Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson. Religious Ideas in Sonatorrek

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  • Author: Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson
  • Title: Religious ideas in Sonatorrek
  • Published in: Saga-book 25/2
  • Year: 1999
  • Pages:159-78
  • E-text: Saga Book
  • Reference: Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson. "Religious ideas in Sonatorrek." Saga-book 25/2 (1999): 159-78.

  • Key words: poetry, religion, mythology (kveðskapur, trúarbrögð, goðsagnir)


Contents

Annotation

Aðalsteinsson analyses Sonatorrek to argue three points. First, he suggests that the poet must have had three sons, and not just the two that are mentioned in the saga but an unmentioned son that died in battle. This is the son that, according to the poem, ended up with Óðinn. Secondly, Aðalsteinsson examines the poet’s religious or spiritual views. By using alternate words found throughout Scandinavia, Aðalsteinsson reinterprets the meaning of some passages of Sonatorrek and argues that the poet believed in traditional religious practices. Finally, Aðalsteinsson argues that the poem connects with traditional understandings of Scandinavian religion and religious beliefs. In it Óðinn is depicted as a personal god, one that can be trusted and leaned upon in times of need, which is evidently based on the spiritual belief of the writer. Also, the god Rán is humanized and shown as a god on the same level of power and personal understanding as Óðinn, creating a god of death with the same power to rule over those souls lost at sea as the god of those who die in battle.

Lýsing

Í greiningu sinni á Sonatorreki leggur Jón Hnefill áherslu á þrjú atriði. Í fyrsta lagi heldur hann því fram að skáldið hljóti að hafa átt þrjá syni, ekki bara þá tvo sem nefndir eru í sögunni heldur einn til viðbótar sem hafi orðið vopndauður. Þetta er sonurinn sem Óðinn tók til sín, samkvæmt kvæðinu. Í öðru lagi kannar hann þær andlegu eða trúarlegu hugmyndir sem fram koma í kvæðinu. Með því að skoða viss hugtök í norrænu samhengi endurtúlkar hann vissa kafla kvæðisins og færir rök fyrir því að skáldið hafi aðhyllst hefðbundna trúariðkun. Síðast en ekki síst heldur Jón Hnefill því fram að grundvöllur kvæðisins séu hefðbundinn skilningur á heiðinni trú og síðum. Þar er Óðni lýst sem persónulegu goðmagni, sem hægt var að treysta á og sækja til þegar kreppti að. Kvæðið endurspegli trúarsannfæringu höfundarins. Rán er líka lýst sem afar mannlegri gyðju, sem er ekki síður öflug og skilningsrík en Óðinn. Hlutverk hennar gagnvart þeim sem deyja á hafi út virðist vera hliðstætt við hlutverk Óðins gagnvart þeim sem verða vopndauðir.

See also

References

Chapter 80: síð er son minn / sóttar brími: „At this point the poem changes subject. The actual memorial poem to Böðvarr has come to an end. St. 20 deals with the poet’s son who died on a sick bed. He was innocent and careful in his choice of words. For the next four strophes, Óðinn takes a central position. In st. 21, the poet states that he still remembers when Óðinn took his son to himself in the home of the gods. There is no obvious grief in this strophe. In direct continuation of this (st. 22), the poet describes the good relationship he has had with Óðinn since taking up steadfast belief in this god who broke his friendship with Þórr. The poet makes sacrifices to Óðinn, the god of poetry, not because the poet is by nature a great man for sacrifices, but rather because Óðinn offers spiritual consolation if one turns to him wholeheartedly (st. 23).“ (s. 175)

Links

  • Written by: Ashlie McDougall
  • Icelandic translation: Jón Karl Helgason
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