Articles of Schwabach

Lutheran confessional document written in 1529. Probably composed by Luther on the basis of his Confession Concerning the Last Supper of Christ (1528) prior to the Colloquy at Marburg,* and shortened to serve as the fifteen Marburg articles, the text was reworked by Luther, Melanchthon, and Jonas (among others) after the Marburg Colloquy (3 October 1529) and submitted to the elector of Saxony and the margrave of Brandenburg-Anspach at Schwabach on 16 October 1529.

Whatever the history of these articles prior to their acceptance by the princes at Schwabach (evidence on this matter having been the subject of some dispute), the seventeen articles in their final form became the basis for the first part of the Augsburg Confession* (1530) and the test of admission to the Lutheran League of the North German States. The articles were directed against Catholics, Zwinglians, and Anabaptists, and affirmed the main lines of the Lutheran understanding of the Eucharist. The tenth article, for example, asserted “that in the bread and wine the body and blood of Christ are truly present, according to the word of Christ.”

Walther Köhler maintained that the Schwabach Articles were not narrowly Lutheran, but should be understood as a union formula which had as its goal the reconciliation of Wittenberg and Strasbourg and the exclusion of the Swiss alone. In this view the Schwabach Articles were not simply the basis for the Augsburg Confession, but also the forerunner of the Wittenberg Concord* (1536). The text is in the Corpus Reformatorum 26 (1857), cols. 151-60.