The Part of the Whole. Cosmology as an Empirical and Analytical Concept
AbstractIn the study of Old Norse religion, mythology and cosmology are two core concepts frequently used in inter-disciplinary discussions as to the content, changes and spread of the pre-Christian religion in Scandinavia. The article discusses the concept of cosmology in relation to religion and world-view, with examples from picture-stones and from mythological and heroic texts. Cosmology is not a criterion of religion, any more than the occurrence of an explicitly formulated cosmology necessarily implies that the aim in presenting a world-view is exclusively religious. We may be justified in looking closely at a body of material that is to be studies and asking ourselves where its systematicity is formulated: in the researcher’s argumentation, in a compiler like Snorri, or in the emic tradition? And not least, which individual narratives in the local tradition are singled out as cosmological? Hybrid forms are rarely identified by studying cosmologies as doctrinal systems. The representation of world-views can take other forms than systematised accounts, but then they are less easily accessible to research. In a discussion of the concept of cosmology, there may be good reason to ask what motifs in text and image recurring over a long time imply for different interpretations and what their ambivalence means for their analysis today. The as now, there is a wide range of possibilities when it comes to the interpretation of individual expressions. The explanatory value of concepts such as cosmology, or for that matter mythology, is sometimes obscure, since the terms are used to capture a particular type of empirical material rather than to answer an analytical question. Cosmology and mythology thus refer to a certain kind of content in narratives rather than to the normal meaning of the term cosmology, i.e. a coherent doctrine of the universe that takes into consideration both the spatial aspects of the word cosmos and systematic knowledge, logos.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2009 Temenos - Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 Unported License.
- The Author acknowledges that the Work will be publicly accessible on the Internet and that such access will be free of charge for the readers.
- The Author guarantees that the Work is her/his original work that has not been published before and cannot be construed as copying or plagiarism. Furthermore, the Author confirms that the Work contains no statement that is unlawful, defamatory or abusive or in any way infringes the rights of others.
- The Author confirms that she/he has secured all written permissions needed for the reproduction in the Publication of any material created by a third party.
Under the CC BY 4.0 license, the Author/s and users are free to:
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format,
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially,
- However, the Work must be attributed to the original Author and source of publication.
The license of the published metadata is Creative Commons CCO 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)
The Authors maintain the right to:
- copyright, and other proprietary rights relating to the Work,
- the right to use the substance of the Work in future own works,
- the right to self-archiving/parallel publishing (publisher's PDF allowed).
Rights of Publisher
- The Publisher reserves the right to make such editorial changes as may be necessary to make the Work suitable for publication in the publication, e.g. style of punctuation, spelling, headings and the like.
- The Publisher will publish the Work if the editorial process is successfully completed and reserves the right not to proceed with publication for whatever reason.
- The publication entitles the author to no royalties or other fees. This agreement will be governed by the laws of Finland.