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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1321: Talking about the End: Graves, Death, and the Antichrist

Wednesday 8 July 2020, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Ingrid Bennewitz, Lehrstuhl für Deutsche Philologie des Mittelalters, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
Paper 1321-aThe Etymology and Semantics of Gothic '*Aurahjons' ('Tombs') Reconsidered
(Language: English)
Roland Brennan, Department of English, University College London
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Other, Pagan Religions
Paper 1321-bMen-Eater!: Anthropophage Figuren in der mittelhochdeutschen Literatur
(Language: Deutsch)
Anne-Katrin Federow, Institut für Germanistik Technische Universität Dresden
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Mentalities, Pagan Religions
Paper 1321-cThe Narrative Framework of The Life of Antichrist and Its Iterations in Late 15th-Century German Book Illustration
(Language: English)
Britt Boler Hunter, Department of Art History Florida State University
Index terms: Art History - General, Hagiography, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Printing History

Paper -a:
In translating Mark's account of the Miracle of the Gadarene Swine (5.1-20), Wulfila employs an unusual noun aurahjom (dative plural) for Greek μνημεῖον and μνῆμα.This noun occurs nowhere else in the Gothic corpus and direct cognates are unknown to the record of other Germanic languages. Issues concerning the etymology and semantics of this word were actively debated in the first decades of last century, but little has been said on the subject since. This paper revisits the historical linguistic questions surrounding '*aurahjons' (nominative plural), and further investigates the possible text-centric motives that Wulfila (or a later redactor of his text) might have had for employing this unusual noun instead of hlaiw and hlaiwasnos which normally translate the idea of a tomb or grave. It is argued that 'aurahjons' derived from a verb 'aurahjan' ('to make gravelly') which probably denoted a ritual act. This verb in turn developed through semantic accrual by the base noun PGmc. 'auraz' and adjective 'auraha' - of associations with religious practices, especially in the context of death and burial. The survival of '*aurahjons' in Gothic contributes further to understanding the nature of heathen Gothic religion, specifically certain types of burial practices.

Paper -b:
Der Beitrag soll das Auftreten von Menschenfresserinnen und Menschenfressern als transgressiven Figuren in der weltlichen mittelhochdeutschen Literatur kategorisieren. Hierbei soll eine von den Überlegungen Hans Blumenbergs zur Bannung des Absolutimus der Wirklichkeit durch mythische Strukturen und von Michel Serres zum Essen als Form der Weltaneignung ausgehende Lesart an exemplarischen Texten erprobt werden. Im Motiv der Anthropophagie konzentrieren sich zyklische Zeiterfahrung, werden Themen wie Tod, Subsistenz, Widerständigkeit und Grenzerfahrungen verhandelt. Aber was passiert, wenn der von anthropophagen Figuren ausgehende Horror nicht mehr lokal eingekapselt und damit depotenziert wird? Was können ästhetische Verfahrensweisen gegen die Unheimlichkeit der Welt ausrichten?

Paper -c:
The Life of Antichrist was one of the most popular blockbooks to be printed and circulated in 15th-century Germany. Although some of the textual sources for its legend date as early as the Carolingian period, the first complete pictorial representations of Antichrist's vita are not popularized until the later Middle Ages. This paper examines the narratology of the centuries-long Antichrist legend as it was developed and became codified by the mass-produced blockbooks. By identifying key pictorial and narratological episodes, this paper argues that the Antichrist narrative framework, as established by the blockbooks, came to influence Antichrist cycles as they appeared in later medieval German manuscripts.