Gottfried August Homilius, the son of a pastor, was born in Rosenthal (Saxony) on 2 February 1714. In May 1735 he enrolled as a law student at Leipzig University. Likewise, it was probably at this time that Homilius was a pupil of Johann Sebastian Bach; the latter fact had been attested to by Johann Adam Hiller. Apart from Bach, Homilius also had contact with Johann Schneider, a Bach pupil and organist at the Nicolaikirche, for whom he also substituted. After unsuccesfully applying for a post as organist in Bautzen, Homilius was appointed organist at the Dresden Frauenkirche in 1742. In 1755 Homilius succeeded Theodor Christlieb Reinhold as Kreuzkantor and music director of the three main churches in Dresden, a position that he occupied until his death on 2 June 1785.