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Circular flow of tradition in Old Norse religion
Responsible organisation
2018 (English)In: Fornvännen, ISSN 0015-7813, E-ISSN 1404-9430, Vol. 113, no 2, p. 76-88Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses processes that drove the ability of pre-Christian religion in Scandinavia to vary and adapt to shifting conditions and contexts in society. They also helped to keep religion cohesive over both social and geographical boundariesand hierarchies. Based on a substantially reduced and contextually modified variant of McKim Marriott’s description of the changeability of religious traditions asa constantly on-going circular flow, I tentatively exemplify the dynamism of religionin the Late Iron Age through three case studies.The first of these concerns the relationship between local, regional and supraregionaldeities; the second addresses the axis mundi complex and the relationship between private and public worship; and the third examines the exchange of mortuarypractices and eschatological religious traditions across social boundaries. Allthese cases also illustrate the ability of religious elements to spread geographically,and in doing so adapt to varying sociocultural contexts. Such processes took placein all contexts where people interacted. The sociocultural foundations of religioncan in this sense be compared to a multitude of overlapping, interacting, changeable networks of social and cultural relationships.The characteristics that kept religion dynamic and alive were flexibility and anability to adapt to this sociocultural patchwork. Religion was part of culture, andjust like culture, it was shaped by the constant circular flow of tradition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, 2018. Vol. 113, no 2, p. 76-88
Keywords [sv]
Medeltiden, Fornnordisk mytologi, Fornnordisk religion, Religion och samhälle, Järnåldern, Skandinavien
National Category
History and Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:raa:diva-5372OAI: oai:DiVA.org:raa-5372DiVA, id: diva2:1272849
Available from: 2018-12-20 Created: 2018-12-20 Last updated: 2019-02-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
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Output format
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