Otfried (Lat. Otfridus) OF WEISSENBURG, one of the most noted of mediaeval characters is celebrated especially as the author of a popular version of the Gospels, and for his efforts to familiarize the German people with the sacred Scriptures. He was probably of Alemannic race, and was born some time in the 9th century. He was at first educated at Fulda. under Rabanus Maurus (q.v.), the pupil of Alcuin (q.v.); next he lived many years in St. Gall, and finally removed to Weissenburg, in Alsace, one of those numerous monasteries scattered along the borders of Switzerland where the mountains break down to the lakes. While at Weissenburg Otfried wrote his Liber evangeliorum, a poetical paraphrase of the Gospels, in four-lined verses, with rhyme. Otfried's aim was to make the people familiar with God's Word in the German tongue. It was his wish, he said, that the praise of Christ might be sung in German ("thaz wir Christus sungun in unsera zungun"); that the Franks might learn to sing by heart what the Bible taught, and also be constantly reminded to reduce it to practice. He thought it "a shame that the Franks, a people not inferior in other respects to the Greeks and Romans, a people who had conquered so many nations, should not possess God's Word in their own language." Otfried's work is the first rhymed poem we possess of the 9th century, and has always marked an important epoch in modern literature. True, there are very frequently introduced episodes, sometimes similes or allegories from ecclesiastical works, sometimes mystical and moral reflections of his own, which make Otfried's work less poetical; but, on the other hand, there are passages where the poet rises to warmth and true poetry, as where, in describing the journey of the Magi, he speaks of the longing of the soul for its heavenly fatherland. The poem, which was probably written before 868, was first published by M. Flacius (Basle, 1571); an edition with a Latin translation was published by Schilter, Thesaurus antiquitatum Teutonicarun' (Ulm, 1726); a critical edition was published by Graff, Krist, das lateste hochdeutsche Gedicht (Konigsb. 1831), and by Kelle (Regensb. 1856); a German translation was published by Rapp (Stuttg. 1856). See Grandidier, Sur la Vie et les Ouvrages d'Otffrid (Strasb. 1778); Lechler, in Stu(lien u. Kritiken (1849), 1:54-90; 2:303-332; Lachmann, in Ersch u. Gruber's Encyklop. iii, § 7:228-282; Neander, Hist. of the Christian Church, 3:425 (Torrey's transl.); Winkworth, Christian Singers of Germany, p. 15 sq.; Koch, Geschichte des deutschen Kirchenliedes, 1:171 sq. (Stuttg. 1866); Schutze, Deutschlands Dichter u. Schriftsteller,

s.v.; Vilmar, Gesch. d. deutschen Nationalliteratur, p. 36 sq.; Grimm, in the Introduction to his Deutsche Grammatik; -Gostwick and Harrison, Outlines of German Literature,p. 11; Miiller, Chips from a: German Workshop, 3:6; Hoffmann v. Flallersleben, Geschichte des deutschen Kirchenliedes bis auf Lutherszeif (Hanover, 1851), p. 23 sq.; id. Fundgruben fii deutsche Sprache und Literatur, i. 38-47; Wackernagel, Literaturgesch. § 31,32. (J. H.W.)

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.