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The Problem of Religious Specialists and Cult Performers in Ancient Scandinavia
University of Gävle, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ämnesavdelningen för religionsvetenskap.
2003 (English)In: Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft, ISSN 0943-8610, E-ISSN 2194-508X, Vol. 2003/1, p. 107-131Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study deals with the problem of cult leaders in early Scandinavia (400-1100), particular in the eastern area. In previous debate two lines of interpretation may be discerned, represented by scholars from different fields of research. Philologists often state that ancient Scandinavians had "priests", i. e. an exclusive, specialised religious office. Historians of religions argue that such office lacked. The perspective offered in this article is interdisciplinary and can be seen as a third proposal, between the two wings of debate. First it is argued that the term "priest" is not appropriate as a cross-cultural concept, since it is strongly influenced by Christian and western thinking. When examining traditional societies, such as ancient Scandinavia, more neutral analytic categories should be applied, e. g. "cult performer", "religious specialist" and "cult leader". The different types of cult leaders and their indigenous designations documented in the sources referring to ancient (eastern) Scandinavia are presented. Their function in society is analysed in different types of sources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 2003/1, p. 107-131
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-8250OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-8250DiVA, id: diva2:387945
Available from: 2011-01-16 Created: 2011-01-16 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved

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Sundqvist, Olof

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • sv-SE
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  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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