Scheffler’s Heilige Seelenlust (1657)
Johann (or Johannes) Scheffler was b 1624 at Breslau in Silesia (Wroclau, Poland), raised in a noble but persecuted Lutheran family and was educated there and at the Univ of Strassbourg where he trained in medicine. After further study in Leyden and Padua, becoming sympathetic to the mysticism of Jakob Boehme, he moved again and in 1649 became private physician to the Duke at Württemburg-Oels. After some conflict with the Lutheran leadership he withdrew from that church; back in Breslau in 1652 he came into contact with the Jesuit movement and with RC mystical writers. A year later he joined the Roman church, calling himself ‘Angelus Silesius’ after a 17th-c Spanish mystic and becoming an outspoken propagandist for the counter-Reformation; one further year on he was appointed Imperial Court Physician to the Emperor Ferdinand III. In 1661 he joined the Franciscan brotherhood and was ordained, becoming a monk in the Breslau monastery in 1671 where he died 6 years later. An early versifier and a published poet by the age of 16, he wrote several hymns, most while still a Protestant and some translated by C Winkworth qv; he also compiled the book, published in Breslau, from which the popular tune used here is taken, and named after his adopted title. His hymns, now much altered, were also favourites of the Moravian Count Zinzendorf; see also under G Tersteegen among the authors. No.221=906.