Otfried von Weißenburg, Evangelienbuch (Book of the Gospels)

The author of the first great Old High German work in end rhymes is Otfrid, a monk from Weißenburg in Alsace, one of the first known German authors. The text is a chronologically ordered narrative of the life of Jesus in allegorical and moral interpretation, compiled from the four Gospels.

With its 7,106 rhyming long lines, the "Liber evangeliorum" is not only the most comprehensive Bible poem and poetry from the Carolingian period but also the best surviving piece of Old High German literature. Its claim is to establish the Franconian-German vernacular as a literary language on an equal footing with the three sacred languages Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

The liber is divided into five books and is provided with headings, chapter overviews and modest prefaces. It originated between 863 and 871, which results from the dedications to Archbishop Liutbert of Mainz (863-889), Bishop Solomon of Constance (839-871) and two St. Gallen monks. This manuscript was commissioned by Bishop Waldo of Freising (884-906) between 902 and 906 after a draft borrowed from Weißenburg. It is missing the dedications, which are in the Viennese codex on two layers prebound to the basis of the manuscript.

To the digitised copy