The National Museum of Iceland is hosting a conference today entitled “A Nordic Apocalypse – The Hólar Judgement Day and Völuspá” to coincide with its ongoing exhibition “On the Final Day: A Byzantine Judgement Day Image from Hólar.”
Pieces of art belonging to a much larger wooden image from old bishopric Hólar in north Iceland, which Icelandic experts believe belonged to an ancient Christian iconic tradition with roots in the Byzantine church, are currently on display at the museum.
Judgment Day image from Hólar: details. Drawing by Hördur Ágústsson. Painting by Yuri Bobrov.
The tradition in question stems from the Revelatory literature of various religions which tells of natural catastrophes, wars and the eventual ending of the world, all of which is seen to be in turn closely connected to the final reckoning that humankind must face on Judgment Day, as described in a press release from the National Museum.
This theme appears in a unique fashion in Völuspá (The Prophecy of the Seeress), which has long been regarded as one of the most important of the ancient Eddic poems preserved in Iceland. Scholars nonetheless have differing opinions about the background of this work, and the degree to which it should be seen as a pagan or Christian work.
At the conference, a range of scholars from Iceland and other countries will be introducing some of the most recent research that has been undertaken into Völuspá.