Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Honey and poison: Reframing the pagan past at ǫgvaldsnes and elsewhere

  • Author(s): Wellendorf, J
  • et al.

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.

The Ǫgvaldsnes episode from Oddr munkr's Óláfs saga Tryggavasonar and Acallam na Senórach, two roughly contemporary and somewhat similar texts, show how different strategies have been employed to reframe the pagan past and neutralise the poison of this material that worried early doctors of the church such as St Basil. The two texts propose different answers to Alcuin's oft-cited question about the relationship between Christianity and pagan traditions. Both solutions entail depriving the former divinities of their numinous powers, but each strategy also comes at a price. The Old Norse text opts for demonisation and exclusion while the Irish text strives for domestication and subordination. It is not claimed that these two texts are representative of the ways in which the Old Norse and Irish traditions at large handled this question. Rather, the choices of these strategies are probably dictated by the particular historical circumstances of each author, their respective aims, and the literary circuit to which they belonged. Some parallels with the two main texts and alternative ways of reframing the pagan past are also briefly discussed.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item