Heermann, Johann, son of Johannes Heermann, furrier at Baudten, near Wohlau, Silesia, was born at Baudten, Oct. 11, 1585. He was the fifth but only surviving child of his parents, and during a severe illness in his childhood his mother vowed that if he recovered she would educate him for the ministry, even though she had to beg the necessary money. He passed through the schools at Wohlau; at Fraustadt (where he lived in the house of Valerius Herberger, q. v., who took a great interest in him); the St. Elizabeth gymnasium at Breslau; and the gymnasium at Brieg. At Easter, 1609, he accompanied two young noblemen (sons of Baron Wenzel von Rothkirch), to whom he had been tutor at Brieg, to the University of Strassburg; but an affection of the e… Go to person page >
Translator: Catherine Winkworth
Catherine Winkworth is "the most gifted translator of any foreign sacred lyrics into our tongue, after Dr. Neale and John Wesley; and in practical services rendered, taking quality with quantity, the first of those who have laboured upon German hymns. Our knowledge of them is due to her more largely than to any or all other translators; and by her two series of Lyra Germanica, her Chorale Book, and her Christian Singers of Germany, she has laid all English-speaking Christians under lasting obligation."
--Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872… Go to person page >
Initially Luther used the folk melody associated with his first stanza as the tune for this hymn. Later he composed this new tune for his text. VOM HIMMEL HOCH was first published in Valentin Schumann's Geistliche Lieder in 1539. Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) used Luther's melody in three places in his wel…