1483 - 1546 Author of "Good News From heaven To Earth I Bear" in Hymnal for Church and Home Luther, Martin, born at Eisleben, Nov. 10, 1483; entered the University of Erfurt, 1501 (B.A. 1502, M.A.. 1503); became an Augustinian monk, 1505; ordained priest, 1507; appointed Professor at the University of Wittenberg, 1508, and in 1512 D.D.; published his 95 Theses, 1517; and burnt the Papal Bull which had condemned them, 1520; attended the Diet of Worms, 1521; translated the Bible into German, 1521-34; and died at Eisleben, Feb. 18, 1546. The details of his life and of his work as a reformer are accessible to English readers in a great variety of forms. Luther had a huge influence on German hymnody.
i. Hymn Books.
1. Ellich cristlich lider Lobgesang un Psalm. Wittenberg, 1524. [Hamburg Library.] This contains 8 German hymns, of which 4 are by Luther.
2. Eyn Enchiridion oder Handbuchlein. Erfurt, 1524 [Goslar Library], with 25 German hymns, of which 18 are by Luther.
3. Geystliche Gesangk Buchleyn. Wittenberg, 1524 [Munich Library], with 32 German hymns, of which 24 are by Luther.
4. Geistliche Lieder auffs new gebessert. Wittenberg. J. Klug, 1529. No copy of this book is now known, but there was one in 1788 in the possession of G. E. Waldau, pastor at Nürnberg, and from his description it is evident that the first part of the Rostock Gesang-Buch, 1531, is a reprint of it. The Rostock Gesang-Buch, 1531, was reprinted by C. M. Wiechmann-Kadow at Schwerin in 1858. The 1529 evidently contained 50 German hymns, of which 29 (including the Litany) were by Luther.
5. Geistliche Lieder auffs new gebessert. Erfurt. A. Rauscher, 1531 [Helmstädt, now Wolfenbüttel Library], a reprint of No. 4.
6. Geistliche Lieder. Wittenberg. J. Klug, 1535 [Munich Library. Titlepage lost], with 52 German hymns, of which 29 are by Luther.
7. Geistliche Lieder auffs new gebessert. Leipzig. V. Schumann, 1539 [Wernigerode Library], with 68 German hymns, of which 29 are by Luther.
8. Geistliche Lieder. Wittenberg. J. Klug, 1543 [Hamburg Library], with 61 German hymns, of which 35 are by Luther.
9. Geystliche Lieder. Leipzig. V. Babst, 1545 [Gottingen Library]. This contains Luther's finally revised text, but adds no new hymns by himself. In pt. i. are 61 German hymns, in pt. ii. 40, of which 35 in all are by Luther.
For these books Luther wrote three prefaces, first published respectively in Nos. 3, 4, 9. A fourth is found in his Christliche Geseng, Lateinisch und Deudsch, zum Begrebnis, Wittenberg, J. Klug, 1542. These four prefaces are reprinted in Wackernagel’s Bibliographie, 1855, pp. 543-583, and in the various editions of Luther's Hymns. Among modern editions of Luther's Geistliche Lieder may be mentioned the following:—
Carl von Winterfeld, 1840; Dr. C. E. P. Wackernagel, 1848; Q. C. H. Stip, 1854; Wilhelm Schircks, 1854; Dr. Danneil, 1883; Dr. Karl Gerok, 1883; Dr. A. F. W. Fischer, 1883; A. Frommel, 1883; Karl Goedeke, 1883, &c. In The Hymns of Martin Luther. Set to their original melodies. With an English version. New York, 1883, ed. by Dr. Leonard Woolsey Bacon and Nathan H. Allen, there are the four prefaces, and English versions of all Luther's hymns, principally taken more or less altered, from the versions by A. T. Russell, R. Massie and Miss Winkworth [repub. in London, 1884]. Complete translations of Luther's hymns have been published by Dr. John Anderson, 1846 (2nd ed. 1847), Dr. John Hunt, 1853, Richard Massie, 1854, and Dr. G. Macdonald in the Sunday Magazine, 1867, and his Exotics, 1876. The other versions are given in detail in the notes on the individual hymns.
ii. Classified List of Luther's Hymns. Of Luther's hymns no classification can be quite perfect, e.g. No. 3 (see below) takes hardly anything from the Latin, and No. 18 hardly anything from the Psalm. No. 29 is partly based on earlier hymns (see p. 225, i.). No. 30 is partly based on St. Mark i. 9-11, and xvi., 15, 16 (see p. 226, ii.). No. 35 is partly based on St. Luke ii. 10-16. The following arrangement, however, will answer all practical purposes.
A. Translations from the Latin.
i. From Latin Hymns:
1. Christum wir sollen loben schon. A solis ortus cardine
2. Der du bist drei in Einigkeit. O Lux beata Trinitas.
3. Jesus Christus unser Heiland, Der von. Jesus Christus nostra salus
4. Komm Gott Schopfer, heiliger Geist. Veni Creator Spiritus, Mentes.
5. Nun komm der Beidenheiland. Veni Redemptor gentium
6. Was flirchst du Feind Herodes sehr. A solis ortus cardine
ii. From Latin Antiphons, &c.:
7. Herr Gott dich loben wir. Te Deum laudamus.
8. Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich. Dapacem, Domine
9. Wir glauben all an einen Gott.
iii. Partly from the Latin, the translated stanzas being adopted from Pre-Reformation Versions:
10. Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott.
11. Mitten wir im Leben sind. Media vita in morte sumus.
B. Hymns revised and enlarged from Pre-Reformation popular hymns.
12. Gelobet seist du Jesus Christ.
13. Gott der Vater wohn uns bei.
14. Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet.
15. Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist.
C. Psalm versions.
16. Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein.
17. Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir.
18. Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott.
19. Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl.
20. Es wollt uns Gott genädig sein.
21. War Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit.
22. Wohl dem, der in Gotten Furcht steht.
D. Paraphrases of other portions of Holy Scripture.
23. Diess sind die heilgen zehn Gebot.
24. Jesaia dem Propheten das geschah.
25. Mensch willt du leben seliglich.
26. Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin.
27. Sie ist mir lieb die werthe Magd.
28. Vater unser im Himmelreich.
E. Hymns mainly Original.
29. Christ lag in Todesbanden.
30. Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam.
31. Ein neues Lied wir heben an.
32. Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort.
33. Jesus Christus unser Heiland, Der den,
34. Nun freut euch lieben Christengemein.
35. Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her.
36. Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schaar.
In addition to these —
37. Fur alien Freuden auf Erden.
38. Kyrie eleison.
In the Blätter fur Hymnologie, 1883, Dr. Daniel arranges Luther's hymns according to what he thinks their adaptation to modern German common use as follows:—
i. Hymns which ought to be included in every good Evangelical hymn-book: Nos. 7-18, 20, 22, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, 35, 36, 38.
ii. Hymns the reception of which into a hymn-book might be contested: Nos. 2, 3, 4, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 33.
iii. Hymns not suited for a hymn-book: Nos. 1, 5, 6, 27, 31, 37.
[Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)