Elisabeth Cruciger, Reformation Poet

 

Never heard of her?  Well, I hadn’t either until last night when Aaron, our son mentioned her as a contemporary of Martin Luther.  In fact, her daughter married John Luther, Martin and Katy’s son.

She was the first woman poet of the Reformation.  Her hymn, “The Only Son from Heaven” is included in LSB – 402, and ELW – 309.

Elisabeth was born in 1500 in Treptow, Pomerania near the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.  As happened to many young women in that day, she was sent to nunnery.  Her pastor was John Bugenhagen who became part of the Reformation movement.  Later he moved to Wittenburg where he was an associate of Luther and pastor of St. Mary’s church.  In 1520, Elisabeth fled to Wittenburg and stayed with the Bugenhagens.  In 1524 she married a student at the University, Caspar Cruciger, who was studying Hebrew and later assisted in completing the translation of the Bible into German.

The Bugenhagens wanted to have a full festival for her wedding.  They had regarded her as a daughter when she was disowned by her family for converting to Reformation teachings.  Bugenhagen asked Frederick the Wise, the ruler of Saxony, to supply enough venison to feed 10 large tables of guests.

She died in 1535.

Their son, also named Caspar, became embroiled in the controversies that arose after Luther died.  These controversies were finally settled when the Book of Concord was produced in 1580.

 

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