Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands is a 1854 translation by Richard Massie (1800-1887) of the 1524 Martin Luther (1483-1546) German hymn, Christ lag in Todes Banden. It is based upon one of his favorite Latin hymns: Victimae Paschali Laudes, an 11th century Easter Sunday Sequence usually attributed to the Chaplain to the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II, Wipo of Burgundy (995?-1048?). The initial melody used by Luther suggests that he may have adapted parts of the Latin plainchant of Victimae Paschali Laudes for his translation. The tune, Christ lag in Todesbanden would see a final arrangement by Johann Walther (1494-1570) when published in his Wittembergisch Geistlisch Gesangbuch of 1524. Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands is appointed Hymn of the Day for Easter Day.
LSB 458 – Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands (text) – Christ lag in Todesbanden (tune) – Hymn Study