Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel” as Want to Read:
The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel

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
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Heliand, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Heliand

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 144)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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.
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.
Its the Gospel as told by the Saxons, which means Jesus is a feudal lord and the deciples kick lots off ass.
Fantastic, insightful commentary aside from the profound subject.
Sarah Slachter
Good translation. Definitely an interesting read.
Cheryl Scott
Cheryl Scott marked it as to-read
May 03, 2015
Erin added it
Apr 27, 2015
Simon marked it as to-read
May 23, 2015
Sarah E.
Sarah E. marked it as to-read
Apr 01, 2015
Sean Disero
Sean Disero marked it as to-read
Apr 01, 2015
Mary Faulconer
Mary Faulconer marked it as to-read
Mar 18, 2015
Richard Stelle
Richard Stelle marked it as to-read
Mar 18, 2015
Phil Wyman
Phil Wyman is currently reading it
Mar 03, 2015
Kate marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2015
Dibbs0529 marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2015
Andrew Charles
Andrew Charles marked it as to-read
Jan 21, 2015
Jean Wetmore
Jean Wetmore marked it as to-read
Jan 08, 2015
Debbi marked it as to-read
Jan 01, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
The Owl, the Raven, and the Dove: The Religious Meaning of the Grimms' Magic Fairy Tales The Saxon Savior: The Germanic Transformation of the Gospel in the Ninth-Century Heliand Gemstone of Paradise: The Holy Grail in Wolfram's Parzival Tree of Salvation: Yggdrasil and the Cross in the North Brecht and the Bible: A Study of Religious Nihilism and Human Weakness in Brecht's Drama of Mortality and the City

Share This Book