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Justus Gesenius (Hymn-Writer)

Born: July 6, 1601 - Esbeck (near Lauenstein, Hannover), Lower Saxony, Germany
Died: September 18, 1673 - Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany

Justus Gesenius, D. D. was the son of Joachim Gesenius, pastor at Esbeck. He studied theology at the universities of Helmstedt and Jena, receiving the degree of master of arts at the latter institution in 1628.

In 1629 Justus Gesenius became pastor of the church of St. Magnus at Brunswick. In 1636 court chaplain and preacher at the Cathedral in Hildesheim; and in 1642 chief court preacher, “consistorialrath” (councelor), and general superintendent of Hannover. Gesenius was an accomplished and influential theologian, a famous preacher, who distinguished himself by his efforts to further the catechetical instruction of the laity.

Justus Gesenius and David Denicke were coeditors of the Hanoverian Hymn-Books of 1646-1660. They did not give any of the authors names, and they recast many of the hymns according to the poetical canons of Martin Opitz. In some cases they destroyed very much, but their book was not as bad as the recasts of the rationalistic period. In spite of their shortcomings these hymnals met with favor and were widely used. Johann Gerhard, the noted theologian, used the fifth stanza of this hymn every day as a means of reminding himself of the suffering and death of Jesus.


Source: BCL Website [Dahle, Library of Christian Hymns; Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal]
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2003)

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 77

Chorale Texts used in Bach’s Vocal Works





Links to other Sites

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary Handbook - Biographies and Sources (BCL)




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