Tag Archives: theological poetry

Theological Poets

Peter Leithart once said in an issue of Credenda/ Agenda: “We are devotees of the Word, people of the book. Yet we can’t write stories or poetry. This is a scandal.” It is a scandal! And, while stories get some attention, poetry rarely does. So I’d like to take this opportunity to call to mind theological poets ranging through history up to the times of the mid-20th century. Let’s read them, learn from them, and develop our own! Then I’ll also have lists of Lutheran poets, poetry by Martin Luther, and various other things. 🙂

I update this page as follows & in this order:

  • Theological Poets through the Mid-20th Century (Christian, non-Lutheran, good to know)
  • Past Lutheran Poets & Hymnists
  • Living Lutheran Poets
  • Poetry Books (Mostly Lutheran but also some Christian collections)
  • Martin Luther poetry I found online

Feel free to tell me about more!!!!! Especially if it’s Lutheran!!!

Theological Poets through the Mid-20th Century

(A Lutheran-Specific List follows)

Past Lutheran Poets & Hymnists

(A great many of these are hymnwriters and hymns qualify as theological poetry. Not all, however, wrote explicitly religious poetry.)

  • Lazarus Spengler (1479-1534)
  • Martin Luther (1483-1546)
  • Paul Speratus (1484-1551) (Helped Luther create the First Lutheran hymnal in 1524)
  • Wolfgang Dachstein (1487-1553)
  • Johann Kolross (1487-1560)
  • Justus Jonas (sometimes the Elder) (1493-1555)
  • Johann Walter (Latin? German? 1496-1570)
  • Adam Reusner? (1496-1575 or 1572 or 1582) (German mystic, hymn-writer, poet, who studied with Luther, Melanchthon, and Justus Jonus)
  • Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) wrote a few hymn replacements for saint’s days
  • Elisabeth Cruciger (1500-1535) 
  • Paul Eber (1511-1569) (German)
  • Johannes Gigas (1514-1581) (German) (Lived in Thuringia and then Poland)
  • Georg Fabricius (1516-1571) (German, Latin)
  • Ludwig Helmbold (also Heimbold) (1532-1598) 
  • Bartholomaus Ringwaldt (1532-1599)
  • Martin Schalling the Younger (1532-1608)
  • Christian Schesaeus (1535-1585) (Latin) (Transylvanian Saxon from Romania!)
  • Hemminki of Masku (1550-1619) (Finnish, also did translation work)
  • Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608)
  • Martin Behm (1557-1622) (German)
  • Valerius Herberger (1562-1627) (A prolific writer, but with only one hymn, Valet will ich dir geben)
  • Melchior Teschner (1584-1635)
  • Johann Heermann (I believe he wrote in Latin & German. 1585-1647)
  • Martin Rinkart (or Rinckart) (1586-1649)
  • Johann Matthaus Meyfart (1590-1642) (German)
  • Paul Stockmann (also Paulus) (1603-1636) (Swedish? Danish? German)
  • Simon Dach (1605-1659) (Latin, Greek, and German) (Prussian)
  • Christian Keymann (1607-1662) (German)
  • Johann von Rist (1607-1667) (German, dramatist best known for his hymns)
  • Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676)
  • Paul Fleming (1609-1640) (German, one of “the Silesian poets” or of “the Silesian school”)
  • Michael Franck (1609-1667) (German)
  • Hallgrímur Pétirsson (1614-1674) (“The Icelandic Paul Gerhardt”)
  • Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664) (German & Latin)
  • Johann Franck (or Frank) (1618-1677) (German) (Influenced by the Silesian School and Simon Dach)
  • Georg Neumark (1621-1681) (German)
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Sacer (1635-1699)
  • Balthasar Kindermann (1636-1706) (German)
  • Henrietta Catharina, Baroness von Gersdorff (1648-1726) (German and Latin verse)
  • Johann Heinrich Ernesti (Latin? German? 1652-1729)
  • Christian Heinrich Postel (1658-1705) (German)
  • Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783-1872) (Danish, wrote during the Danish Golden Age)
  • John Rudolph Sutermeister (1803-1826) (English)
  • Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877) (Finnish)
  • N. Samuel ஞா.சாமுவேல் of Tranquebar (1850-1927) (One of the “triumvirate of Tamil Christian poets, he also put German hymns into Tamil meter)
  • Anna Hoppe (1889-1941) (English/WELS?)
  • Kristian Osvald Viderø (1906-1991) (Faroese, which is a language spoken on the Faroe Islands and in places in Denmark)
  • Martin Franzmann (1907-1976) (English/LCMS)
  • Jarosalv Vajda (1919-2008) (English/Translation work also)
  • Herman Stuempfle (1923-2007) (English/ELCA)
  • Henry L Lettermann (1932-1996) (English/LCMS)


Living Lutheran Poets

I haven’t read all of them, but you can also go here and scroll down to see a list of Lutheran poets & hymnists. I just haven’t read them all to know whether they are especially theological.

Poetry Books & Collections

Lutheran Poetry Books or Related Topics*

  1. Anna Hoppe
    1. Songs of the Church Year: Hymns on the Gospel and Epistle Texts and Other Songs
  2. Martin Franzmann
    1. Technically prayers, but I’m going to list this anyway: Pray for Joy
  3. Henry L. Lettermann
  4. Jaroslav Vajda
  5. Stephen Starke
  6. Kathryn Ann Hill (Follow this link and you’ll see how to order each)
    • Rich in Grace: The Bible of the Poor for 21st Century Christians (ALPB, 2007)
    • To You It Has Been Given (Lutheran Legacy, 2011)
    • A Verse Vigil and Selected Poems
    • The Song of Daniel and Selected Poems
    • Now God is Flesh: Poems and Pictures for Christmastide
    • The Holiest of Seasons: Poems and Pictures for Passiontide and Easter
  7. Kurt E. Reinhardt
  8. Robin D. Fish
  9. NFS Grundtvig
  10. Dorothy Hamann (maybe Lutheran? I think so?)
  11. Alan Kornacki 
  12. Me! Mary J Moerbe 
  13. Ray Spitzenberger
  14. Tanner Olson (This one’s brand new to me!)
  15. Margo T. Rose:
  16. Esther A Schumann (published by the South Wisconsin District Office of the LCMS, 1977)

Lutheran Poetry Collections

Lutheran Dissertations or Papers

Modern Christian Poetry Collections to Consider

Also, for your reading pleasure, check out Dream of the RoodRood, in this context, is another way to say crucifix.

* By all means, check the authors listed above for published books of poetry. Otherwise, some of these Lutheran poetic finds are pretty pricey. You might want to Interlibrary loan!

Martin Luther’s Poetry

Look at this great find from www.poemhunter.com! Copied exactly from the Martin Luther page.

1. All Praise To Thee, Eternal Lord 9/17/2010
2. Let God Arise, And Let His Foes 9/17/2010
3. Nun Bitten Wir Den Heiligen Geist 9/17/2010
4. O Lord, Look Down From Heaven, Behold 9/17/2010
5. The Mouth Of Fools Doth God Confess 9/17/2010
6. We Now Implore God The Holy Ghost 9/17/2010
7. To Jordan Came Our Lord The Christ 9/17/2010
8. To Shepherds As They Watched By Night 9/17/2010
9. Savior Of The Nations, Come 9/17/2010
10. Lord, Keep Us Steadfast In Thy Word 9/17/2010
11. Luther’s Hymn, In Eight Practical Rules 9/17/2010
12. Lutzen 9/17/2010
13. God Is A Stronghold And A Tower 9/17/2010
14. Come, Holy Ghost, God And Lord! 9/17/2010
15. Flung To The Heedless Winds 9/17/2010
16. From Heaven Above To Earth I Come 9/17/2010
17. That Man A Godly Life Might Live 9/17/2010
18. In The Midst Of Earthly Life 9/17/2010
19. Cradle Hymn 12/15/2014
20. Christ Jesus Lay In Death’s Strong Bands 9/17/2010
21. May God Bestow On Us His Grace 9/17/2010
22. Dear Christians, One And All Rejoice 9/17/2010
23. From Depths Of Woe I Raise To Thee 9/17/2010
24. Old Hundred 9/17/2010
25. In The Bonds Of Death He Lay 9/17/2010
26. In Peace And Joy I Now Depart 9/17/2010
27. If God Had Not Been On Our Side 9/17/2010
28. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God 9/17/2010
29. God Is Our Refuge In Distress 9/17/2010
30. O Lord, We Praise Thee, Bless Thee, And Adore Thee 9/17/2010
Care to bring more to my attention? Please do so! Let’s get a great big list of theological poets all in one place so we can bookmark it and check these poets out at our leisure!



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