A Remarkable Man: Christian Fürchtegott Gellert

Christian was the son of a Lutheran pastor; he was destined for a different path than his father.  Christian attempted the pulpit, but Lutherans were very nitpicky about their pastors, especially about preaching from notes.  Christian did not have the greatest memory and notes were his salvation, but not in the church.

Eventually, he found his way to University of Leipzig to study theology.  It is there he found a home until his death in 1769.

He was a modest individual with an unassuming air and was plagued by maladies his whole life.  However, his lectures and writings captivated his young students and older members of society. He had a great concern for his students.

His famous works included Fabeln und Erzählungen (Fables and Tales), Geistliche Oden und Lieder (Spiritual Odes and Songs), and Die zärtlichen Schwestern (The Affectionate Sisters—a play).  His vast array of correspondence with anyone and everyone was legendary.  There was no one (prince or peasant) that he would deny an audience.  His time was theirs. 

Frederick the Great of Prussia referred to Gellert as le plus raisonnable de tous les savants allemands (the most reasonable of all German scientists).  Frederick loved listening to Gellert’s fables.

Gellert is considered by many as one of the progenitors of the German Age of Enlightenment.  This age is where the intellectuals sought to raise society to a higher level of understanding and behavior.

Did professor Gellert understand the basic concept of living well as one walks the road of life on this planet traversing the cosmos?  He said in a lecture, “Live as you would have wished to live when you come to die.

Live well.  May you have no regrets when your journey ends.

The cosmos is a place of resurgence. After you have tasted the waters of Lethe, may your rejuvenescence in the refreshing currents of the cosmic ocean be complete.


G. D. Williams       © 2012

Christian Fürchtegott Gellert ( July 4, 1715-December 13, 1769)