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The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel

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3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  87 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
A spirited retelling of the Gospel story in a Germanic setting, the ninth-century A.D. Old Saxon epic poem The Heliand is at last available in English in Ronald Murphy's graceful new translation. Representing the first full integration and poetic reworking of the Gospel story into Northern European warrior imagery and culture, the poem finds a place for many Old Northern r ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 31st 1992 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 830)
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Kmd
Nov 25, 2007 Kmd rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: bible geeks, tolkien geeks

If you are a bible geek you will LOVE, love LOVE! this book. It is a rendering of the New Testament in the sung story form of Saxons from the 10th century.

Yes, sung.

From the back cover:

"... one of the oldest of the great Northern epics...the life and deeds of Jesus, retold in an unexpectedly beautiful blending of the Germanic and the Christian. Bethlehem becomes a hill-fort, horses and horse-guards replace sheep and shepherds at the nativity, the prophets Simeon and Anna are soothsayers, and th
...more
Neil
Sep 10, 2011 Neil rated it really liked it
Shelves: german
After reading two other English translations of the Heliand and looking into the original text, I've finally come to the conclusion that this is the best English version available and the easiest and cheapest to obtain.
The Heliand was written in the 9th century and is essentially a retelling of the Gospel story. Written in the Old Saxon language and using Germanic alliterative verse forms, similar to to Beowulf and the Hildebrandslied. The narrative itself places Jesus and his disciples firmly i
...more
Jacob
Aug 12, 2007 Jacob rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: barbarians
I had an English professor of Germanic stock who liked to talk about how his ancestors worshiped an "ass-kicking" Jesus. Presumably he had this book in mind.
Kate
Feb 27, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medieval, favorites
An extraordinary localization of the Gospel, written in Old Saxon and translated by Georgetown Prof. G. Ronald Murphy. Its successors are obvious---from tribal localizations by Victorian missionaries to recent paraphrases like "The Message" and "The Book." The musical "Godspell" is its clear descendant, both in name and in spirit. I wonder if other cultures created a similar version of the story of Jesus.

This version of the gospel is nervy in its dismissal of the poor, yet it's exciting to read
...more
Irina
Jul 25, 2009 Irina rated it liked it
Shelves: german, medieval
A good translation that does the best it can to highlight the Old Saxon's author's adaptation of the Gospel to Germanic heroic ideals. Still, Murphy's footnotes explaining what everything might have meant in the context of the Frankish conversion of the Saxons become a bit too much. And, if you know the story, it's difficult to slog through a prose English translation of an Old Saxon poetic version that stays pretty close to the Latin original.
Barnaby Thieme
This fascinating work brings into readable modern English the oddball Saxon gospel, which renders the Christian gospels into a narrative form suitable for the heathen Germanic Saxon peoples, lately defeated by Charlemagne and in sore need of conversion. Suffice to say, the peace-loving vibe of the Christ of Matthew was difficult for the Saxon to grok, steeped as they were in well over a thousand years of religious beliefs and practices that extolled the warrior virtues of courage and generosity ...more
Chris
Apr 05, 2007 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: medieval-lit
Its the Gospel as told by the Saxons, which means Jesus is a feudal lord and the deciples kick lots off ass.
Michael Plas
Jun 18, 2016 Michael Plas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this three times, and its great every time. I wish more cultures would do this, for it shows true missionary spirit.
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Shelves: history, fiction
A very readable translation of this great early medieval text.
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