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Paganism at Home: Pre-Christian Private Praxis and Household Religion in the Iron-Age North
University of Leicester.
2018 (English)In: Scripta Islandica: Isländska Sällskapets Årsbok, ISSN 0582-3234, E-ISSN 2001-9416, Vol. 69, p. 49-97Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The understanding of pre-Christian Nordic religion as a complicated network of over­lapping and interrelated religious systems has achieved a growing acceptance in recent years, allowing for an increase in studies of a number of localised and pheno­menologically-distinct articulations of historical Scandinavian paganism. However, while large-scale public cults of high-status sites like Gamla Uppsala, Lejre, and Hlaðir have received considerable attention, little work has yet been done on more private forms of religiosity in the Late Iron Age. This article utilises a paradigm of typologically-relevant domestic, familial, and household religion\s developed in the Antique Near East and Mediterranean to analyse textual and archaeological evidence for household cult in the Nordic Late Iron Age. Based on descriptions of religious praxis in a number of medieval Icelandic narratives and skaldic verse contextualised by philological and archaeological evidence, a model of pre-Christian household religion is proposed to feature characteristics such as a predominance of localised deities, significant roles for women, and a temporal link to specific times of the year, particularly late autumn and winter. This model not only contributes to an emerging comparative model of historical private religiosity, but also offers insight into what might be uniquely Nordic about pre-Christian religion in Scandinavia and its environs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 69, p. 49-97
Keywords [en]
pre-Christian religion, household religion, popular religion, comparative religion, religious praxis, domestic life
National Category
History of Religions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-371476OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-371476DiVA, id: diva2:1274310
Available from: 2018-12-29 Created: 2018-12-29 Last updated: 2018-12-29

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Scripta Islandica: Isländska Sällskapets Årsbok
History of Religions

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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