Above: Holy Roman Empire, 1648
Image Source = Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1967)
Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor
FRIEDRICH FUNCKE (MARCH 27, 1642-OCTOBER 20, 1699)
German Lutheran Minister, Composer, and Hymn Writer
According to the sources I consulted, Friedrich Funcke wrote at least forty-one hymn tunes and seven hymn texts. However, only one of those texts and at least three of those tunes occur in English-language hymnals today. Such facts confirm that many German contributions to hymnody from the past remain buried treasures for those of us in the English-speaking world.
Funcke entered the world at Nossen, in Saxony, on March 27, 1642. He, educated at Freiberg and Dresden, became the cantor at Perleberg, in Brandenburg. From 1664 to 1594 our saint served as the cantor at Luneburg, especially at St. John’s Church. In 1686 Funcke and Lutheran superintendent Kaspar Herman Sandhagen (1639-1697) published the Luneburg Stadt Gesangbuch, a hymnal containing almost 2000 texts. At least forty-one (if not forty-three; my sources disagree) of its tunes and seven of its texts came from our saint. One of those hymns was an Ascension hymn which August Crull (1845-1923) translated as “Draw Us to Thee,” the only Funcke hymn to pass into English. In 1687 August Herman Franke (1663-1727), a leader of the Pietist movement, was a newly appointed lecturer at Leipzig University. He came to Luneburg that year to study privately with Sandhagen. Neither Funcke nor Sandhagen avoided Pietistic influences. Both of them became preoccupied with the Book of Revelation. Sandhagen developed Chiliastic, that is, premillennial, tendencies. As Fred L. Precht wrote in the Lutheran Worship Hymnal Companion (1992),
Fortunately, Funcke did not suffer that fate.
Funcke, pastor of Romstedt, in Saxony, from 1694 to 1699, died there on October 20, 1699.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
MAY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF THE FIRST U.S. PRESBYTERIAN BOOK OF COMMON WORSHIP, 1906
THE FEAST OF JOHN ARMSTRONG, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF GRAHAMSTOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
THE FEAST OF JOSEPH ARMITAGE ROBINSON, ANGLICAN DEAN, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER
Dear God of beauty,
you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to
Friedrich Funcke and others, who have composed hymn texts.
May we, as you guide us,
find worthy hymn texts to be icons,
through which we see you.
In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK
THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR
THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP
THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH