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Imagine this. It’s sometime early in the ninth century and you’re a scribe. Louis the Pious, King of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor, has just given you the task of making a copy of the bible in Old Saxon to convert to Christianity the pagan tribes on the other side of the River Elbe. How do you translate the Gospel’s message of peace and salvation in terms those battle-loving barbarians will understand?
One answer is the Heliand, a wacky paraphrase rather than translation of the Gospel in the form of a Norse or Germanic saga written around AD 825. […]