Bayerische Staatsbibliothek


The "Heliand", i.e. "Heiland" ("Saviour"), an epic of ca. 6,000 verses in alliteration, describes on the basis of the old and established gospel harmony of Tatian (ca. 170) and of other theological sources the earthly life of Christ from his Nativity to his Ascension. Created in around 830/840 it is one of the few works preserved in the Old Saxon language, the precursor of the Low German. Poet and place of origin are unknown. Apart from the Cgm 25, the "Heliand" is preserved only in one manuscript preserved in the British Library and in three fragments - including one in the BSB (Cgm 8840). The Munich manuscript is older (probably written down in the ninth century), but more damaged, in part entire sheets are missing. The text preserved is divided into "Fitten" (poetry sections), starts with the birth of John and ends with the walk of the apostles to Emmaus. Traces of use in the manuscript hint at the usage of the "Heliand" for lectures during the ecclesiastical year; on occasion there are accents above the text, sometimes also neumes (notes without lines). As the "most beautiful German spiritual epic of the entire German Middle Ages" (Wolfgang Stammler) the "Heliand" unites Germanic poetic tradition and Christian doctrine without scholarly Christian exegesis. Datum: 2016


Peter Czoik

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