Daniel Sävborg’s lecture on Scandinavian pre-Christian religion

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On 8th of February at 17.00 PM Daniel Sävborg will be giving a lecture on the topic “The reconstruction of a pre-Christian religion on the basis of written sources” at Tartu City Museum. The lecture will be held in English.

Our image of the Pre-Christian Scandinavian religion is to a large extent based on written sources, created by Christian authors with a marked distance in time and space from the pagan religion they describe. Icelandic texts from the 13th century – more than 200 years after the Christianization – constitute the main source for the pagan mythology, with its famous pantheon of gods such as Odin, Thor and Frey and exciting stories about them. Pagan cult is also described in the 13th century Icelandic sources, and some information is also given in 11th century German ecclesiastical texts on the Christian mission and with a fundamental hostile attitude to this cult. It is obvious that these sources, with their distance to the pagan religion, are problematic, and some philologists have totally rejected them and deny that we can know anything about the pagan religion and mythology.

But what types of problems do we have to do with and can they be overcome? Historians of religion claim that it is possible to reconstruct both religious cult and mythology of pagan Scandinavia. In his talk Sävborg will give examples of other types of sources which can be used and also of information in the late and “problematic” which in fact can be confirmed by other sources.

Entry fee is 2 euros.

The lecture is a part of the exhibition “Viking Treasures from Estonia” programme. The exhibition is open until 8th of April.