Aspects of the Ǽsir: Conceptions and Mythological Motifs of Divinity in Old Norse Religion.

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2012
End date: 31/12/2014
Funding: 2160000 SEK


This study concerns views on divinity in Old Norse religion and in scholarly research on Old Norse religion. The search for the origin and *essence* of the gods and goddesses has been a salient feature in the study of Old Norse religion. During the history of research, these issues have been explained in a series of alternative ways. In the first part of this project, these scholarly interpretations are studied from the perspective of the history of ideas, starting in the age of national romanticism, evolutionism and Indo-European comparative mythology, to present views on the Old Norse gods and goddesses. In the second part, alternative approaches to the study of divinity in Old Norse religion are suggested. As a consequence of the historically dominant philological perspective, mythological motifs of the gods and goddesses as personal and almost humanlike beings have been confused with actual religious conceptions. Shifting focus from epical motifs to religious conceptions of the gods, will offer possibilities to more multifarious and complex views on the deities in Old Norse religion, as well as an explanation for the diverse ways to depict gods and goddesses in mythology, iconography and cult. Whereas the motifs of the deities varied according to different genres and socio-religious contexts, the conceptions of them might more or less been the same.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:56