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The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel

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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  66 ratings  ·  8 reviews
A translation of a 9th-century Saxon epic poem that offers a poetic reworking of the Gospel into Northern European warrior imagery and culture. The text of the poem is accompanied by notes and an introduction that sheds light on the cultural context in which the poem was written.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 31st 1992 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Neil
May 06, 2012 Neil rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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Kmd
Nov 25, 2007 Kmd rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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Kate
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
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Irina
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.
Jacob
Jan 03, 2008 Jacob rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Chris
Its the Gospel as told by the Saxons, which means Jesus is a feudal lord and the deciples kick lots off ass.
Tom
Fantastic, insightful commentary aside from the profound subject.
Sarah Slachter
Good translation. Definitely an interesting read.
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