Making the Profane Sacred in the Viking Age
Essays in Honour of Stefan Brink
Irene Garcia Losquino, Olof Sundqvist, Declan Taggart (eds)
- Pages: xii + 336 p.
- Size:156 x 234 mm
- Illustrations:23 b/w, 1 tables b/w.
- Publication Year:2020
- € 80,00 EXCL. VAT RETAIL PRICE
- ISBN: 978-2-503-58604-5
- € 80,00 EXCL. VAT RETAIL PRICE
- ISBN: 978-2-503-58605-2
The contributions in this volume by world-leading scholars of archaeology, history, history of religion, literature and onomastics provide new insights into the construction of the sacred in Old Norse culture and society.
This collection has three editors: Olof Sundqvist is Professor in the History of Religions at the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions, and Gender Studies of Stockholm University. He has written the books Freyr's Offspring. Rulers and Religion in Ancient Svea Society (2002) and An Arena for Higher Powers. Ceremonial Buildings and Religious Strategies for Rulership in Late Iron Age Scandinavia (2016). Declan Taggart is a researcher of Old Norse religion and literature, especially of the cognitive underpinnings of representations of pre-Christian gods and morality. Irene García Losquiño is a researcher of the Viking diaspora, currently focusing on interdisciplinary approaches to Viking contact with the Iberian Peninsula. She has previously worked on early runic inscriptions.
“This volume will almost certainly become one of those key works which will continue to stimulate and influence future researchers for many years to come within landscape studies and archaeology, for folklorists and those concerned with studies in religion, and indeed for anyone working in Scandinavian and early medieval studies more broadly.” (Erica Steiner, in Parergon, 38/2, 2021, p. 214)
The term ‘sacred’ is often used in relation to the pre-Christian religions of Iron Age and medieval Scandinavia. But what did sacred really mean? What made something sacred for people? Why was one particular person, place, act, or text perceived to hold a sacral quality, while others remained profane? And what impact did such sacrality have on wider society, culture, politics, and economics, both for contemporaries and for future generations?
This volume seeks to engage with such questions by drawing together essays from many of the pre-eminent scholars of Old Norse in order to reinterpret the concept of the sacred in the Viking Age North and to challenge pre-existing frameworks for understanding the sacred in this space and time. Including essays from Margaret Clunies Ross, Stephen Mitchell, John Lindow, and Judy Quinn, it is a treasury of commentary and information that ranges widely across theories and sources of evidence to present significant primary research and reconsiderations of existing scholarship. This edited collection is dedicated to Stefan Brink, an outstanding figure in the study of early Scandinavian language, society, and culture, and it takes as its inspiration the diversity, interdisciplinarity and vitality of his own research in order to make a major new contribution to the field of Old Norse studies.
Introduction — OLOF SUNDQVIST, DECLAN TAGGART, AND IRENE GARCÍA LOSQUIÑO
Part I: Understanding Sacredness
What Does heilagr Mean in Old Norse? — MARGARET CLUNIES ROSS
Landscape – Sacred and Profane — JENS PETER SCHJØDT
Sacred and Profane, Visual and Lived-in: A Note on some Creative Tensions in the Landscape — MATS WIDGREN
Part II: Sacredness and Space
Ritual Places, Sacral Place-names, and Wetlands: Some Spatial and Archaeological Contexts from the Baltic Island of Öland — JAN-HENRIK FALLGREN
Ritual Space and Territorial Boundaries in Scandinavia — TORUN ZACHRISSON
Karlevi: A Viking Age Harbour on Öland — PER VIKSTRAND
Stafgarþar Revisited — ANDERS ANDRÉN
Sacredness Lost: On the Variable Status of Churches in the Middle Ages — BERTIL NILSSON
Part III: The Sacred and the Text
Tradition and Ideology in Eddic Poetry — JOHN MCKINNELL
Sacred Hero, Holy Places: The Eddic Helgi-Tradition — CAROLYNE LARRINGTON
Fifth-Column Mother: Týr’s Parentage according to Hymiskviða — JUDY QUINN
Part IV: Sacredness Across Contexts
From Legend to Myth? — JOHN LINDOW
The Landscape of Thor Worship in Sweden — TARRIN WILLS
Conversion, Popular Religion, and Syncretism: Some Reflections —ANNE-SOFIE GRÄSLUND
Swine, Swedes, and Fertility Gods — BO GRÄSLUND
The Goddesses in the Dark Waters — TERRY GUNNELL
Part V: Afterlives of Sacredness
Valhǫll and the Swedish ‘Valhall’ Mountains of the Dead — ANDREAS NORDBERG
Place-names, Periphrasis, and Popular Tradition: Odinic Toponyms on Samsø — STEPHEN A. MITCHELL
Sacred Sites and Central Places: Experiences of Multidisciplinary Research Projects — CHARLOTTE FABECH AND ULF NÄSMAN
A Bibliography of Stefan Brink’s Publications, Compiled with Assistance from Per Vikstrand