This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 6 -- Feast of Notker the Stammerer

This fella's no relation to Michael the Stammerer, the Byzantine Emperor who eased up on the iconodules.  Stammerer is more of a trait than a family name, which is nice for any relatives who may speak more fluently.

Ekkehard IV, who wrote biographies of the monks of St. Gall, described Notker this way:
delicate of body but not of mind, stuttering of tongue but not of intellect, pushing boldly forward in things Divine, a vessel of the Holy Spirit without equal in his time.
Notker was born in Switzerland around 840; eventually he was appointed librarian at his monastery, and for a while he served as Master of Guests.  He was a prolific writer -- hymns, religious poems, and a book of anecdotes about Charlemagne all bear his name.

Wikipedia has a lengthy, unattributed but derisive review of Notker's work on Charlemagne:

"mass of legend, saga, invention and reckless blundering": historical figures are claimed as living when in fact dead; claims are attributed to false sources (in one instance, the Monk claims that "to this King Pepin [the Short] the learned Bede has devoted almost an entire book of his Ecclesiastical History"; no such account exists in Bede's history - unsurprisingly, given that Bede died in 735 during the reign of Charlemagne's grandfather Charles Martel); and Saint Gall is frequently referenced as a location in anecdotes, regardless of historical verisimilitude...  

 Unreliable sources?  Fallacious assertions?  Sounds a bit like hagiomajor, so if you're raising you voice to St. Notker today, stammer a good word for me.  Thanks. 


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