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Parzival auf dem Zauberberg?

Spuren Wolframs von Eschenbach in Thomas Manns Roman

Kathrin Friedrich


Medieval German literature had a deeper impact on Thomas Mann than is typically assumed. The comparison between Wolfram’s von Eschenbach Parzival and Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain illustrates this influence. Nearly 700 years separate both novels, nevertheless, they show amazing parallels. Especially as their narrators are very much alike. Both appear exposed in their stories, utilise Wolfram’s Bogengleichnis, and are unreliable. In addition, they both reflect on their narrations as literary constructs. While Wolfram’s narrator defends his protagonist Parzival for his misdeeds Mann does not bother to do so for Hans Castorp. The heroes and other characters are comparable, but develop differently. Parzival gains knowledge and his identity, whereas Hans Castorp loses both. Parzival fails his first encounter with the grail. Castorp, in contrast, wins a deep insight into life in his Schneetraum; but forgets it immediately. Castorp is as foolish as Parzival when he begins his journey. He is, however, not a grail-quester although Howard Nemerov concludes this in his 1939 dissertation. Yet, the Magic Mountain seems strongly influenced by Parzival. But while the characters in Parzival seek to help the central protagonist, egoism is predominant in the Magic Mountain, the hero stagnates and fails to successfully finish the hero’s journey.

Albrecht Classen


One of our central challenges as medievalists consists of how to respond to the question regarding the relevance of medieval literature and other documents. This article suggests that we can easily draw from medieval heroic literature where ideal and also negative examples of successful/failed leadership are provided. The MHG Nibelungenlied, at least in the first part, illustrates dramatically the consequences of a weak, indecisive, impulsive, and manipulable ruler, whose actions ultimately trigger a whole sequence of hatred, violence, and slaughter. The Old Spanish El Poema de Mío Cid sets out almost at the same point, with the protagonist being exiled because of malignment, but in the course of events, he demonstrates convincingly what makes a true, honorable, admirable, and worthy leader. These two epic poems can serve powerfully as illustrations of failed and successful leadership, and can thus offer significant instructions for modern concerns in politics, business, administration, the church, schools, and universities.

John M. Jeep


This article researches alliterating word-pairs in Wolframs ‘Parzival’. First, all examples from the text are collected and analyzed to elucidate their occurrence in the Old and Middle High German context. It becomes clear which word-pairs have been inherited from Old and (Early) Middle High German, and which were possibly the making of Wolfram himself. In doing so, the inventory of alliterating word-pairs in the early language phases of German is expanded with a few more specimens. We also gain a deeper understanding of their role in the Middle High German courtly novel.

Arend Quak


The vernacular glosses in the manuscript Trier, Seminarbibliothek 61, are considered to be mainly Old Middle Franconian in the scientific literature. They are, however, mixed with Low German words, that are considered to be Old Saxon. With the help of the verb forms in these glosses this article tries to make probable that at least some of these Low German glosses are more likely to be Old Low Franconian than Old Saxon. At the same time it becomes clear that in the dictionaries the difference between weak ēn- and ōn-verbs in a number of cases is wrong or at least doubtful.

Antike Universalgeschichte und Säkularisierung im Melanchthonkreis

Georg Majors Edition des Justinus (1526/37) und die Chronica Carionis (1532)

Carsten Nahrendorf

This article argues that the literary reception of Classical historians through Philipp Melanchthon and his students made a decisive contribution to the pluralization and secularization of early Lutheran scholarly culture. It focuses on Georg Major’s hitherto unexplored edition of Justin’s Epitoma, which was printed in Hagenau in 1526, with a second, extended edition appearing in Magdeburg in 1537. Major’s first edition of 1526 is here scrutinized in the broader context of the emergence of Protestant universal history and the forming of Melanchthon’s understanding of the Four Kingdoms of Daniel, which is traditionally seen by scholars as the starting point of the distinction between secular and sacred history. The second edition (1537) includes a general instruction for the study of histories. Based as it is on Cicero’s historical-methodological principles of consilia, acta, and eventus, laid out in De Oratore, this handbook for Protestant Latin-school pupils is rooted in the historical thought of Italian humanists.

Aventure am Weißen Berg – Aventure des Lebens

Sinnsuche und Selbstdarstellung in den Tagebüchern Fürst Christians ii.

Andreas Herz

On close inspection, a short episode in the diaries of the Calvinist Prince Christian ii of Anhalt-Bernburg is shown to be a revealing cardiogram of a historic moment at the beginning of the Thirty Years War. In reading out and contextualizing this sequence surrounding the term “aventurier” we can uncover traces of Prince Christian’s understanding of himself and his world. His attempts to defy the increasingly heightened experience of contingency and loss of meaning and to defend belief in a higher order in the midst of chaotic events that ensued during the Thirty Years War, meant carefully balancing them against his own standards and role models. In this situation war can no longer be perceived in terms of a knightly “aventure”: it loses all connotation of a test of fibre in the service of ruler and country.

Rainer Hillenbrand

Angelus Silesius describes the mystical deification of the human soul as its inclusion in the Trinity. He uses traditional comparisons and metaphors, as formed on biblical basis by the Fathers to illustrate the inner Trinitarian relations, but also geometric and naturalistic analogies to lead the soul in three ways into God. These are always figurative appellations which, paradoxically, according to negative theology, can also be negated for the very essence of God, which remains unnameable. In this mystical unity, which in the teaching of the church can only happen by grace, but not in a pantheistic fashion by nature, man preserves the creaturely difference to the Creator. Even in the earliest epigrams, Scheffler’s Catholic point of view is that God cannot resist this union of love, and that therefore only man, with his free will, is responsible for its success. The model of the saints and the ethical demand for the keeping of the commandments and the doing of the good works, which confirm the authenticity of this mysticism as well as their conformity with the ecclesiastical tradition, also fit in with this result.