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Moder Jord i kyrkorummet?: En undersökning av kopplingarna mellan det kristna och det fornnordiska i Vester Egede kyrkans dopfunt som objekt och vad angår motivval, tolkning och dopritual.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, History of Religions.
2015 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

A church in rural Vester Egede from the earliest Christian period in Denmark e.g. the early 1100, a baptismal font is found showing a woman breastfeeding two animals. She is said to be a typical early roman Luxuria, in mild appearance. However, what makes her unique is that she appears standing on the top of her head, her womb serving as font. The main question is how come that a baptismal font like this is to be found in a church, leading to the sub question, if this font really has a Christian origin or could it be rooted in Norse, pre-Christian tradition, alternatively is the font an expression of a syncretism between the two colliding cultures. Studying font in search of an answer I have addressed it from four perspectives: 1) could the very use of baptismal fonts be pre-Christian, 2) to what extend could the motif and 3) its interpretation be rooted in Norse tradition and finally 4) could the young church in Denmark have taken over a previous water ritual and turned it into the Christian baptism of children. The use of font, the motif, it´s interpretation and the ritual function has been investigated from two perspectives: e.g. from the Christian and the Norse religious angels. Methods used are the historical and iconographical method. The hermeneutic method is underlying as a fundament.

According to water rituals the Norse tradition had a very established water ritual for new born children that mostly or exclusively built on civil rights principals, with no outspoken religious contents. How the water ritual practically was performed is not known. Only vague traces suggest the use of a baptismal font in Norse tradition in Denmark. On the motif, the Luxuria, breastfeeding two snakes, it is well documented on the continent and its origin is recognized as the antique Terra Mater. The motif woman-snake is indeed found in Scandinavia, but at the same time no evidence is found of a Mother Earth breastfeeding snakes. There are vague signs that the motif might belong to an earlier layer of earthbound religion predating the Asir-religion. Besides the breastfeeding the Luxuria´s womb is serving as font. Using a Mortal Sinner´s womb for washing off the Original Sin does not give any substantial meaning in symbolic language. However there is a tradition in Denmark for using the epithet fovea or uterus for the baptismal font. On this specific baptismal font the only way to explain the use of the Luxuria´s womb as font is through considering a compilation of two separate traditions. Although the motif in a symbolic understanding of the all-nurturing and all-lifegiving Mother Earth provides a totally comprehendible meaning, it cannot be pleaded that the font is derived from Norse tradition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 45 p.
National Category
History of Religions
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-256748OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-256748DiVA: diva2:826805
Subject / course
History of Religions
Educational program
Bachelor Programme in Theology and Religious Studies
Available from: 2015-06-26 Created: 2015-06-25 Last updated: 2015-06-26Bibliographically approved

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