Monday, December 12, 2016

Why did Snorri pick those myths?

During last night's Asatru 101 class, which was covering much of the Yule information I've been presenting here over the last few weeks, one of the attendees asked a very insightful question in regards to my connecting the myth of Thor's goats with the celebration of Krampusnacht.

I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like "Do you think Snorri wrote that down in order to explain to his audience why people did that celebration the way they did?"

I think it's a spiffy question, and certainly deserves a lot more study. I know that Gylfaginning, where the myth originates, covers a lot of ground, but I'd love to go through it, itemize the various myths contained therein, and see if there isn't a pattern between the specific myths he chose, and various things that were going around him in the 13th century that he felt needed explaining.

Obviously, some of the myths he chose were fundamentals; the creation of the world, the names and natures of the gods, etc. But I wonder if a pattern can't be discerned from the specific myths that he felt were worthy of inclusion in Gylfaginning. After all, Skaldskaparmal was written specifically to explain poetic kennings. Is it so hard to imagine that parts of Gylfaginning were written specifically to explain folk celebrations, the original reasons for which were largely forgotten by his time?

More to come. I suspect this may be a fruitful line of inquiry.

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