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The Saxon Savior

The Germanic Transformation of the Gospel in the Ninth-Century Heliand

G. Ronald Murphy, S.J.

Publication Date - January 1995

ISBN: 9780195097207

144 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

This unique volume presents an interpretation of the art of the Heliand, a ninth-century Saxon epic poem in which the Christian Gospel of the four evangelists is artfully reexpressed in Germanic terms.


This study is an interpretation and appreciation of the art of he Heliand, the 9th century Saxon epic poem in which the Christian Gospel of the four evangelist is translated in Germanic terms. Murphy examines in detail the ingenious and sensitive poetic analogies through which familiar texts--the Nativity, the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer, the Passion and Resurrection--are transformed into Germanic settings and concepts. The first book in English on The Heliand, this study offers a new socio-political explanation of the possible motives of the unknown author in undertaking this enormous and brilliantly realized poetic task.

About the Author(s)

G. Ronald Murphy, S.J., is translator of The Heliand (Oxford, 1992) and author of Brecht and the Bible. He is George M. Roth Distinguished Professor of German at Georgetown University.


"Happily fills a gap in the literature on The Heliand....The author has managed to make The Heliand more accessible to the English reader, to bring out the fascination of the work, the majesty of the alliterative verse, and the spiritual and emotional strength of its unnamed poet's brilliant achievement."--Speculum

"There are no other volumes that expose the cultural setting in the remarkable way Murphy does; he understands the period better than anyone else who is working or has worked in the area."--Irmengard Rauch, University of California, Berkeley

"We congratulate [Murphy] for producing a work comparable to that of the poet."--Theological Studies