The story of the Holy Grail has gripped the imaginations of millions since it first appeared in medieval romances, among them Wolfram von Eschenbach's Middle High German Parzival (c. 1210). Strangely, the Grail is identified in Parzival not as a cup or dish, but as a stone. This oddity is usually interpreted merely as further evidence of the difficulty of discerning the true sources of the Grail legend.
G. Ronald Murphy seeks to illuminate this mystery and to enable a far better appreciation of Wolfram's insight into the nature of the Grail and its relationship to the Crusades. Wolfram's "sacred stone" was in fact a consecrated altar, precious by virtue of the sacrament but also, Murphy argues, by virtue of the material from which it was made: a precious green stone associated with the rivers of Paradise. Parzival, Murphy believes, was intended as an argument against continued efforts by Latin Christians to recover the Sepulchre by force. In Wolfram's story, warring Christians and Muslims are brought together in peace by the power of the Grail - a stone Murphy believes still exists.
An entirely original reading of Wolfram's famous text, this engrossing and accessible book appeals not only to scholars and students of medieval literature but to anyone who is drawn to the lasting mystery of the Holy Grail.
G. Ronald Murphy, S.J. is Professor of German at Georgetown University. He is the author of several titles, including The Heiland: The Saxon Gospel and The Owl, the Raven, and the Dove: The Religious Meaning of the Grimms' Magic Fairy Tales.
PROLOGUE: IN THE BEGINNING; GRAILS, THE GRAIL, AND THE STARS; 1. The Idea of the Holy Grail; 2. The World of Precious Stones; 3. The Crusaders' Quest; THE HOLY SEPULCHER; 4. The Frame Story; FEIREFIZ, PARZIVAL, AND THEIR FATHER; 5. The Frame Story Ending; THE OVERFLOWING GRAIL; 6. The Grail in the Inner Story; 7. The Paradise Altar of Bamberg; AFTERWORD; AFTERMATH; APPENDIX 1: ETYMOLOGICAL EXCURSUS; THE MEANING OF THE FIVE WOMEN'S NAMES; APPENDIX 2: TWO MEDIEVAL TEXTS ON THE CONSECRATION OF THE ALTAR AND THE VENERATION OF THE SEPULCHER; SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX
Murphy...offers an important, thoroughly documented argument that the Grail is a portable altar. ...This book is an invaluable addition to Wolfram scholarship...Essential. Syndetic Solutions
Oxford University Press, USA
GEMSTONE OF PARADISE
Oxford University Press USA
The Holy Grail in Wolfram's Parzival
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