The medium of print spread the debate over the sacraments throughout Germany and Switzerland, but it also allowed that debate to escape the control of the reformers. Printers, editors, and translators influenced the presentation of ideas, and both language and literacy levels shaped their reception. Printed matter could distort as well as transmit the positions of individuals, and the false impressions it created were difficult to correct. The Eucharistic controversy furthered the development of Protestant sacramental theology. Zwingli’s understanding of the Lord’s Supper was not normative; he was instead one contributor, along with Karlstadt, Oecolampadius, Schwenckfeld, and the Strasbourg reformers, and all of them were influenced by Erasmus’s ontology, hermeneutics, and exegesis. The sacramentarians had no one to rival Luther’s personal authority. The Marburg Colloquy did not end the controversy, but it changed the issues being discussed. It was also the context for the emergence of a new source of authority, a confession accepted as defining orthodoxy.
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