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Angelus Silesius

Angelus Silesius
Born Johann Scheffler
baptised 25 December 1624
Breslau, Silesia (now Wrocław, Poland)
Died 9 July 1677 (age 52)
Breslau, Silesia (now Wrocław, Poland)
Nationality Silesian (German, Polish)
Alma mater University of Strasbourg,
Leiden University,
University of Padua
Occupation Physician, priest, mystic and religious poet
Notable work Heilige Seelenlust (1657)
Der Cherubinischer Wandersmann (1657)
Ecclesiologia (1677)
Style mystical poetry, religious tracts
Religion Christian
Denomination Roman Catholic

Angelus Silesius (c. 1624 – 9 July 1677), born Johann Scheffler and also known as Johann Angelus Silesius, was a German Catholic priest and physician, known as a mystic and religious poet. Born and raised a Lutheran, he adopted the name Angelus (Latin for "angel" or "heavenly messenger") and the epithet Silesius ("Silesian") on converting to Catholicism in 1653.[1] While studying in the Netherlands, he began to read the works of medieval mystics and became acquainted with the works of the German mystic Jacob Böhme through Böhme's friend, Abraham von Franckenberg.[2] Silesius's mystical beliefs caused tension between him and Lutheran authorities and led to his eventual conversion to Catholicism. He took holy orders under the Franciscans and was ordained a priest in 1661. Ten years later, in 1671, he retired to a Jesuit house where he remained for the rest of his life.[1]

An enthusiastic convert and priest, Silesius worked to convince German Protestants in Silesia to return to the Roman Catholic Church.[1] He composed 55 tracts and pamphlets condemning Protestantism, several of which were published in two folio volumes entitled Ecclesiologia (trans. "The Words of the Church"). He is now remembered chiefly for his religious poetry, and in particular for two poetical works both published in 1657: Heilige Seelenlust (literally, "The Soul's Holy Desires"), a collection of more than 200 religious hymn texts that have been used by Catholics and Protestants; and Der Cherubinischer Wandersmann ("The Cherubinic Pilgrim"), a collection of 1,676 short poems, mostly Alexandrine couplets. His poetry explores themes of mysticism, quietism, and pantheism within an orthodox Catholic context.[1]


  • Life 1
    • Early life and education 1.1
    • Physician 1.2
    • Priest and poet 1.3
    • Death 1.4
  • Importance 2
    • Interpretation of his work 2.1
    • Use in hymns 2.2
    • Silesius in modern culture 2.3
  • Works 3
    • Poetry 3.1
    • Theological tracts and polemical writings 3.2
  • See also 4
  • References 5
    • Notes 5.1
    • Further reading 5.2
  • External links 6


Early life and education

While his exact birthdate is unknown, it is believed that Silesius was born in December 1624 in Breslau, the capital of Silesia. The earliest mention of him is the registration of his baptism on Christmas Day, 25 December 1624. At the time, Silesia was a German-speaking province of the Habsburg Empire. Today, it is the southwestern region of Poland. Baptized Johann Scheffler, he was the first of three children. His parents, who married in February 1624, were Lutheran.[3] His father, Stanislaus Scheffler (c. 1562-1637), was of Polish ancestry and was a member of the lower nobility. Stanislaus dedicated his life to the military was made Lord of Borowice (or Vorwicze) and received a knighthood from King Sigismund III.[2] A few years before his son's birth, he had retired from military service in Kraków. In 1624, he was 62. The child's mother, Maria Hennemann (c. 1600-1639), was a 24-year-old daughter of a local physician with ties to the Habsburg Imperial court.[4]

Scheffler obtained his early education at the Elisabethsgymnasium (Saint Elizabeth's Gymnasium, or high school) in Breslau. His earliest poems were written and published during these formative years. Scheffler was probably influenced by the recently published works of poet and scholar Martin Opitz and by one of his teachers, poet Christoph Köler.[4]

He subsequently studied medicine and science at the University of Strasbourg (or Strassburg) in Alsace for a year in 1643.[2] It was a Lutheran university with a course of study that embraced Renaissance humanism. From 1644 to 1647, he attended Leiden University. At this time, he was introduced to the writings of Jacob Böhme (1575-1624) and became acquainted with one of Böhme's friends, Abraham von Franckenberg (1593-1652), who probably introduced him to ancient Kabbalist writings, alchemy, and hermeticism, and to mystic writers living in Amsterdam.[2][4][5] Franckenberg had been compiling a complete edition of Böhme's work at the time Scheffler resided in the Netherlands. The Dutch Republic provided refuge to many religious sects, mystics, and scholars who were persecuted elsewhere in Europe.[4] Scheffler then went to Italy and enrolled in studies at the University of Padua in Padua in September 1647. A year later, he received a doctoral degree in philosophy and medicine and returned to his homeland.[2]


On 3 November 1649, Scheffler was appointed to be the court physician to Silvius I Nimrod, Duke of Württemberg-Oels (1622-1664) and was given an annual salary of 175 thalers. Although he was “recommended to the Duke on account of his good qualities and his experience in medicine,”[2] it is likely that Scheffler's friend and mentor, Abraham von Franckenberg, had arranged the appointment given his closeness to the Duke. Franckenberg was the son of a minor noble from the village of Ludwigsdorf near Oels within the duchy.[5] Franckenberg returned to the region the year before.[5] It is also possible that Scheffler's brother-in-law, Tobias Brückner, who was also a physician to the Duke of Württemberg-Oels, may have recommended him.[4] Scheffler soon was not happy in his position as his personal mysticism and critical views on Lutheran doctrine (especially his disagreements with the Augsburg Confession) caused friction with the Duke and members of the ducal court. The Duke was characterized in history as being "a zealous Lutheran and very bigoted."[2] Coincidentally, it was at this time that Scheffler began to have mystical visions, which along with his public pronouncements led local Lutheran clergy to consider him a heretic. After Franckenberg's death in June 1652, Scheffler resigned his position—he may have been forced to resign—and sought refuge under the protection of the Roman Catholic Church.[6]

Priest and poet

Protestant authorities attacked and denounced Silesius in print for his Catholic and mystical beliefs, as with this caricature from the Wohlverdientes Kapitel (1664) depicting him as a peddler of potions, rosaries, gambling cards and dice, spectacles, and other immoral wares.[7]

The Lutheran authorities in the Reformed states of the Empire were not tolerant of Scheffler's increasing mysticism, and he was publicly attacked and denounced as a heretic. At this time, the Habsburg rulers (who were Catholic) were pushing for a Counter Reformation and advocated a re-Catholicisation of Europe.[7] Scheffler sought to convert to Catholicism and was received by the Church of Saint Matthias in Breslau on 12 June 1653. Upon being received, he took the name Angelus, the Latin form of "angel", derived from the Greek ángelos (ἄγγελος, "messenger"); for his epithet, he took Silesius (Latin for "Silesian").[1] It is uncertain why he took this name, but he may have added it in honour of his native Silesia or to honor a favourite scholastic, mystic or theosophic author, to distinguish himself from other famous writers of his era: perhaps the Spanish poet John ab Angelis (author of The Triumph of Love) or Lutheran theologian Johann Angelus in Darmstadt.[2][4] He no longer used the name Scheffler, but did on occasion use his first name, Johann. From 1653 until his death, he used the names Angelus Silesius and also Johann Angelus Silesius.

Shortly after his conversion, on 24 March 1654, Silesius received an appointment as Imperial Court Physician to Ferdinand III, the Holy Roman Emperor. However, this was probably an honorary position to offer some official protection against Lutheran attackers, as Silesius never went to Vienna to serve the Imperial Court. It is very likely that he never practiced medicine after his conversion to Catholicism.[2]

In the late 1650s, he sought permission (a nihil obstat or imprimatur) from Catholic authorities in Vienna and Breslau to begin publishing his poetry.[2] He had begun writing poetry at an early age, publishing a few occasional pieces when a schoolboy in 1641 and 1642.[4] He attempted to publish poetry while working for the Duke of Württemberg-Oels, but was refused permission by the Duke's orthodox Lutheran court clergyman, Christoph Freitag. However, in 1657, after obtaining the approval of the Catholic Church, two collections of his poems were published—the works for which he is known—Heilige Seelenlust ("The Soul's Holy Desire") and Der Cherubinische Wandersmann ("The Cherubinic Pilgrim").

On 27 February 1661, Silesius took holy orders as a Franciscan. Three months later, he was ordained a priest in the Silesian Duchy of Neisse—an area of successful re-Catholicisation and one of two ecclesiastical states within the region (that is, ruled by a Prince-Bishop). When his friend Sebastian von Rostock (1607-1671) became Prince-Bishop of Breslau, Silesius was appointed his Rath und Hofmarschall (a counselor and Chamberlain).[7] During this time, he began publishing over fifty tracts attacking Lutheranism and the Protestant Reformation. Thirty-nine of these essays he later compiled into a two-volume folio collection entitled Ecclesiologia (1676).[1]


After the death of the Prince-Bishop of Breslau in 1671, Silesius retired to the Hospice of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star (the Matthiasstift), a Jesuit house associated with the church of Saint Matthias at Breslau.[1][4] He died on 9 July 1677 and was buried there. Some sources claim he died from tuberculosis ("consumption"), others describe his illness as a "wasting sickness."[2] Immediately after news of his death spread, several of his Protestant detractors spread the untrue rumor that Silesius had hanged himself.[4] By his Will, he distributed his fortune, largely inherited from his father's noble estate, to pious and charitable institutions, including orphanages.[1]


Interpretation of his work

The poetry of Angelus Silesius consists largely of epigrams in the form of alexandrine couplets—the style that dominated German poetry and mystical literature during the Baroque era.[2] According to Baker, the epigram was key to conveying mysticism, because “the epigram with its tendency towards brevity and pointedness is a suitable genre to cope with the aesthetic problem of the ineffability of the mystical experience.”[8] The Encyclopaedia Brittanica identifies these epigrams as Reimsprüche—or rhymed distichs—and describes them as:

Silesius's poetry directs the reader to seek a path toward a desired spiritual state, an eternal stillness, by eschewing material or physical needs and the human will. It requires an understanding of God that is informed by the ideas of apophatic theology and of antithesis and paradox.[10] Some of Silesius's writings and beliefs that bordered on pantheism or panentheism caused tensions between Silesius and local Protestant authorities. However, in the introduction to Der Cherubinischer Wandersmann, he explained his poetry (especially its paradoxes) within the framework of Catholic orthodoxy and denied pantheism which would have run afoul of Catholic doctrine.[1]

His mysticism is informed by the influences of Böhme and Franckenberg as well as of prominent writers

  • Selections of the Cherubinic Wanderer with bilingual audio recording.
  • Two Silesius' texts in English translation

External links

  • Angelus Silesius. Sämtliche Poetische Werke edited by Hans Ludwig Held (Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1952).
  • "Angelus Silesius", , 9th ed.Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. II, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1878, p. 28 .
  • Dünnhaupt, Gerhard. "Johannes Scheffler" in Personal Bibliographies to the Printing of the Baroque. Volume 5: Praetorius - Spee. (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1991), 3527-3556. ISBN 3-7772-9013-0
  • Föllmi, Hugo Czepko and Scheffler. Studies on Angelus Silesius' "Cherubinischem Wanderer" and Daniel Czepkos "Sexcenta Monodisticha Sapientum." (Dissertation) (Zurich: Juris, 1968).
  • Heiduk, Franz. "Scheffler, John" in Dictionary of German literature. Biographical and bibliographical guide. Volume 14: Salt Knife - Schilling. Kolsh, W. Rupp, H. Lang, C. L. (editors). (3rd Edition - Berlin, de Gruyter, 1992), 349-359. ISBN 3-317-01649-3
  • Kienzler, Klaus. "Silesius Angelus, real name "Johann Scheffler." in Biographic-Bibliographic Church Encyclopedia (BBKL). Volume 10. (Herzberg, Bautz, 1995), 322-324. ISBN 3-88309-062-X
  • Lemcke, Louis. "Angelus Silesius" in General German Biography (ADB). Volume 1. (Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1875), 453-456.
  • Reichert, Ernst Otto. "Ernst Otto Reichert as John Scheffler dispute theologian. Presented at the denominational polemical treatises ecclesiologia" in Studien zu Religion, Geschichte und Geisteswissenschaft 4 (trans. Studies on Religion, History and Humanities 4) (Gütersloh: Gütersloh publishing house G. Mohn, 1967; Münster and Westphalia: Habil font). ISSN 0081-718X
  • Schaefer, Renate. Negation as a form of expression with particular attention to the language of the Angelus Silesius (Dissertation) Universität Bonn, 1958.
  • Stammler, Wolfgang. "Angelus Silesius" in New German Biography (NDB). Volume 1 (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1953), 288-291. ISBN 3-428-00182-6
  • Wehr, Gerhard. Angelus Silesius: The Mystic. (Wiesbaden: Marix Verlag, 2011). ISBN 978-3-86539-258-9.

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i  Benedict, Guldner (1907). "Silesius Angelus".  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Paterson, Hugh Sinclair; Exell, Joseph Samuel (October 1870). "Angelus Silesius: Physician, Priest and Poet". The British & Foreign Evangelical Review XIX (LXXIV). London: James Nisbet & Co. pp. 682–700, based in large part on Kahlert, August (Dr.). Angelus Silesius: Ein literar-historiche Untersuchung (Breslau: s.n., 1853). 
  3. ^ Sources (including Flitch, vide infra) state he had a younger sister, Magdalena (b. 1626), and brother, Christian (b. 1630). His sister Magdalena married a doctor named Tobias Brückner. His brother Christian is recorded in history as either "feebleminded" or mentally ill.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Flitch, J. E. Crawford (translator). "Introduction" in Angelus Silesius: Selections from the Cherubinic Wanderer (London, 1932), 15-64. Can be found online here: (accessed 17 July 2012).
  5. ^ a b c Stockum, T.C. von. Zwischen Jakob Böhme und Johannes Scheffler: Abraham von Franckenberg (1593-1652) und Daniel Czepko von Reigersfeld (1605-1660). (Amsterdam: Mededelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie von Wetenschappen, 1967), passim.
  6. ^ a b c d Hatfield, Edwin Francis. The Poets of the Church: A series of biographical sketches of hymn-writers with notes on their hymns. (New York: Anson D.F. Randolph & Co., 1884), p. 530.
  7. ^ a b c Carus, Paul. "Angelus Silesius" in The Open Court Volume XXII (Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1908), 290-297.
  8. ^ Baker, Christopher (ed.), "Johann Scheffler (Angelus Silesius)" in Absolutism and the Scientific Revolution, 1600-1720: A Biographical Dictionary (Wesport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2002), 343.
  9. ^ a b "Angelus Silesius", , 11th ed.Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. II,  .
  10. ^ Reinhart, Max (ed.). Early Modern German Literature 1350–1700. Camden House History of German Literature. Volume 4 (Rochester, New York: Camden House, 2007), 447.
  11. ^ Ellinger, Georg. Angelus Silesius (Breslau: W.G. Korn, 1927).
  12. ^ Borges, Jorge Luis. Seite Noches. (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1980), 120–121; translated by Weinberger, Eliot. Seven Nights. (New York: New Directions, 1984), 93–94. The lectures were originally given in 1977.
  13. ^ See, for instance, the Borges poem Al idioma alemán ("To the German language") in El oro de los tigres (PDF) (1972).
  14. ^ Caputo, John D. (1986) [First edition: 1978, Ohio University Press]. "A Verse from Angelus Silesias". The Mystical Element in Heidegger's Thought. Fordham University Press. pp. 60–66.  
  15. ^ Dutens, Ludovici (ed.) Gothofredi Guillelmi Leibnitii Opera Omnia (6 volumes) (Geneva: s.n., 1768; reprinted Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1989), VI:56.
  16. ^ a b Heidegger, Martin. Der Satz vom Grund. (Pfullingen: Verlag Gunther Neske, 1957), 68-69; translated by Lilly, Reginald. The Principle of Reason. (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991), 36 ff.
  17. ^ Strick, Wesley and Webb, James R. Screenplay for "Cape Fear" (1991 film) adapted from the novel The Executioners by John D. MacDonald.
  18. ^ Silesius, Angelus (1966). Aus dem Cherubinischen Wandersmann. Stuttgart: Reclam. p. 23. 
  19. ^ Silesius, Angelus. "Cherubinischer Wandersmann". Retrieved 31 December 2014. 



See also

  • 1653: Gründtliche Ursachen von Motiven, warumb Er Von dem Lutherthumb abgetretten, und sich zu der Catholischen Kyrchen bekennet hat. (trans. "a thorough examination of his motives why he has deviated from Lutheranism and confessed to the Catholic church")
  • 1663: Türcken-Schrifft Von den Ursachen der Türkischen Überziehung. (trans. Writing on the Turks: Of the causes of the Turkish invasion")
  • 1664: Kehr-Wisch Zu Abkehrung des Ungeziefers Mit welchem seine wolgemeinte Tückenschrifft Christianus Chemmtis hat wollen verhast machen. (trans. "A Sweeping conversion of the Vermin which Christ would want to make with his well-intentioned trickery")
  • 1664: Zerbrochene Triumphs-Wagen auff welchem er Uber die Lutheraner triumphirend einzufahren ihm im Traum vorkommen lassen. (trans. "The Broken Triumph Wagon, over which he triumphantly can tell the Lutherans it can happen in a dream")
  • 1664: Christen-Schrifft Von dem herrlichen Kennzeichen deß Volkes Gottes. (trans. "That the Christian scriptures are the lovely mark of God's people")
  • 1664: Und Scheffler redet noch! Daß ist Johannis Schefflers Schutz-Rede Für sich und seine Christen-Schrifft. (trans. "And Scheffler still speaks! That Johann Scheffler's protecting speech for himself and his Christian scriptures")
  • 1665: Kommet her und Sehet mit vernünfftigen Augen wie Joseph und die Heiligen bey den Catholischen geeehret. (trans. "Come and Behold, glorified with reasonable eyes as Joseph and the Saints by the Catholics")
  • 1665: Der Lutheraner und Calvinisten Abgott der Vernunfft entblösset dargestellt. (trans. "The God of Reason of the Lutherans and Calivinsits shown denuded.")
  • 1665: Gülden-Griff Welcher Gestalt alle Ketzer auch von dem Ungelehrtesten leichtlich können gemeistert werden.
  • 1666: Des Römischen Bapists Oberhauptmannschaft über die gantze allgemeine Kirche Christi. (trans. "The Roman Baptists' leadership of the entire general Church of Christ")
  • 1667: Johannis Schefflers Gründliche Außführung Daß die Lutheraner auf keine weise noch wege ihren Glauben in der Schrifft zu zeigen vermögen und ihr Gott ein blosser Wahn Bild oder Ding ihrer Vernunfft sey. (trans. "A thorough handling that the Lutherans have no routes to their faith in the Scriptures to show their God as either a mere hallucination or a thing of reason")
  • 1670: Kurtze Erörterung Der Frage Ob die Lutheraner in Schlesien der in Instrumento Pacis denen Augsburgischen Confessions-Verwandten verliehenen Religions-Freyheit sich getrösten können. (trans. "A short discussion of the question whether religious liberty can exist with the Lutherans in Silesia where the Augsburg Confessions have been accorded an Instrument of Peace")
  • 1670: Christiani Conscientiosi Sendschreiben An Alle Evangelische Universitäten in welchem er seine Gewissens-Scrupel proponirt. (trans. "To all conscientious Christians: A Letter to all Protestant Universities in which he proposes his scruples of conscience")
  • 1671: Johann Schefflers Erweiß Daß der gröste Hauffe die rechte Kirche sey; Und man sich kurtzumb zu der Catholischen Kirche begeben musse wo man ewig Seelig werden wil. (trans. "Johann Scheffler's knowledge that the greates home the true church is—to go to the Catholic church where you will be forever blessed")
  • 1672: J. E. InformationSchreiben Wegen des Fegefeuers an E. V. In welchem unüberwindlich erwiesen wird daß mehr als zwey Orte der Seelen nach dem Tode und ein Fegefeuer sey. (trans. "An informative letter on Purgatory, proving insurmountably the more than two places of the soul after death and purgatory")
  • 1673: Hierothei Boranowsky Gerechtfertigter Gewissens-Zwang Oder Erweiß daß man die Ketzer zum wahren Glauben zwingen könne und solle. (trans. Boranowsky's The Justified Coercion of Conscience, or the knowledge of what could and should force heretics to the true faith")
  • 1675: Johannis Schefflers Alleiniges Him[m]elreich Das ist Abweisung Des schädlichen Wahns daß man wol Seelig werden könne wenn man gleich nicht Catholisch wird. (trans. "Johann Scheffler's The Kingdom of Heaven alone rejects the harmful delusion that you can be saved if you are not Catholic")
  • 1675: D. J. Schefflers Vernünfftiger Gottes-Dienst. (trans. "J. Scheffler's Reasonable Service to God")
  • 1675: Der Catholisch gewordene Bauer Und Lutherische Doctor (trans. "The Catholic becomes a farmer and Lutheran Doctor")
  • 1677: Ecclesiologia Oder Kirche-Beschreibung. (trans. "The Words of the Church, or Description of the Church")

Theological tracts and polemical writings

  • 1642: Bonus Consiliarius (trans. The Good Counselor)
  • 1657: Heilige Seelenlust, oder geistliche Hirtenlieder der in ihren Jesum verliebten Psyche (trans. "The Soul's Holy Desires, or the Spiritual Songs of the Shepherd in your Christ-loving Spirit")
  • 1657: Geistreiche Sinn-und-Schlussreime zur göttlichen Beschaulichkeit (trans. "Ingenious Aphorisms in End-Rhymes to Divine Tranquility", or "Witty Aphorisms in End-Rhymes to Divine Tranquility") renamed in the 2nd edition (1674) to Der Cherbinische Wandersmann (trans. "The Cherubinic Pilgrim")
  • 1675: Sinnliche Beschreibung der vier letzten Dinge, zu heilsamen Schröken und Auffmunterung aller Menschen inn Druck gegeben. Mit der himmlischen Procession vermehrt, &c. (trans. "A Sensuous Representation of the Four Last Things...")


The title page of the 1674 edition Der Cherubinische Wandersmann


However, the context of this line in the film does not match the context intended by Silesius. The character of Cady uses it to emphasize dramatically to his intended victims the power of his individual will and his god-like ability to exact a violent vengeance. The context intended by Silesius was of man's realization through his spiritual potential for perfection that he was of the same substance with God in the sense of the mystical divine union or theosis—that experience of direct communion of love between the believer and God as equals.[9]

In the 1991 American film Cape Fear directed by Martin Scorsese, Max Cady (played by Robert De Niro) quotes a verse of Silesius.[17] The verse is:

This same line was often referenced in the work of Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) who (building on the work of Leibniz and Hegel) explored mysticism in many of his works, in which he defines a theory of truth as phenomenal and defying any rational explanation.[14] Heidegger was commenting on the rational philosophy of German philosopher and mathematician Leibniz (1646-1716)—a contemporary of Silesius—who called the mystic's poetry "beautiful", but "extraordinarily daring, full of difficult metaphors and inclined almost to godlessness"[15][16] despite Silesius's mysticism being contrary to Leibniz's principium reddendae rationis sufficientis, the Principle of Sufficient Reason.[16]

The line he quoted, Die Rose ist ohne warum; sie blühet, weil sie blühet... from Silesius's The Cherubinic Pilgrim (1657), can be translated as: "The Rose is without a 'wherefor'—she blooms because she blooms." The influence of mysticism is seen in the work of Borges, especially in his poetry, which frequently references Silesius and his work.[13]

I will end with a great line by the poet who, in the seventeenth century, took the strangely real and poetic name of Angelus Silesius. It is the summary of all I have said tonight — except that I have said it by means of reasoning and simulated reasoning. I will say it first in Spanish and then in German:
La rosa es sin porqué; florece porque florece.
Die Rose ist ohne warum; sie blühet weil sie blühet.[12]

In a series of lectures entitled Siete Noches ("Seven Nights") (1980), Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986) remarks that the essence of poetry can be encapsulated in a single line from Silesius. Borges wrote:

Monument in Wrocław

Silesius in modern culture

Several of the poems of Silesius have been used or adapted as hymns used in Protestant and Catholic services. In many early Lutheran and Protestant hymnals, these lyrics were attributed to "anonymous", rather than admit they were penned by the Catholic Silesius, known for his criticism and advocacy against Protestantism.[6] In many instances, the verse of Silesius is attributed in print to "anonymous" or to "I.A." While I.A. were the Latin initials for Iohannis Angelus they were often misinterpreted as Incerti auctoris, meaning "unknown author". Likewise, several truly anonymous works were later misattributed to Silesius, thanks to the same ambiguous initials.[6] Verses by Silesius appear in the lyrics of hymns published in Nürnberg Gesang-Buch (1676), Freylinghausen's Gesang-Buch (1704), Porst's Gesang-Buch (1713); and Burg's Gesang-Buch (1746). Seventy-nine hymns using his verses were included in Nicolaus Zinzendorf's Christ-Catholisches Singe und Bet-Büchlein (1727). During the 18th Century, they were frequently in use in the Lutheran, Catholic, and Moravian Churches.[6] Many of these hymns are still popular in Christian churches today.

Use in hymns


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