Of his source, Tatian, the author skipped carefully chapter 131, where Christ tells the Pharisees about "their father, the Devil" (John 8, 12-59). We may mention further as being dropped chapter 141, containing: (a) Mark 12, 38 ff: "Beware of the scribes which love to go in long clothing and love salutations in the market places, and the chief seats in the synagogues and the uppermost rooms at feasts; which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation "—a picture only too true of a good many Church dignitaries under Louis the Pious.

(b) Matthew 23, 1-36, especially the following sharp reproofs by Christ:

v. 2. The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.

v. 3. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

v. 4. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

v. 5. v. 15.

But all their works they do for to be seen of men.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye
compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he
is made, ye make him two-fold more the child of hell than

2. On the other hand, the author dwells at length on all prescriptions of Christ relating to the provision of food and other emoluments for the services rendered by his disciples, because he wanted his readers to understand them as indicating their own. duties toward their ministers. We will notice this when we peruse H 1860-74, which passage is, besides, characteristic for the style and content of this our unepic "epic."

8 Heliand v 1855 b-1892 a

Ne sculun gi geuuâdeas than mêr
erlos êgan, butan sô gi than an hebbean,
gumon to gareuuea, than gi gangan sculun
an that gimang innan.
leng umbi iuuua lîfnare,
fôdean that folcskepi:
leoblikes lônes, the hi
Uuirdig is the uurhteo,

Neo gi umbi iuuuan meti ni sorgot,
huand thene lêreand sculun
thes sint thea fruma uuerða,
them liudiun sagad.

that man ina uuel fôdea,

3. By his fear of causing unpleasant comparisons of his "confratres" with the religious leaders in Jerusalem, our author is governed to such an extent that he omits one of the best and most picturesque of Christ's parables, used by many painters as object of their art, a favorite topic in the pulpit,-the parable of "The Pharisee and the Publican" (Luke 18, 9-14). Surely, there could not be any esthetic or poetic reasons against the insertion of this wonderfully dramatic parable into an epic poem.



Since it would go far beyond the limits set for this discussion if all the "deviations" falling under this head were to be treated

[blocks in formation]

aftar thesumu landskepie sô lamb undar uulbos:

sô sculun gi undar iuuua fîund faren,

undar mislike man.

sô glauuan tegegnes,

nadra thiu fcha,

uuitodes uuânit,

undar filu theodo,

Hebbead iuuuan môd uuiðar them

so samo so the gelouua uurm,
thar siu iro nîðskepies

that man iu undar themu uuerode ne mugi
besuîcan an themu side. Far thiu gi sorgon sculun,
that iu thea man ni mugin môdgethahti,

uuillean auuardien. Uuesat iu so uuara uuiðar thiu,
uuid iro fêcneon dâdiun, sô man uuiðar ffundun scal.
Than uuesat gi eft an iuuuon dâdiun dûbon gelica,
hebbead uuið erlo gehuene ênfaldan hugi,

mildean môdsebon,

thurh iuuua dâdi

besuican thurh iuuua

that thar man negên

bedrogan ne uuerðe,

sundea. Nu sculun gi an thana sîð faran, an that arundi: thar sculun gi arbidies sô filu getholon undar theru thiod endi gethuing sô samo

manag endi mislîc,

thea liudi lêreat.

huand gi an mînumu namon

with the same minuteness of detail as those under A1, we give here only a classified list, as complete as possible, of all deviations which were caused by the author's consideration for the ecclesiastical precepts and regulations introduced among the newly converted Saxons by the authorities in church and state. A full treatment of these deviations with the necessary illustrations from contemporary sources I have to reserve for another opportunity. The main object of the present paper is to exemplify the method here proposed for a more fruitful study of the Heliand, a method consisting in the use of the “ deviations" as keys to its problems.

In view, however, of the enforced brevity of our remarks, the necessity of a careful comparison of Tatian and Heliand and an investigation into every deviation in the Heliand might be emphasized especially for those who are still in doubt about the personality of its author, whether he was an uneducated layman or a trained clergyman. The following list is intended to assist in such investigation:

a) The imposition of tithes upon the newly converted Saxons, although strongly opposed by Alcuin, the great Anglican scholar from Northumberland and later an illustrious member of the Academy at the court of Karl the Great and this emperor's influential adviser, who warned the emperor of the bad effect of the enforcement of this innovation, was carried out by the Church authorities in a way that threatened to impede the adoption of the new religion. A scop would hardly be inclined to use his epic to foster such tendencies, obnoxious to the Saxons; but the author of the Heliand omitted no opportunity of stressing the duty of giving tithes whenever his source offered him an excuse. It is noteworthy that Hraban, whose commentary on St. Matthew our author most probably used in his explanations of and additions to the stories of this Gospel, asked and received from Karl the right to impose tithes for the benefit of his cloister Fulda in the year 807.

We find, therefore, the conversation about the tribute unto Caesar, recorded in Matthew 22, 15-22, which was surely not of an epic character, taken up by our author (cf. H 3780-3839) and considered as important enough to spend sixty lines on, while Otfrid covers it in these two lines (cf. Evangelienbuch, book IV, 6 v. 29, 30).

Sie uuoltun duan in einan duam ioh gerno imo angust giduan,
fragetun thes sindes thes keisores zinses.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


But while the poet has time to dwell so extensively on this story which he uses for an admonition: I 3830—“ that gi imu sîn gebad,” he omits Christ's cursing of the Pharisees (cf. Luke 11, 42): “ for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs.”

b) The introduction of the Sabbath as a day of absolute rest was as difficult as that of the tithes. Here again we find our author assisting the Church authorities in the suppression of any opposition to the strict Sabbath laws. If there is any proof yet necessary that his deviations, especially his omissions, were dictated by pedagogical considerations and not by esthetic principles, this proof is given by the fact that not one of the many sabbatical “healings” of Christ is received into the Heliand, although all of them are by far fitter for an epic than the long drawn out sermons and discussions which are found in the

and many

of them are of a particularly dramatic character. Again we ask whether a scop would have been so anxious to conceal Christ's views about the Sabbath,-particularly a Saxon scop who knew his own people's dislike of a closed Sunday and of all “ blue laws."

We look in vain for one of the following stories, although all are recorded in Tatian, the principal source of the Heliand: the healing of the man with the withered hand (Luke 6, 6 ff.); that of the diseased man at the pool Bethesda (John 5, 1-15), although followed by a convincing self-defense of Jesus; that of the woman with a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years (Luke 13, 10-17), where the ruler of the Synagogue tries to excite the people against Jesus' breaking of the Sabbath; that of the man with the dropsy (Luke 14, 1 ff.) in the house of a Pharisee where Jesus was invited. And together with these stories there had to fall all of

. Christ's pungent reprimands of the religious leaders for their narrowness and lack of charity toward those poor invalids, which leaders were told that they themselves would not hesitate to save an ox or ass belonging to them out of a cistern even on a Sabbath, or reprimanded (Luke 13, 15), “ Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?", or reminded (John 7, 23), “If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?'

Even the wonderfully humane attitude of Jesus (cf. Luke 6, 1 ff.) in allowing his own disciples to pluck the ears of corn and

eat them, rubbing them in their hands, on a Sabbath day, did not appeal to our author, because certain of the Pharisees said unto them: “Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day?” How could the priest tell his Saxons that it was stated in Luke 13, 17: “When Jesus said these things about Sabbath

( healings) all his adversaries were ashamed and all the people rejoiced.”? Did he suspect that this very same thing might happen again if they should read in the Heliand this unorthodox message of Jesus concerning a freer Sabbath?

After this rather long list of omissions it might seem almost trivial to mention one more slight “subtraction” from his biblical source, so hidden that, up to the present, it has not received any attention. Nevertheless, it is in just such minute deviations that the tendency of our author is revealed the more distinctly. We mean the fact that none of the references to Christ's going alone into the mountains or spending a whole night on a mountain in order to pray, is taken up. This is the more remarkable as our author, in one instance, rendered the contents of the rest of the chapter of Tatian (chapter 70), but skipped its opening verse, which is taken from Luke 6, 12: “ And it came to pass in those days that he went out into a mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God.” The medieval priest knew the difficulties the Christian missionaries encountered among the Saxons in their suppression of the “heathen ” manner of praying in forests, at springs, on mountains—by night, where and when all the demons were rampant.

We may close this chapter by making clear our general attitude to the above and similar “ deviations." We do not deny that in a number of instances appearing in our lists, the author might have been guided by various reasons, as, for example, to shorten, to condense, to avoid duplication of a story, parable or other word of Christ; or, as indeed often, to “shun” prophecies of the Old Testament and their fulfilment in the Gospels (the latter a consequence of his outspoken Antisemitism). Nevertheless, in looking over the whole list of deviations and grouping the latter under certain heads, we cannot help but notice some clear principles of the author which have nothing to do with poetic or esthetic valuation, but reveal prosaic educational tendencies of the author, namely, to remove any opportunity for misleading application of vords, scenes or situations occurring in the sources.

« VorigeDoorgaan »