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Thread: Which Germanic Scriptures Do You Value Mostly?

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Which Germanic Scriptures Do You Value Mostly?

    Which Germanic Texts/Scripture do you value the most?

    In many ways, our understanding of the old beliefs is much affected by the selection of texts which we - or even others for us - make!

    So, as an ongoing thread of interest, I am wondering - specifically of those who care, whilst do you find the most inspiring or rewarding?

    C.

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    Håvamål and Kongesagaene. (These should be in every scandinavians library)
    Håvamål teaches you "sed & skikk" and how to prosper and get alot of friends and to be liked.

    I also enjoy "Kongespeilet" alot, especially the part of the hirð.

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    Senior Member Psychonaut's Avatar
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    Since we have so few period texts to work with, I think most of us treasure all of them, even to the point of possibly hyper-inflating the value of what, in some cases, would not have been important texts. Personally, the texts that I find the most value in are those that deal with personal transformation:

    • Hávamál for it's account of Odin's winning of the Runelore.
    • The Vǫlsung Saga for its darkly beautiful vision of Odin and one of his chosen.
    • Parzifal by Wolfram von Eschenbach as possibly the greatest Germanic Epic poem detailing the archetypal heroic journey.


    Also, no list of influential lore would be complete without mentioning Völuspá, which provides us with a poetic overture of the whole of the Germanic world
    "Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    I think we all, so far, agree about the Havamal. And I also think that Voluspa is very important - a pagan text for sure , it is said and a most valuable text. These are the first two books of the Poetic Edda.... a good start surely! I certainly have some questions which I would like to resolve.... if it is at all ever possible.

    Of the earlier materials, what views do you have of the Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda? Is this a work you feel that you could rely upon at all?

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    Senior Member Psychonaut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    Of the earlier materials, what views do you have of the Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda? Is this a work you feel that you could rely upon at all?
    I find the Prose Edda to much less reliable, particularly when Snorri lapses into his theories about Óðinn being a Trojan refugee. However, the Prose Edda is invaluable for its recounting of Óðinn obtaining the mead of poetry.
    "Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    I agree that the Havamal and the Voluspa are the main texts. The recent introductions to Odinism I've seen were embarrassingly flaky. I have not read the Troth books so can't vouch for them. Some outsiders' accounts of our ancestors' practices that are practically canonical are Tacitus' Germania, Adam of Bremen's drearily-titled History of the Archbishoprics of Hamburg-Bremen, Saxo Grammaticus, and of course Snorri's Prose Edda.
    The sitters in the hall seldom know
    The kin of the new-comer:
    The best man is marred by faults,
    The worst is not without worth.
    -- The Havamal, #133 (trans. Auden and Taylor)

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    I agree with you about the historic texts ; Tacitus, in particular, is priceless when considering the earliest manifestions of 'the theologies' in Germania around the roman period.... and later comments , even of Bishops, concerning cult practices in the north and in Sweden for example. I am disrespecting nothing in this enquire - which , by the way, I am sticking as an ongoing thread of interest for new members....and others!

    I have come to accept the informal (Bellows) twofold division of the older Prose Edda into the Lays of the Gods and the Lays of the Heroes. (There is obviously some overlap). There is a Dover edition of the early Bellows translation which deals only with the Gods. At the moment, this is my own particular interest.... again , no disrepect whatsoever! There are some specific issues which we might be able to explore when, for example, Snorri's Edda suddenly introduces variants on the earlier narrative , even with different names, and alarming discrepancies begin to occur. There is the understanding that he had access to newer material which led him to make certain changes in some of the earliest pagan sources ( which he clearly knew). I would like to seek clarification of some of these in newer threads within this section.

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    Senior Member Maelstrom's Avatar
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    I think the main ones have been pretty much summed up already. I'm not too well read in old Germanic scriptures, though have read the Eddas.

    Something that comes to mind while reading the title of this thread are the works of Rudyard Kipling. While not specifically heathen or Germanic, the images he conjures up, especially in his poems, are amazing.

    Sorry if this takes the thread off track with the mention of a somewhat contemporary author. Feel free to delete this post if need be.

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfadir View Post
    Håvamål and Kongesagaene. (These should be in every scandinavians library).
    Håvamål teaches you "sed & skikk" and how to prosper and get alot of friends and to be liked.

    I also enjoy "Kongespeilet" alot, especially the part of the hirð.
    Thanks for your post here. I was somewhat confused by the Norwegian -- don't we love such games? However, I have at least begun to sort it out - I will leave the detail to you. Of the Håvamål , there can be no disagreement - a pagan compilation-text without little doubt - although its internal structure requires considerable patience!
    But what of Voluspa - the first book from the collected Codex. There is a wealth of detail concerning pagan things here too - and that is also an important preChristian text from the ??early tenth century. Possibly even originating from Norway also??


    Now the Kings are more complex; I have a fine copy of 'The Sagas of the Norse Kings' - but the work you mention is wider and broader than just that I take it. Not too sure about the "Kongespeilet" - perhaps you could enlighten here?


    And concerning "sed & skikk" -- custom & practice (?) --- I have some new material from the web which I am opening for discussion here:


    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=101534


    For yourself, since I know there is a lot of debate about these things in the north, do you attach special value to the old Norse Gods - perhaps as "guardians" of the early Germanic Lore?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    Thanks for your post here. I was somewhat confused by the Norwegian -- don't we love such games? However, I have at least begun to sort it out - I will leave the detail to you. Of the Håvamål , there can be no disagreement - a pagan compilation-text without little doubt - although its internal structure requires considerable patience!
    But what of Voluspa - the first book from the collected Codex. There is a wealth of detail concerning pagan things here too - and that is also an important preChristian text from the ??early tenth century. Possibly even originating from Norway also??


    Now the Kings are more complex; I have a fine copy of 'The Sagas of the Norse Kings' - but the work you mention is wider and broader than just that I take it. Not too sure about the "Kongespeilet" - perhaps you could enlighten here?


    And concerning "sed & skikk" -- custom & practice (?) --- I have some new material from the web which I am opening for discussion here:


    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=101534


    For yourself, since I know there is a lot of debate about these things in the north, do you attach special value to the old Norse Gods - perhaps as "guardians" of the early Germanic Lore?
    Kongesagaene, (the saga's of the kings) are more knowns as Heimskringla

    You are correct about the sed & skikk part.

    Kongespeilet(norrønt Konungs skuggsjá, latin Speculum Regale)is not really a heathen book, but its a work about practices and customs one should have in different jobs, as the soldier, the peasant, the king and priests.
    It also contains alot of information about how the world was regarded at that time, with seamonsters, what the northern lights are and much more It was originally written as a teaching book for the sons of Magnus Lagabøte. I think the part about the hirdmann was very interesting, it has teachings about different weapons, siege warfare, how to behave etc.
    Sadly not all parts from the book are conserved (The parts left are about the merchant, the king and the soldier (hirdmann)).

    As for voluspå it was written in either Norway or Iceland around 900. I would say its an important text.
    It contains information about the past and the future, the beginning and the end. Its about creation and ragnarok.
    About the gods, I havnt really viewed them as guardians of the lore but more like different sides of humans.
    Some gods may even have been outstanding people.
    Thor Heyerdahl though Odin came from around the black sea and there has been some research on it.
    The archeological mission was called "The search for Odin", and I know they published a book on it, havnt seen it on english though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakten_p%C3%A5_Odin I would say Odin and Heimdal perhaps could be guardians of the lore, since they knew the runes and Heimdal taught them to people.

    Will check out your link

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