1697–1769

Introduction

portrait

Born: No­vem­ber 25, 1697, Moers, Nied­er­rhein, Ger­ma­ny.

Died: Ap­ril 3, 1769, Mül­heim an der Ruhr, Ger­ma­ny.

Buried: Mül­heim an der Ruhr, Ger­ma­ny.

Biography

Though the name is al­most un­i­ver­sal­ly shown as the Ger­man­ized Ter­stee­gen, his real name was Dutch: Ger­rit ter Stee­gen. His fa­ther abandon­ed his mo­ther, and Ger­hard grew up in po­ver­ty.

He wanted to st­udy the­o­lo­gy, but could not af­ford an ed­u­ca­tion, so he went in­to com­merce instead. He first worked in Mül­heim an der Ruhr (near Moers and Du­is­burg). But Ger­hard pre­ferred the so­li­ta­ry life, so he gave up his sales job and worked as a weav­er, knit­ting rib­bons, stu­dy­ing at home in cloister-like as­ce­ti­ci­sm, and read­ing the­o­lo­gic­al books.

He became an out­stand­ing lay the­o­lo­gian, lay pas­tor, and mys­tic of the Pro­test­ant Pi­e­tist move­ment. From 1728 on, he was an itin­er­ant preach­er in the Pro­test­ant Er­weck­ungs­be­weg­ung (spir­it­u­al awak­en­ing move­ment) in the Nied­er­rhein re­gion, and hosted home wor­ship and pray­er meet­ings.

Tersteegen was one of the two most fa­mous 18th Cen­tu­ry Ger­man hymn writ­ers (the oth­er be­ing Jo­ach­im Ne­an­der). Be­gin­ning in 1729, he ed­it­ed his fa­mous book Geist­lich­es Blum­en­gärt­lein in­nig­er Seel­en (Spir­it­u­al Flow­er Gar­den for Ar­dent Souls), a col­lect­ion of hymns, spir­it­u­al lyr­ics and ep­i­grams.

Sources

Lyrics

Help Needed

If you know where to get a be­tter pic­ture of Ter­stee­gen, would you ?