Joachim Neander

(1650-??)


To these Lutheran hymnwriters, we may add a Calvinist, Joachim Neander, born in Bremen in 1650. After a rowdy life as an undergraduate, he underwent conversion and amendment. He became a schoolteacher, then left this life for one of solitary meditation. There is a cave named for him near Mettman-am-Rhein, which he perhaps used as his hermitage, until his death at the age of thirty. He is accounted the principal Calvinist poet in Germany, but only a few of his hymns are known in English. The best-known is "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation" (Lobe den Herren, den maechtigen Koenig der Ehren!), based on Psalms 150 and 103:1-6.

Neander was originally surnamed Neumann (New man). However, like many others of his time (such as Martin Luther's colleague Philip Schwartzerd, whose name means "black earth," and who changed it to "Melanchthon," which means the same thing in Greek), he adopted a Greek surname with the same meaning (Ne- meaning "new" as in "neo-Marxist" or whatever, and Ander meaning "man" as in "android, polyandry, andrology," and so on. In Greek, Anthropos means "man (gender-inclusive)" while Aner, Andr- means "man (gender-specific)". Thus, "anthropology" is the study of humans in general, while "andrology" is the medical study of the male body, just as "gynecology" is cencerned with the female body. The respective equivalents in Latin are Homo, Homin- (gender-inclusive) and Vir (gender-specific). In English, "man" does double-duty for both. Some feminists are trying to substitute "person" for "man" in all gender-inclusive uses, but this is awkward, because the gender-inclusive meaning is the primary one for "man". I have thought of reviving "were" (pronounced "weer") as in "werewolf" and
"weregeld" for the gender-exclusive meaning, but am not optimistic about the chances of success.). When Joachim Neander went to live in a cave by a river, the river came to be named for him as the Neander River, and the valley of that river was called the Neander Valley, or Neander Dale. The German word for "dale" is "thal" (the "th" is pronounced much like English "t"), and so the valley and general region is the Neanderthal. It is here that remains were first found of an early European population that have accordingly come to be called Neanderthal Man.


PRAYER (traditional language):

Almighty God, who through thy holy Apostle hast taught us to Praise thee in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs: We give thee thanks this day for the gift of writing great hymns which thou didst give to thy servants Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann, and Paul Gerhardt; and we pray that thy Church may never lack those with the gifts of writing words and music to thy praise, and may be ever filled with the desire to praise and thank thee for thy great goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with you and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.

PRAYER (contemporary language):

Almighty God, who through your holy Apostle have taught us to Praise you in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs: We give you thanks this day for the gift of writing great hymns which you gave to your servants Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann, and Paul Gerhardt; and we pray that your Church may never lack those with the gifts of writing words and music to your praise, and may be ever filled with the desire to praise and thank you for your great goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

[From the Society of Archbishop Justis.]


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