Christmas amongst the Saxons

December 24, 2007

John posted this a few years ago. I love it though, and it reminds me of my days as a graduate student when I learned Old Saxon by reading the Heliand in its original language. So enjoy the birth of the Chieftain as experienced by the medieval Saxons!

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[Originally posted Christmas, 2004]

Because Christmas as we know it is built upon the vestiges of pagan holidays, my mind turns to the ninth century Heliand poem (c. 830 A.D.) at Christmastime. This is a poetic translation of the New Testament done by a Saxon monk in Old Saxon. The poet does a superb job of translating the Gospel not only linguistically but also culturally into a language comprehensible by the Germanic tribes of more than one thousand years ago. And the story of Christ’s birth expresses some of the poetic license taken by the monk while still conveying something powerful about our Savior and about his Gospel. Enjoy.

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