The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Gerhardt, Paul

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

GERHARDT, Paul, German hymn-writer: b. Gräfenhainichen, Saxony, 1607; d. Lübben, 7 June 1676. He studied at Wittenberg, and became pastor at Mittenwalde. Removing to Berlin in 1657, he became deacon at the Nicolaikirche, where he remained until 1666, when he was deprived of his office because of his refusal to accept the diet of Frederick William. Later this deprivation was annulled through popular intercession, but Gerhardt would not compromise, and remained for a time without employment. In 1668 he became archdeacon at Lübben, where he remained until his death. He was staunch in his support of the Lutheran doctrines, and defended them ardently against the Reformed Churches. He is especially renowned for his hymns, ranking in that field with Luther. They were published first in hymn-books, but the earliest complete set is the ‘Geistliche Annalen’ (1666-67) with music by Ebeling. Consult critical editions by Bachmann (Berlin 1866) and the Goedeke (Leipzig 1877); and the ‘Life’ by Langbecker (Berlin 1841). The best modern editions are by Wackernagel (1843), which has gone through many editions, and an English translation by Kelley, ‘Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs’ (1867).