Did Christianity Influence Völuspá? Skip to content

Did Christianity Influence Völuspá?

By Iceland Review

Pétur Pétursson, a professor in theology, will tomorrow present his theory on how medieval carved wooden panels depicting the Last Judgment scene, currently on display at the National Museum, may have influenced the ancient heathen prose poem Völuspá (Prophecy of the Seeress).

Pétursson will cite verses from Völuspá, which analysts have found difficult to comprehend, but take on a new meaning if they are read in context with scenes from the Last Judgment, like the one on display at the museum.

Christianization was a long and complicated process in Iceland, which began with the settlement in the late 9th century and lasted until the 11th century. During that time Christian and heathen ideas often merged, as explained in a National Museum press release.

That becomes evident in Völuspá, Pétursson says. The ancient prose poem was probably in contact flux until it was finally written down on parchment in the 12th century, around the time that the Last Judgment scene, which is now being exhibited at the museum, was created at Hólar cathedral.

Click here to read more about the exhibition.

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