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Erasmus Alberus (Poet)

Born: c1500 - village of Sprendlingen near Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Died: May 5, 1553 - Mecklenburg, Germany

Erasmus Alberus [Alber] was a German humanist, reformer, and poet. Although his father was a schoolmaster, his early education was neglected.

Ultimately in 1518 he found his way to the University of Wittenberg, where he studied theology. He had the good fortune to attract the attention of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon, and subsequently became one of Luther's most active helpers in the Protestant Reformation.

Not only did Erasmus Alberus fight for the Protestant cause as a preacher and theologian, but he was almost the only member of Luther's party who was able to confront the Roman Catholics with the weapon of literary satire. In 1542 he published a prose satire to which Luther wrote the preface, Der Barfusser Monche Eulenspiegel und Alkoran, an adaptation of the Liber confermitatum of the Franciscan Bartolommeo Albizzi of Pisa, in which the Franciscan order is held up to ridicule.

Of higher literary value is the didactic and satirical Buch von der Tugend und Weisheit (1550), a collection of forty-nine fables in which Erasmus Alberus embodies his views on the relations of Church and State. His satire is incisive, but in a scholarly and humanistic way; it does not appeal to popular passions with the fierce directness which enabled the master of Catholic satire, Thomas Murner, to inflict such telling blows. Several of his hymns, all of which show the influence of his master Luther, have been retained in the German Protestant hymnal.

After Luther's death, Alberus was for a time a deacon in Wittenberg; he became involved, however, in the political conflicts of the time, and was in Magdeburg in 1550-1551, while that town was besieged by Maurice of Saxony. In 1552 he was appointed Generalsuperintendent at Neubrandenburg in Mecklenburg, where he died on May 5, 1553.


Erasmus Albertus is the text poet of the church song:
Ihr lieben Christen, freut euch nun (EG 6/EKG 3)
Mein Seel, o Herr, muß loben dich (EG 308)
Steht auf, ihr lieben Kinderlein (EG 442/EKG 338)
Wir danken Gott für seine Gaben (EG 458/EKG 372)
Christe, du bist der helle Tag (EG 469/EKG 354)
Vom Grickel Interim“ Spottlied
Wohlauf, ihr lieben Landsknecht, Und steht dem Wort Gottes bei

Wider die verfluchte Lehre der Carlstader, (1556; 2nd Edition 1594)
Wider das Lesterbuch des hochfliehenden Osiander (1551)
Iudicium Erasmi Alberti de Spongia Erasmi Roterodami (1524)
Harmonica evangeliorum (verschollen)
Buch von der Ehe (1536)
Praecepta morum utilissima (1536; 2nd Edition 1537; 3rd Edition 1545/48)
Virtutes comitis (1545)
Novum Dietionarii Genus, Frankfurt (1540)
Kurze Beschreibung der Wetterau (1552)
Daß der Glaub an Jesum Christum allein und selig mache, wider Jörg Witzeln, Mamelucken und Ischarioten
fides infusa
Vom Unterschied der Evangelistischen un Papistischen Messe
Dialog oder Gespräch etlicher Personen vom Interim (1548)
Vermahnungan die christliche Kirche im Sachsenland (1549)
Den Kindern zu Hamburg Zehn Dialoge (1551)
Von der Kinder Tauf (1555)

Fables, including:
o Von einem Zugochsen und einem jungen Mast- oder Weidochsen
o Von dem Wald und einem Bauern
o Von einem armen Edelmann
o Von einem Hund und einem Schatten
o Von einem Wolf und einem Lamm
o Von einem Frosch und einem Fuchs
o Von einem Raben und einem Fuchs
o Von einem Weib ubnd ihren Mägden
o Von einem Müller und einem Esel
o Von einer Maus und einem Frosch
o Der Barfüsser Mönche Eulenspiegel und Alkoran (Wittenberg, 1542)

o Etliche Fabel Esopi (1534 with 17 fables and 2nd Edition as
o Das Buch von der Tugend und Weisheit (Frankfurt, 1550 with 49 fables)


Source: Wikipdia Website (from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition); German Wikipdia Website,
Contributed by
Teddy Kaufman (August 2006)

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 319

Chorale Texts used in Bach’s Vocal Works





Links to other Sites

Erasmus Alber (Wikipedia) [German]

Erasmus Alberus (Wikipedia)


Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie Band 1 Seite 219
Neue Deutsche Biographie Band 1 Seite 123
Robert Stupperich „Reformatorenlexikon“ Verlag Max Mohn Güterloh 1984 ISBN 3-579-00123-X
Theologische Realenzyklopedie Band 2 Seite 168-170 erschienen im Walter de Gruyter Verlag 1977 ISBN 3-11-006944-X
Biographisch-Biblographisches Kirchenlexikon Band 1 Spalte 76-77 online Version

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Last update: ýAugust 30, 2006 ý19:45:19