons Zurich and St. Gallen.