SCANDINAVIAN 160: Scandinavian Myth and Religion

MWF 3-4 , 166 Barrows. Instructor: TBA

Units: 4

L&S Breadth: Philosophy & Values OR Arts & Literature

This course provides an overview and discussion of the major gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines, narratives and adventures which make up the lore collectively referred to as Scandinavian, or Norse, myth. This lore is chiefly preserved in two collections traditionally called the Poetic (or Elder) Edda and the Prose (or Younger) Edda, together with some mythical sagas. The course considers not only the myths themselves, but how we know what we know about the myths of medieval Scandinavia and nearby lands, and what we can learn about the culture of pre-Christian Scandinavia from the myths their Christian descendants left us. This course will also take a summary look at what we know about cognate traditions elsewhere in Northern Europe, especially England and Germany.

Learning Outcomes
Students will finish the course with a comprehensive knowledge of pre-Christian Scandinavia’s mythology and religion, grounded in an understanding of the value of the primary sources as well as the directions of current research by scholars in the field.


Snorri Sturluson, Edda. Trans. Anthony Faulkes (a vol. in the series Everyman Library). J.M. Dent, 1987 (or later) ISBN 978-0-460-87612-2.

The Poetic Edda. Trans. Jackson Crawford. Hackett Classics, 2015. ISBN 978-1-624-66356-7.

John Lindow, Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford Univ. Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-19-515382-8.

Course Requirements
Quizzes: 15%
Composition: 15%
Exams: 30%
Final Exam: 35%

Prerequisites: None. Taught in English with readings in English