Puer natus in Bethlehem

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Notes of "Puer natus in Bethlehem"

"Puer natus in Bethlehem" (A child is born in Bethlehem) is a medieval Latin Christmas hymn. The thirteenth-century text is traditionally associated with a fourteenth-century tune of the same name.[1]


Lyric translation by Hamilton Montgomerie MacGill, 1876

Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem[edit]

"Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem" is Cyriakus Spangenberg's 1545 translation of "Puer natus in Bethlehem". The tune associated with his German translation, Zahn No. 192b, was published by Lucas Lossius [de] in 1553 and is also known as "Puer natus in Bethlehem".[2] The text and tune of this Lutheran hymn were included by Johann Sebastian Bach in the second movement of his church cantata Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen, BWV 65.[3] In addition, Bach's chorale prelude (for organ) "Puer natus in Bethlehem", BWV 603, included in the Orgelbüchlein, is based on the same hymn tune.[4]

An older form of the hymn tune, Zahn 192a, was not only used for the Latin and German versions of the hymn, but also, for instance, for Luther's "Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar" [de] hymn text.[2] Bach's chorale prelude based on that tune, BWV 607, is also included in the Orgelbüchlein.[4]


  1. ^ The Hymnal 1982 Companion: Volume 3 - Page 201 Raymond F. Glover - 1995 "Bethlehem. Music: Puer natus in Bethlehem / This thirteenth-century text and fourteenth-century tune, a matching of enduring popularity, appears for the first time in an Episcopal hymnal in H82"
  2. ^ a b Zahn, Johannes (1889). Die Melodien der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder (in German). Vol. I. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann. p. 53. {{cite book}}: External link in |volume= (help)
  3. ^ Luke Dahn (2017). BWV 65.2 at www.bach-chorales.com
  4. ^ a b BWV2a (1998), p. 479

External links[edit]