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Völuspá and the Feast of Easter

John McKinnell

Alvíssmál, Vol. 12 (2008)

It is generally agreed that Völuspá has been influenced by Christian ideas to some extent, but the nature of that influence has been debated. Of course it is true, as Daniel Sävborg has pointed out, that all the Old Norse poetry that survives comes from a time when Christianity was already to some extent influential in northern Europe. But there is a difference between the adoption of commonplace Christian expressions (such as calling Óðinn Alföðr ‘Father of all’, cf. Latin Pater omnium) or general ideas (e.g. that some beings will be resurrected after Ragnarök) on the one hand, and on the other the suggestion that specific Christian texts have been used as source material for Völuspá. This paper will address only the latter type of influence, and will consider what criteria should be used in evaluating whether any particular claimed source is probable or not. I shall then go on to make a suggestion of my own.

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