Albert Knapp

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Albert Knapp (1798–1864)
Birthplace Neckarhalde 12 in Tübingen (with red shutters)
Albert Knapp's grave in Stuttgart

Albert Knapp (born July 25, 1798 in Tübingen ; † June 18, 1864 in Stuttgart ) was a German pastor , poet and founder of the first animal welfare association in Germany. His grandson was the pacifist Paul Knapp .


Albert Knapp was born on July 25, 1798 in the house at Neckarhalde 12 in Tübingen. His father was the court attorney and administrative officer Gottfried Gabriel Knapp (1764–1828), his mother, Henriette geb. Finckh (1775–1827), the daughter of a Stuttgart court chamber councilor. When he was two years old, the family moved to Alpirsbach . He spent his childhood and youth in Alpirsbach, Rottweil and Tübingen. In Maulbronn , where he entered the evangelical seminary in 1814 , he already wrote poems and dramatic texts. His literary role models included William Shakespeare , Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , Friedrich Schiller , Jean Paul and Ludwig Uhland .

In 1816 he began studying Protestant theology at the University of Tübingen . In addition, he was particularly interested in history , philosophy and poetry . During his studies in 1816 he became a member of the Academic Gymnastics Association "Arminia" . In 1819, on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, he gave a seditious speech ( Against the authoritarian monarchs and for a united Germany ).

Through his friend Ludwig Hofacker he got a vicariate position in Feuerbach near Stuttgart in 1820 . Knapp fought against overly one-sided pietistic positions. Further stations in his spiritual career were: vicar in Gaisburg , deacon in Sulz am Neckar (1825) and in Kirchheim unter Teck (1831). In 1836 he came to Stuttgart to the hospital and the collegiate church and in 1845 took over the office of pastor of the Leonhard church as the successor to Gustav Schwab .

His long-term confidante included the pastor Gottlob Baumann from Notzingen and later Kemnater , who helped him with the publication of the Evangelical Song Treasure.

In December 1837, inspired by his friend and role model, the Pietist pastor Christian Adam Dann , who died in February of the same year, he founded Germany's first animal welfare association. He drafted a leaflet that was added to the Swabian Merkur in 1838 and called for the establishment of local groups. One of his allegations was that there was not yet a public law against cruelty to animals . Animal welfare is a deeply Christian concern, whereby Knapp referred to the biblical passage Rom 8 : 18-23  LUT and spoke of "fellow creatures". The trigger is said to have been the senseless death of a stork riddled with bullets near the church. Knapp had repeatedly mentioned the stork couple, which had their nesting place on the church roof for years, in their sermons as a role model for lifelong loyalty.

Albert Knapp was married three times: since 1828 with Christiane von Beulwitz († 1835), since 1836 with the widow Emilie Osiander († 1849) and since 1850 with Minette Lerche († 1897). He died on June 18, 1864 in Stuttgart at the age of 65. His grave is in Stuttgart on the Fangelsbach cemetery in section 10. One of his sons was the future pastor of Tuttlingen, Gotthold Knapp.

Artistic creation

Albert Knapp wrote a total of around 1200 secular and spiritual poems and songs , the language of which is based on the Bible , Martin Luther and Paul Gerhardt . He also wrote portraits of poets and theologians. Many of his sacred songs have been incorporated into hymn books. Wilhelm Nelle referred to Knapp as the “clerical clapstick of the 19th century”.

Knapp was also important as a hymnologist . In 1837 he published a selection of almost 3,590 songs in the Evangelical Song Treasury for Church and House . Since his older texts had many changes (including even free adaptations), he was severely criticized by Philipp Wackernagel .

The evangelical hymn book contains Knapp's songs, One is to whom we are attached (No. 256) and We thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for being our guest (No. 462), as well as three adaptations of foreign texts (No. 220, 241.8 and 251). In praise of God there is power wide the gates in the world with a melody by Adolf Lohmann (No. 360); Knapp had composed it for the melody How beautifully the morning star shines .

Works (selection)

  • Christoterpe . See: #Christoterpe .
  • Albert Knapp: Evangelical song treasure for church and house. A collection of spiritual songs from all Christian centuries, collected and edited according to the needs of our time by M. Albert Knapp, deacon at the Hospital Church in Stuttgart . 2 volumes. Cotta, Stuttgart and Tübingen 1837, digitized version of the 1865 edition .
  • Albert Knapp: The fearful waiting of the creature, Rom. 8, 18-23. In: Christoterpe, Vol. 11, 1843, pp. 59-122, digitized .
  • Albert Knapp: Life of Ludwig Hofacker, because. Pastor of Rielingshausen . With news about his family and a selection from his letters and circulars. Winter, Heidelberg 1860 ( digitized version ).
  • Albert Knapp; Joseph Knapp: Life picture of Albert Knapp . Own notes, continued and completed by his son Joseph Knapp. Steinkopf, Stuttgart 1867, digitized .
  • Martin H. Jung (editor); Christian Adam Then; Albert Knapp: Against cruelty to animals. Early calls for animal welfare from the Württemberg Pietism. Evangelische Verlags-Anstalt, Leipzig 2002, ISBN 3-374-01988-9 .


Christoterpe, title page of the first edition, 1833.

Albert Knapp founded the religious yearbook “Christoterpe” (Greek “Christian joy”) in 1833, of which he remained editor until the yearbook was discontinued. The yearbook was subtitled "A pocket book for Christian readers for the year ..." or "A yearbook for the German house". It appeared from 1833 to 1853 (Volumes 1–21), after which it was discontinued. The yearbook was published by C. F. Osiander in Tübingen until 1842, and from 1843 in Karl Winter's university bookstore in Heidelberg. The yearbooks were illustrated with one or more copperplate engravings and contained poems, essays on factual and religious subjects, and biographical sketches. Theologians and writers as freelancers and Albert Knapp himself provided the yearbooks with the opportunity to publish articles there, which Knapp made extensive use of by publishing his own poems and essays.

In 1853 the yearbook was stopped. From 1880 to 1929 it was continued by other editors under the title "New Christoterpe: a yearbook" (Volumes 1–50), from 1929 to 1930 under the title "The year: the New Christoterpe ... vintage" (Volumes 51–52) .

Remembrance day

June 18 in the Evangelical Name Calendar .

Individual evidence

  1. #MK 1908 .
  2. a b Angelika Prauß: Current commitment to this day. A pastor founded the first animal welfare association ,, June 17, 2012-17.
  3. Subtitle in the digital edition of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek : "A paperback for Christian readers for the year ..."
  4. Subtitles in the library catalogs, for example in the journal database (ZDB) : “A yearbook for the German house”.
  5. ^ History of the publication of Christoterpe .
  6. Albert Knapp in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints


  • 200 years of songwriter Albert Knapp. Report on the 26th Knappentag. July 25, 1998 in Alpirsbach . Knapp, Filderstadt 1998.
  • Karl DienstKnapp, Albert. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 4, Bautz, Herzberg 1992, ISBN 3-88309-038-7 , Sp. 115-116.
  • Martin Knapp: Albert Knapp as a poet and writer . Mohr, Tübingen 1912.
  • MK: The house where Albert Knapp was born, Neckarhalde 12 in Tübingen . In: »Tübinger Blätter«, 11, 1908/1909, pp. 46–47, pdf .
  • Arno Pagel: Honor, love, praise him! From the life and work of the songwriters Hiller, Knapp, Barth and Traub . Liebenzeller Mission, Bad Liebenzell 1986, ISBN 3-88002-309-3 (= Telos books; 2301; Telos narrating paperback).
  • Ulrich Parent: Albert Knapp's “Evangelical Song Treasure” from 1837 . Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-8204-0948-3 (= European university publications ; series 1; 991).
  • Werner Raupp (Ed.): Lived Faith. Experiences and life testimonies from our country. A reading book, Metzingen: Ernst Franz-Verlag 1993, pp. 236–241, 391 (introduction, source texts, lit.).
  • Julius Roeßle: Albert Knapp. Swabia's spiritual songwriter . Schmitz, Giessen 1947.
  • Gerhard Schäfer:  Knapp, Albert. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 12, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1980, ISBN 3-428-00193-1 , p. 153 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Theodor Schott:  Knapp, Albert . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 16, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1882, pp. 263-265.
  • Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft . Vol. II: Artist . Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5 , pp. 404-405.

Web links

Wikisource: Albert Knapp  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Albert Knapp  - Collection of images, videos and audio files