MARBURG, COLLOQUY OF, the name given to a con ference of divines held in 1529 in the interests of the unity of Protestant Germany. The circumstances in which it was held, the influence of the men who conducted its deliberations, and the result of its proceedings, combine to render it of no small im portance for the history of the Reformation in Germany.
The measures taken by the Catholic party to resist the progress of the Reformation, especially by resolutions at Speyer (1526 and 1529), would be met only by the united force of all the princes and states subscribing to the Evangelical teaching; and this unity was wanting. The feud which raged round the doctrine of the Lord's Supper had already broken out before the first diet of Spires, and had aroused great and immediate excitement. At a very early period, however, efforts were made to allay the dis sension. Strassburg pronounced for conciliation: but the most powerful and zealous champion of peace was to be found in the landgrave Philip of Hesse, who recognized the absolute necessity —from a political standpoint—of the union of all German Prot estants. It was obvious that a permanent coalition could not be expected unless some definite understanding on the debated point could be attained; and the landgrave succeeded in bringing about a conference or "colloquy" at Marburg, in October 1529.
The proceedings opened on the ist of October with conferences between Luther and Oecolampadius, and Melanchthon and Zwingli : then on the two following days the discussion proper— confined almost entirely to Luther and Zwingli—was held before the landgrave and his guest Duke Ulrich of 'Wurttemberg, in the presence of more than fifty persons. As regards the main point
of contention, i.e., the doctrine of the Lord's Supper, no agree ment was found practicable ; and the private conversations on the 4th of October, which formed the sequel of the debate, carried matters no farther. Since the landgrave, however, was reluctant to see the colloquy brought to an absolutely fruitless close, he requested Luther to draw up a list of the most important points of doctrine on which it might yet be possible to arrive at some degree of unanimity. This was done on the 4th of October; and a few alterations were introduced to meet the wishes of the Swiss deputies. The Articles of Marburg, which thus came into being, contain the doctrine of the Trinity, of the personality of Christ, of faith and justification, of the Scriptures, of baptism, of good works, of confession, of government, of tradition and of infant baptism. The fifteenth article, treating of the Lord's Supper, defines the ground common to both parties even in this debat able region, recognizing the necessity of participation in both kinds, and rejecting the sacrifice of the Mass. It then proceeds to fix the point of difference in the fact that no agreement had been reached on the question "whether the true body and blood of Christ are corporeally present in the bread and wine." See T. Kolde, s.v. "Marburger Religionsgesprach," in Realencyklo pddie f. protestant. Theologie, 3rd ed. xii. 248 seq.