Johannes Zwick

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Johannes Zwick (* around 1496 in Constance ; † October 23, 1542 in Bischofszell ( Thurgau )) was a German theologian and lawyer who became known as a reformer in Constance and as a hymn poet .


Zwick was a son of councilor Konrad Zwick and his wife Margreth, whose last name is unknown. From 1509 onwards, Zwick studied law and theology in Freiburg im Breisgau with Ulrich Zasius , where his brother Konrad and his cousin Thomas Blarer came to study shortly afterwards . He later studied in Bologna and Padua . After ordination in 1518 and the doctorate to Dr. iur. In 1520 he worked briefly as a professor of law at the University of Basel , but in 1522 moved to a pastor's office in Riedlingen an der Donau in Upper Swabia . In the same year he married a woman named Anna in Basel. In Riedlingen he preached in the Reformation manner, also took care of the poor and without rights and was popular with many, which is why he was indicted by the bishop and in 1525 deposed and expelled by an imperial mandate. He returned to his hometown of Konstanz, but remained in contact with some members of the community from Riedlingen by letter until the end of his life.

Reformer in Constance

Together with his cousin Ambrosius Blarer , Zwick carried out the Reformation from 1525 . As a talented educator, he took special care of children and young people. He taught them the Our Father's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments . He also wrote biblical interpretations, songs and prayers for times of day and days of the week. The Catholic bishop and his cathedral chapter left the city in 1526, and on August 15, 1527 the last Catholic mass took place in the cathedral. He visited Wolfgang Capito and Martin Bucer in Strasbourg to get advice on the reorganization of the church. In 1531 a new urban order, civil moral discipline on a religious basis , was created and introduced by his cousin Thomas Blarer and his brother Konrad Zwick, which was also influenced by Johannes Zwick. This order was a reformatory measure to fight poverty, promote education and raise the moral standard of the urban population.

In 1535 he published a bilingual and two-column New Testament with the Latin text by Erasmus of Rotterdam and the German text of the Zurich Bible , which was printed by Christoph Froschauer in Zurich . With the first Konstanz hymnbook , which appeared in 1533/1534, and above all with the “ Neu Gsangbüchle ”, which was printed in 1540 in the reformed Zurich with its preface, he and Ambrosius Blarer were pioneers and pioneers of church singing in the Upper German-Swiss area. Zwick himself contributed 17 of the 150 songs. In addition to works by other reformers such as Martin Luther , he also recorded a song by the Konstanz canon Johannes von Botzheim and the Baptist Ludwig Hätzer . A total of 111 songs and poems by Zwick can be identified, 61 of which were written in German and testify to his creativity and creative power.

As a supporter of Huldrych Zwingli's doctrine of the Lord's Supper , he was the only clergyman in Constance to reject the Wittenberg Agreement of 1536. After the death of his friend Zwingli in 1531, several visitation trips also took him to Switzerland to support and strengthen the Reformed communities there. He did not spare himself, even when he fell ill with the plague in Constance in 1542 and was initially able to recover. After the death of the pastor Andreas Köllin in Bischofzell, he moved there in the same year and briefly performed his pastoral service for him before he died of the plague on October 23, 1542.



The most famous hymns in Zwick are:

  • Every morning is fresh and new, 1541/1545 (Music: Johann Walter 1541; today: EG 440 and RG 557)
  • You highest light, you eternal glow, 1541/1545 (music: from the 15th century / Bohemian Brothers , Nuremberg 1544; today: EG 441 and RG 560)
  • On this day we remember ( EG 552)
  • Now that the day is coming to an end, 1533/1540 (based on Psalm 128; music: Strasbourg 1525; today: RG 591)


  • The whole New Testament 1535. The whole New Testament at Teütsch opposed to the Latin, the necessary Concordantzenn sampt: But what the cause sye about this testament against the opposition of both languages ​​can be found in the above. Novvm Testamentvm Omne: Latina Versione, Oppositvm Aeditioni uulgari siue Germanicae, in usus studiosorum uulgatum; per Desiderium Erasmum Roterodamum nouissime recogniti. Christoffel Froschouer, Zurich 1535, 803 pages

Remembrance day

October 23 in the Evangelical Name Calendar .


Individual evidence

Web links

Wikisource: Johannes Zwick  - Sources and full texts