'We need Teachers today, not Prophets’: Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Exposition of Prophecy

J Balserak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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This article examines Peter Martyr Vermigli’s view on the topic of prophecy, addressing specifically an apparent self-contradiction found in his position on whether prophets still exist in the Early Modern era. It argues that Vermigli’s views seem, in part, to have been developed in response to the Anabaptist problem which continued to trouble the church in the 1540s and 1550s in Zurich, Strasbourg, and England. The Anabaptists, Vermigli clearly felt, took inappropriate advantage of biblical texts like 1 Corinthians 14: 3, 26-32 (which was used by Zwingli and others in the 1520s in articulating a prophetic model of ministry) to claim that they themselves were the true prophets. If they were not stopped, Vermigli believed the Anabaptists would overturn all order in the Christian church. Against this backdrop, he argued that the prophetic office had served its purpose and has now ceased. In tandem with this, however, he states that he believes prophets still exist in his own day. To explain the presence of this belief, the article points to medieval elements found in Vermigli’s handling of prophecy. In particular, it discovers that he held the position, found in thinkers like Aquinas, that prophets can be raised up by God throughout the history of the church on an ad hoc basis to reform the church when the ordinary teaching ministry has failed in its duties.
Translated title of the contribution‘We need Teachers today, not Prophets;’ Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Exposition of Prophecy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-116
Number of pages24
JournalArchiv für Reformationsgeschichte
Early online date11 Dec 2013
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

provisional acceptance date added, based on publication information

Structured keywords

  • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition


  • Prophecy
  • Reformation
  • history
  • Vermigli
  • Bible


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