The First Helvetic Confession (Latin: Confessio Helvetica prior), known also as the Second Confession of Basel, was drawn up at that city in 1536 by Heinrich Bullinger and Leo Jud of Zürich, Kaspar Megander of Bern, Oswald Myconius and Simon Grynaeus of Basel, Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito of Strasbourg, with other representatives from Schaffhausen, St Gall, Mülhausen and Biel. The first draft was in Latin and the Zürich delegates objected to its Lutheran phraseology. Leo Jud's German translation was, however, accepted by all, and after Myconius and Grynaeus had modified the Latin form, both versions were agreed to and adopted on February 26, 1536.
The Second Helvetic Confession (Latin: Confessio Helvetica posterior) was written by Bullinger in 1562 and revised in 1564 as a private exercise. It came to the notice of Elector Palatine Frederick III, who had it translated into German and published. It gained a favorable hold on the Swiss churches, who had found the First Confession too short and too Lutheran. It was adopted by the Reformed Church not only throughout Switzerland but in Scotland (1566), Hungary (1567), France (1571), Poland (1578), and after the Westminster Confession of faith, the Scots Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism is the most generally recognized confession of the Reformed Church. The Second Helvetic Confession was also included in the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.'s Book of Confessions, in 1967, and remains in the Book of Confessions adopted by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
- L Thomas, La Confession helvétique (Geneva, 1853);
- Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, i. 390-420, iii. 234-306;
- Julius Müller, Die Bekenntnisschriften der reformierten Kirche (Leipzig, 1903).
- The Second Helvetic Confession in English Translation
- Text of the creeds from Schaff's Creeds of Christendom (vol. 3) at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library:
- History of the creeds from Schaff's Creeds of Christendom (vol. 1) at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library: