Woltersdorf, Ernst Gottlieb

Woltersdorf, Ernst Gottlieb an evangelical hymn-writer, was born at Friedrichsfelde, near Berlin, May 31, 1725. He was a student of Halle, and resided and taught in the orphanage. In 1744 he became a private tutor, and four years afterwards associate pastor at Bunzlau. He evinced great interest in the instruction of the young, and consented to assume the direction of an orphanage founded in his parish by a mason named Zahn. This insutution enjoyed his supervision until his death, December 17, 1761. Woltersdorf possessed uncommon readiness in versification, and was continually tempted to spread his thoughts over a great deal of surface. Some of his hymns are largely in the style of Zinzendorf, with whom he shared many doctrinal views, though not otherwise connected with him. Several of them have considerable value, and have found deserved admission, in a revised and abridged form, in the hymn-books of various evangelical churches. He had the ability to seize upon some pregnant word taken from Scripture or other source, and to, present it in a different light with every succeeding strophe, and did this in several of his hymns. This power led him to write also a number of parodies. He published a collection of Psalms (1750; 2d ed. 1768; a recent ed., by Schneider, accompanied with a biography of the author, Dresden, 1849). A second collection was issued in 1751. This volume contains a list of other writings by Woltersdorf, generally admonitions addressed to the young. After his death a volume of sketches of sermons prepared by him was published. See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

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