Rudolf Gwalther

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Portrait of Rudolf Gwalter, 1580 (Zurich Central Library)

Rudolf Gwalther (also Gualther, Walther; born October 2, 1519 in Zurich ; † December 25, 1586 there ) was a Reformed theologian and reformer. He was the successor to Heinrich Bullinger as Antistes of the Zurich Church.

Live and act

Gwalther was born the son of the carpenter and builder Andreas Gwalther and lost him early, his mother was Adelheid Hartfelde. Thereupon Heinrich Bullinger took care of the boy. He attended schools in Kappel am Albis , Basel , Strasbourg , Lausanne and Marburg and studied theology, mathematics and poetics as well. In Lausanne he learned French and Italian. Landgrave Philipp von Hessen took the talented student to the Regensburg Religious Discussion in 1541 . When he returned to Zurich in 1542, he received the pastorate at the Zurich parish church of St. Peteras successor to Leo Jud . Now he married Zwingli's daughter Regula. In 1546 he became dean of the Lake Zurich chapter.

Gwalther was a stimulating and popular preacher. His sermons and biblical reflections were often printed and widely read. It is understandable that as Ulrich Zwingli's son-in-law he tried to preserve his legacy, followed the same theological direction and ensured that Zwingli's works, the Opera Zvinglii 1544–1545, were spread in the Romance world through Latin translations. In 1546, his sermons against the Pope as an Antichrist led to complaints from the Catholic places at the Diet. After that he held back and did not publish sermons in German again until 1551. His Latin interpretations of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, some Pauline letters and the twelve minor prophets were published from 1553 to 1619. His sermon series, the Archetypi homiliarum , were printed from 1587 to 1612 and served as templates for many pastors. Apart from historical accounts, he wrote numerous translations and provided Latin poems and sacred songs. The Psalter, translated into German, had over 100 editions.

For Bullinger he was a valuable employee in the management of the Zurich church and in his extensive correspondence. As a result, they exerted influence on many reformers and politicians, including representatives of the British state church. At Bullinger's request, he was elected as his successor as Antistes at the Grossmünster in 1575 . He held this difficult office for ten years, until in 1585 he fell into mental derangement.


  • De syllabarum et carminum ratione , libri duo, Zurich 1542.
  • Argumenta omnium tam veteris quam novi testamenti capitum elegiaco carmine conscripta , Zurich 1543.
  • From the holy Gschrifft and its origin , Zurich 1553.
  • Our Father, From the Gebätt der Christbelöubigen , Zurich 1556.

Posthumously printed works

  • The first book of Moses thoroughly Germanized , Zurich 1593.
  • Archetypi homiliarum in four Gospels , Rudolf Simmler, Zurich 1601.


Regula Gwalther, b. Zwingli, detail from a painting by Hans Asper (1549)

In 1541 he married Regula Zwingli (1524–1565), the daughter of the reformer Ulrich Zwingli . After the death of his first wife, he married Anna Blarer in 1565, the daughter of the mayor of Konstanz, Thomas Blarer . He had six children including:


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jump up ↑ Kurt Jakob Rüetschi: Gwalther (Walther), Rudolf. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .