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In this study, McGillivray explores the cultural environment in which the Eddic poem Vafþrúðnismál was composed and re-examines the relationship between form and content in the poem and the respective influences of pre-Christian beliefs and Christian religion on the text. The poem has a dual aspect, acting as a poetic framework and functioning as a sacred story. It serves both as a representation of early pagan beliefs or myths and also as a myth itself, relating the journey of the Norse god Óðinn to the hall of the ancient and wise giant Vafþrúðnir, where Óðinn craftily engages his adversary in a life-or-death contest in knowledge. The dialogue continues to captivate those enthusiastic about myth and history in the present, even as it did the medieval audiences who heard it.
Medieval Institute Publications
Old Norse mythology, Eddic poetry, time, paganism, Christianity
European History | Medieval Studies | Scandinavian Studies
Citation for Published Book
McGillivray, Andrew Edward. Influences of Pre-Christian Mythology and Christianity on Old Norse Poetry: A Narrative Study of Vafþrúðnismál. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2018.