The End of the World in Scandinavian Mythology

The End of the World in Scandinavian Mythology

"A myth about the end of the world, the Ragnarok, was told among Viking Age Scandinavians. It is here reconsidered against a comparative background. The signs of the end, the final battle, the destruction and renewal of the world are the main themes distinguished. The myth was handed down in a Christian medieval context and the problem of Christian influence is thoroughly discussed. Particular attention is given to the Old Norse homilies as instruments of conveying Christian teachings to both the elites and the common people. The comparative framework is set up by traditions on the end of the world in early Judaism, Christianity, Islam, the Graeco-Roman world, Celtic Europe as well as ancient Iran and India. The geographical area covered by these traditions formed a network of cultural contacts providing possibilities of various influences. These texts are studied in their own right to avoid superficial paralleling. The analogies with Iranian traditions are striking and include the idea of the cosmic tree, the role of number 'nine', and the myth of the heavenly warriors"--

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Publisher Oxford University Press
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ISBN 0192867253
Pages 474 pages
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