Elefant – E.3 – IV.3 Diskursive Texte

Liturgische und theologische Texte: Bibelübersetzungen: The bible mentions sometimes elephants. These places are rendered in the Middle Dutch bible adaptations and translations (Rijmbijbel, Historiebijbel van 1361). Dirc van Delft allegorises in his Tafel van den kersten ghelove the anecdote from 1 Mcc 6,34 that elephants were given the juice of grapes to make them bold: so must we Christians become bold to fight against the sins by thinking about the blood of Christ.

Visionsliteratur: Elephants are shown (as sculpture) on the wall of a miraculous castle among the wonders of the world in the Reis van Sente Brandane.

Reiseliteratur: There is a Middle Dutch translation of Mandeville’s travels in which elephants function (→ E.2 IV.3).

Weisheitsliteratur: The Heimelijcheid der heimelicheden, Jacob van Maerlants translation of the Secreta secretorum, compares man and his properties with animals. Amongst others he is pure as an elephant (reine na den elpendiere). In the (mnfrk.) translation of the French version of Guillaume de Conches’ Moralia dogma philosophorum in the Nederrijns Moraalboek strength of mind is preferred to bodily excellence because animals excel always above men in material aspects. E.g., elephants and camels have always stronger and bigger bodies than men.

Medizinische Texte: In medical literature a form of leprosy is called elefancia. As reason is given that the elephant is the strongest animal (as leprosy is the strongest illness?). Or the name is given because the skin changes, becomes thicker and impure.

Paul Wackers

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