Damnation and Salvation in Old Norse Literature
Title Details

272 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

Series: Studies in Old Norse Literature

Imprint: D.S.Brewer

Damnation and Salvation in Old Norse Literature

by Haki Antonsson

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
A full survey of the "Last Things" as treated in a wide range of Old Norse literature.
The hope of salvation and the fear of damnation were fundamental in the Middle Ages. Surprisingly, however, this topic, as reflected in Old Norse literature, has received limited critical attention.This book addresses this lacunain the scholarship, from two major perspectives. Firstly, it examines how the twin themes of damnation and salvation interact with other more familiar and better explored topoi, such as the life-cycle, the moment of death, and the material world. Secondly, it looks at how issues relating to damnation and salvation influence the structure of texts, with regard both to individual scenes and poems and sagas as a whole. The author argues that comparable features and patterns reoccur throughout the corpus, albeit with individual variations contingent on the relevant historical and literary context. A broad range of the literature is considered, including Sagas of Icelanders, Kings' sagas, Contemporary Sagas, Legendary sagas and poems of Christian instruction.

HAKI ANTONSSON is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Scandinavian Studies, University College London.
Introduction
Confession and Penance
Life's Journey Towards Salvation: Salvation and the Biographical Pattern
Betrayal
Outlaws and Marginal Figures
Salvation, Damnation and the Visible World
The Hour of Death
Last Things and Judgement Day
Bibliography
"In his examination of an understudied theme, that of salvation and damnation in Old Norse Literature, Haki Antonsson considers how sub-themes found in a variety of literary genres - sagas of Icelanders, kings' sagas, and religious poetry - reflect basic Christian concerns with the fate of their protagonists in the next world. Although Christian authorship of, and influence on, the sagas has been assumed in scholarship for several decades, its full implications have seldom been realized, and the focus has usually been on individual sagas and episodes in which Christian themes are thought to imply sanctity. In this volume Antonsson demonstrates through meticulous textual analyses how death scenes, biographical patterns, and themes such as betrayal and violent death suggest not that individuals are saints, but that their eventual places in heaven are guaranteed - or prohibited. The volume serves as a welcome and pointed reminder that such issues were just as important for thirteenth-century Icelanders as they were elsewhere in Europe.-" Margaret Cormack, Professor Emerita in the Department of Religious Studies at College of Charleston
"Haki Antonsson has provided in a remarkably wide-ranging work an important contribution to our growing appreciation of the important Christian dimension in Old Norse saga literature. It deserves to be read by serious saga students and scholars but also by those from other fields with an interest in the popular religion of medieval Western Europe." PARERGON

Hardcover

9781843845072

July 2018

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9781787443020

July 2018

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Title Details

272 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

Series: Studies in Old Norse Literature

Imprint: D.S.Brewer