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Odins Names in the Poetic Edda Compared to Gods Names in the Heliand

Elisabeth Keller

University of Oslo, Faculty of Humanities, Institute for Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies

The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between the literacizing and poeticizing of two narratives supposedly formed on older oral traditions, the Poetic Edda and the Heliand. I will try to show that both are learned literary works of art based on Indo-European and Classic models as well as the conventions of writing that were active at the time of their being written down, and not some spontaneous free spirited folkloristic expressions. The study is parted in two: I will first attempt to study how and why traditional oral narratives are transmitted into writing and what can trigger their poeticizing. In order to do this I will take a quick look at how the collection and literacizing of oral narratives happened in Modern times. I will then study what kennings are used for Odin in the Poetic Edda and what names are used for God in the Heliand, comparing those the four that show the closest kinship in etymology and/or semantics. The comparison is based on “Odensheite” by Hjalmar Falk as part of his historical – philosophical class and a preliminary list of Gods names in the Heliand, which I have made myself as part of my master’s thesis. All statistical data used in this survey is to be found as an appendix to this article.

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