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University Years

It is natural that Gerhardt on completing his course at Grimma in 1627 should choose Wittenberg as his university, for it was situated almost at the gates of his native town. Furthermore since this was the place where Luther and Melanchthon had worked, the Protestant world looked toward Wittenberg with great hopes. He entered the university in 1628. Two of the teachers in particular had great influence on him, Paul Röber and Jacob Martini. These men were guardians of Lutheranism, and Röber besides composing hymns wrote many Latin disputations and polemics against Rome and Calvinism; in his sermons he often took his text, not from the Bible but from some religious poem, preaching for example on "Was mein Gott will, das gescheh allzeit." In this way Gerhardt was taught the 2 full use and purpose of hymn writing. Beside Röber and Martini another Wittenberg professor was of influence on Gerhardt, the philologist August Buchner, one of the most esteemed members of the faculty. He had intimate friendship with Opitz and had warmly advocated the latter's Von der Deutschen Poeterei and had himself written Anleitung zur deutschen Poeterey. As this book was easily copied55In 1665 there was published an authentic edition. by many of the students, it is reasonable to assume that this effort toward spreading Opitz' rules for rhythmic measure had its due influence on Gerhardt.

More is not known concerning his university career. A Latin epigram of the year 1642 points to the probability of his being still at Wittenberg, vhile the certainty of his being in Berlin the next year 1643 is proved by a Hochzeitsode.66Cf. Goed. 10: "Der aller Herz und Willen lenkt." Gerhardt was undoubtedly tutor in the house of Andreas Barthold then "Kammergerichtsadvokat," whose daughter wedded Joachim Fromme, the archdeacon of the Nicolaikirche in Berlin; this wedding was the occasion of the congratulatory Hochzeitsode. During this period in Berlin from his thirty-seventh to his forty-sixth year he wrote a number of "Gelegenheitsgedichte" which show us Gerhardt as quite at home moving in a circle of educators and clergymen.


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