Thursday, February 2, 2017

Norse Myth, Commenting on Jackson Crawford

Video commented on:
Norse Myth: The Creation
Jackson Crawford

5:40 Genesis account of Flood (recall : "there were giants in those days") meets Sumerian account of Enlil killing Tiamat.

Odin was arguably more modest than Nimrod: the latter claimed having killed Tiamat himself before creating men and earth, while Odin said he needed the help of two brothers for similar task.

And Odin and Nimrod were believed for reasons close to those making Hercules believable when he said things like "you should have seen me and Iolaus help the gods against the giants" or "it was a tough scrape down in Hades, I was nearly caught" ...

7:37 Creation of man, Norse and Greek each have more in common with Sumerian than with each other.

Greek / Sumerian : Enki theme resumed as Prometheus (Greek taking more of an "Enlil pov" than Sumerian - btw, I just speculated Nimrod would have claimed the role of Enlil for himself, perhaps it was rather the role of Enki).

Norse / Sumerian : human vital characteristics are described as gifts of different gods.

8:20 All vowels alitterate with each other in Norse poetry.

So, can one take identic vowel as a kind of "rich allitteration" (I know that usually stands for consonant groups, like grasping for gr after group ...). First man and first woman have anyway alitteration of identic vowels with Biblical items.

A chance? Or had Odin read the Bible in Hebrew, at least OT? I am of course here referring to his human appearance, attested by Snorri, Saxo, and with subtle differences, but no basic contradiction, as a tale our narrator Paul the Deacon did not believe : Godan and Fricco overseeing the battle from which Vinniles emerged victorious - or declared victors - and with the new name of long beards.

8:56 While Swedish translator Åke Ohlmarks translates Middle-Earth as Midgård (identic to Norse myth term), Tolkien was actually referring to Middle English Middel Erthe ... where the concept no longer carried any connotation of Norse myth, it was just a poetic reference to an earth between heaven and netherworld.

So, I would not quite agree that it is the Norse myth concept of Midgarth that Tolkien translates.

At end:

Yggdrasil in netherworld : confer Sumerian pillars of netherworld. Both had dragons or snakes crawling around them.

Sumerian was not a dead-dead but a Classic language up to 1:st C. BC. So, if Odin's stepgrandson Fjolner was contemporary with Augustus (scrapping Saxo's distinction between Frothi I and Frothi II as a doubling of persons to serialise what were instead parallel dynasties), Odin would have been alive when he had an opportunity of learning Sumerian.

And the idea of Ragnarok ... well, 19th C. scholars thought this and Baldur had been borrowed from Christian neighbours.

I think Hebrew or Old Persian / Zoroastrian apocalyptic literature as well as Osiris for model of Baldur would be as arguable an origin : especially as Norse myth is as dualist with gods related to and inimical to giants and of equal power (in Norse version even giants stronger) as Zoroastrianism, and so, Odin if a 1:st C. BC Oriental could have accessed Gathas, Book of Daniel, probably already Book of Henoch and, of course Egyptian Osiris worshippers.

If you want IE "etymologies" for Ragnarok and Baldur the way a Hindoo wind gods becomes so for Odin, or Zeus for Tyr, I think you will be looking longer, than if you accept Odin as a historic person with Oriental at least connections.

Other video commented on
Intro. to the Norse Gods and Goddesses
Jackson Crawford

1:12 A little tu quoque.

The Eddas between them give us two basic alternatives as to how theogonical parts of Norse myth "theology" was so to speak "revealed" to the Pagans.

Snorri's work starts with a Gylfaginning which you dismiss straight off, while I doubt only the Trojan ancestry part of it (by the way, would Troy have been in Tyrkjaland in Snorri's day, or wasn't it still Byzantium?). I.e., a man taken by his adherents as a god (which he is not, Atheists and Christians would agreee on that one, whatever Hindoos say) reveals his "divine past" in what, on any non-Pagan view, is extreme and blasphemous bragging.

Voluspá on the other hand says someone committed necromancy to get the witness of what on Christian views must have been a demon from Hell. A medium invoked a former dead medium, a demon took the soul's place, and a deception ensued with more seriousness and less humour than that of the Nine Muses adressing Hesiod.

These versions do not contradict. Odin could have been the younger - male - medium or necromancer who invoked an older, dead female one, in reality the devil, to get a "supernatural"*, but not at all divine witness of his divine past.

Of course, the appearances and disappearances Odin makes before Gylfe could also be explained if Odin was a hypnotist and Gylfe in trance. Saxo (I think it was) gives some indication Odin mastered both hypnosis and self hypnosis as well as any Hindoo Fakeer.

* Preternatural is actually more like it.

Niorth : etymologically Nerthus, as nearly no modern scholar doubts.

Why would a goddess change gender to a god (of a different quality) like that?

On the other hand, if Niorth really lived, we can see another possibility.

A man named Nerthus in 1:st C. BC Scandinavia could possibly be ... an equivalent to what Demetrios was as male name when Demeter was worshipped by other Pagans, further south.

He might have been or not have been a priest of the goddess Nerthus. He might even have been the real man behind Gylfe, who looks a bit like a Norwegian "Sverige-vits". I e the indigenous man who received Odin as a god. Remember, if James Cook and Hernán Cortez hadn't been Christians, they would have had no problem starting some cults with themselves as worshipped divinities, had they made the right moves. What if Nerthus was a Nerthus priest involved in doubting the Nerthus religion, partly due to philosophy from South (i e via Romans) tipping him off that human sacrifice was a bad move? And Odin stepped in to fill his void of convictions.

His son and Odin's stepson Frey is also known as Yngwe and as ancestor of the Ynglings. These are at least in the latter generations up to Harald Hairfair and St Olaf not even doubted by contemporary scholars. For my own part, I am as little inclined to doubt them - back to these first generations now - as an Italian to doubt Julius Caesar and Augustus (also divinised) or an US American to doubt George Washington.

5:28 Heimdall son of nine sisters?

If he was around as a person, one can imagine Odin tongue in cheek meaning he is heir to the nine muses who appeared to Hesiod.

I had actually forgotten this aspect, since I was (in my teens) a Norse Mythology geek!

5:58 Heimdall blowing his horn obviously owes something to St Michael doing so on Judgement Day - is that already in Daniel or Henoch?

8:54 My hobbyhorse : if Thorr was a Hebrew and repented of the charade, could he be Zebedee?

James and John are certainly saints who will "survive" = be counted among the "living" = after Judgement Day. And they were called for some reason "boanerges, that is sons of Thunder" ...

This has of course nothing to do with serious scholarship in myth studies, but is strictly interdisciplinary with theology.

[At 8:54 Jackson Crawford had been speaking about Thor's sons Modi and Magni who "will survive Ragnarok".]

Also a video commented on
The Poetic Edda and Snorri's Prose Edda
Jackson Crawford

3:20 Trojan ancestry was very likely to be invented if absent in his time.

I differ from the idea of euhemerisation. While Pagans considered Aesir as gods, not as men, for some of them (for some of the gods, but by all of the Pagans) they were gods like Krishna and Romulus who had once appeared as men.

There was a time when Odin and Niorth were the obvious rulers in a part of Sweden, a little later when Niorth seems to have left and Odin ruled with his and Niorth's sons Thor and Frey, and later still, only Frey was left, he founded Uppsala and is also known as Yngve. How do we know this? Because Frey's descendants (via non-divinised Fjolner as immediate successor) are a dynasty reaching all the way up to St Olaf (via Harald Hairfair, where I suppose Ynglinga saga ends).

Obviously, if Nerthus was still worshipped in their time, Niorth can have been called Nerthus, and it would have sounded as "Demetrios" along the goddess "Demeter". I suppose he was a collaborator with immigrant scams Aesir and was "revealed" as "divine" by them.

9:11 I believe that either Thrymskvitha (what is IE cognate of verb qväda, qvida, noun qväde/qvida?) was composed when one pronounced Vreithr - or was borrowing the phrase from an earlier poem, as a set phrase.

We don't know if Homer pronounced digamma, he could have borrowed set phrases from earlier poetry. I mean where digamma makes an extra consonant making position or preventing elision.

Which brings me to the question : what if Havamal could be transposed to 100 C BC Proto-Nordic, would it be metric? Obviously, as more syllables were pronounced, the metre would be other if metric, but could one trace a stanza back to a metric reconstruction?

100 C BC - bad attention for "c. 100 BC" or 1:st C. BC, obviously!

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