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Joachim Neander (1650 – 1680)
Joachim Neander (1650 – 1680) was a German Reformed (Calvinist) Church teacher, theologian and hymn writer whose most famous hymn, Praise to The Lord, The Almighty, the King of Creation (German: Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren) is generally regarded as one of the great hymns of the Christian church and appears in most major hymnals.
Neander wrote about 60 hymns and provided tunes for many of them. He is considered by many to be the first important German hymnist after the Reformation and is regarded as the outstanding hymn writer of the German Reformed Church.
Joachim Neander was born in Bremen, the son of a Latin teacher. His grandfather, a musician, had changed the family name from the original “Neumann” (“New man” in English) to the Greek form Neander following the fashion of the time.
In 1671 he became a private tutor in Heidelberg, and in 1674 he became a teacher in a Latin school in Düsseldorf, one step before becoming a minister. While living there, he liked to go to the nearby valley of the Düssel river, nature being the inspiration for his poems. He also held gatherings and services in the valley, at which he gave sermons. The valley (German thal modernized to tal) was renamed in his honor in the early 19th century, and became famous in 1856 when the remains of the Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) were found there.
In 1679 Neander became a pastor in Bremen. One year later, at the age of 30, he died of tuberculosis.
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