Behind the Hymn: Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadows

Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadows was written by Paul Gerhardt.

Gerhardt was born in Gräfenheinichen, Saxony, Germany in 1607. He studied theology and wrote many hymns. He endured much suffering and lived through The Thirty Years War. Four of his five children died young and his wife endured a prolonged illness.

Like many other German hymns, Gerhardt’s songs are very lengthy and intended for use through service. He died in 1676 in Lubben, Germany.

Catherine Winkworth translated the hymn, along with many other German hymns. Her translations are said to be polished, but close to the original. She was born in 1827 London, England. She encouraged education for women and promoted women’s rights. She died in 1878 Savoy, France.

The hymn has been published in a number of hymnals but I’ve been unable to uncover the first publication date.

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