Old Scandinavian and Christian eschatology

  • Anders Hultgård
Keywords: Norse religion, Eddas, Christianity, Eschatology -- Comparative studies, Scandinavia, Syncretism


The eschatological beliefs current in Scandinavia during the Viking and early Medieval periods can be grouped into two main traditions, denoted by the concepts of Ragnarok and Doomsday. The former has its roots in the pre-Christian religion of Scandinavia, the latter was brought to the north in the process of christianization. Although different in origin the two traditions did not, in the age with which we are concerned, necessarily reflect a strict division between adherents of the old faith and Christians. Syncretic versions of the Ragnarok concept were in circulation, one of which was presented by Snorri in his Edda. The common people, although officially christianized, apparently continued to transmit beliefs connected with the Ragnarok tradition. Scholarly research has tended to treat the two traditions separately. In fact they coexisted for centuries, leaving room for confrontation and mutual influences.
How to Cite
Hultgård, A. (1990). Old Scandinavian and Christian eschatology. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 13, 344-357. https://doi.org/10.30674/scripta.67184