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The Merseburg Charms
The Merseburg Charms

Pagan Magic and Christian Culture in Medieval Germany

Author(s): Martina Lamberti
Subject(s): History, Middle Ages, Theology and Religion
Published by: Trivent Publishing
Keywords: Old High German literature; Merseburg Charms; pagan spells; pagan Germanic deities; religion and magic;Medieval culture;
Summary/Abstract: Among the texts of Old High German literature, two alliterative spells, the Merseburg charms, contained in a tenth-century liturgical manuscript, show some analogies with Christian prayers. This chapter focuses on the role of Christianity in the literary production of medieval Germany, with special regard to magic formulas. Attention is drawn on the manuscriptʼs paleography and contents, and it continues with the magic “genre” and the study of spells. Then, the Merseburg charms are analysed on the basis of content, structure, language, and parallels with other texts. The purpose of this study is to show the analogies between Christian prayers and heathen charms with regard to their allusions to the divine and the fulfillment of performative acts.

  • Page Range: 203-220
  • Page Count: 18
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: English