Paul Gerhardt as a Hymn Writer and his Influence on English Hymnody
by Theodore Brown Hewitt
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Paul Gerhardt is considered Germany’s greatest hymn writer, his lyrics setting the
standard for not only hymn writing in German, but German lyric poetry generally.
Among his most famous hymns are “O sacred Head, now wounded” and “Jesus, Thy
boundless love to me.” As well as in Germany, many English-speaking Christians
worldwide recognize and cherish Gerhardt’s lyrics translated into their own language
by such revered people as John Wesley or James W. Alexander. Theodore Hewitt traces
Gerhardt’s broad and deep influence upon hymn writing in English in Paul Gerhardt
as a Hymn Writer. Hewitt’s work provides both insight into the mind of Gerhardt
and a fascinating study of the development of the hymn-writing tradition in the English
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