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Elisabeth Cruciger (1500?-1535): The Case of the Disappearing Hymn Writer

Mary Jane Haemig
The Sixteenth Century Journal
Vol. 32, No. 1 (Spring, 2001), pp. 21-44
DOI: 10.2307/2671393
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2671393
Page Count: 24
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Elisabeth Cruciger (1500?-1535): The Case of the Disappearing Hymn Writer
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Abstract

Elisabeth Cruciger's hymn Herr Christ der einig Gottes Sohn appeared in 1524. Later it was sometimes attributed to Andreas Knoepken. Unwillingness to credit a woman and reluctance to credit Cruciger because of the activities of her husband and son may account for this. The rise and fall of apocalyptic expectations in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries played a key role. Initially Cruciger's authorship was evidence that Joel 2 was fulfilled and the end times had come. As apocalyptic expectation faded, some credited Knoepken; those who credited Cruciger excluded apocalyptic emphases. The discussion also reflects thinking about women's roles. When apocalyptic expectation was high, the story of Cruciger authoring a hymn revealed a tension between traditional roles and new roles allowed by the end times. By the mid-seventeenth century Cruciger is portrayed in traditional terms. The story of Cruciger's dream, which surfaced late in the seventeenth century, cannot be verified.

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