In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Martin Bucer

  • Introduction
  • Anthologies and Bibliography
  • Irenic Reformer

Renaissance and Reformation Martin Bucer
Brian Lugioyo
  • LAST REVIEWED: 15 January 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0283


Martin Bucer (b. 1491–d. 1551) is one of the most important, though neglected, Protestant reformers of the 16th century. His role during this time was significant, and only recently has he been given the attention he deserves. Most scholarship on Bucer has generally followed three main trajectories. The first is his relationship to other contemporaries such as Luther and Calvin. At times this research has obscured Bucer’s own distinctive contribution. A second area of research has focused on his tact for peacemaking. Partially as a result of the modern ecumenical movement, the study of Bucer has seen a slight renaissance—no doubt on account of his inspiring pursuit for unity during the latter part of his career, when Bucer expended an enormous amount of time and energy in colloquies, mediations, and negotiations hoping to preserve the one church. A third area of research that has developed is in regard to how he interpreted Scripture. Greater work will surely be done in this area as the critical editions on his biblical commentaries get published. While these three aspects are what he may be best known for, however, they do not in any way encompass his complex life and abundant writings. He was a reformer of a central and important city on the Rhine, Strasbourg; he was a prolific writer of popular tracts; he was a voluminous letter writer; and he had a profound role in establishing the English Reformation with Thomas Cramner—in these and many other respects, he was an international man of influence. The advent of further critical editions on his work surely will lift this important figure from obscurity.

Primary Works

Martin Bucer was a prolific writer. Three series are working toward providing all of his works in critical editions, the Martini Buceri Opera Latina, the Martin Bucers Deutsche Schriften, and the collection of his letters in the Briefwechsel/Correspondance de Martin Bucer (all cited under Critical Editions). Due to the fact that these critical series are far from complete, many of his writings can only be accessed through the original 16th-century printings. Fortunately, a number of his works have been digitized and placed online; these are cited under Biblical Commentaries (without Critical Editions). Nevertheless, for those who are unable to work in German or Latin, his work has proven inaccessible for much of the English world due to the lack of translations. The English translations of his work that do exist, however, offer a good entry into his thought; these are cited under Primary Works in English Translation.

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