IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 1630: Literary Reception of Non-Christian Identity

Thursday 4 July 2013, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Michael J. Kelly, School of History, University of Leeds / Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Paper 1630-aMarginalising the Gods: Christian Perceptions of the Tuatha Dé Danann in Lebor Gabála Érenn
(Language: English)
Karin E. Olsen, Afdeling Engelse Taal en Cultuur, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Celtic
Paper 1630-bThe Aspects of Christianisation and Heathendom in the German Reception of Jómsvíkinga Saga
(Language: English)
Michael Irlenbusch-Reynard, Abteilung für Skandinavische Sprachen und Literaturen, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 1630-cMaking Religious Identity and the Representation of the East in Boeve de Haumtone
(Language: English)
Hülya Tafli Düzgün, School of English, Erciyes University, Turkey
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Religious Life

Paper -a:
The Tuatha Dé Danann (Tribes of the Goddess Danu) enjoy a mixed reputation in early Irish literature. Whereas in Cath Maige Tuired they reintroduce prosperity with their defeat of the demonic Fomoire and therefore have a predominantly positive role, they are presented less favourably in parts of the pseudo-historical compilation, Lebor Gabála Érenn (Book of the Taking of Ireland). This paper will discuss various critical approaches to the Irish gods in Lebor Gabála, their common Christian bias and their significance in early Irish historiography.

Paper -b:
The fate of the Jomsvikings in their final battle is sealed when their adversary Earl Hákon evokes the help of supernatural forces by offering a human sacrifice. The richness of details describing this pagan act varies significantly between the redactions of the text; that concerns also the fact of Hákon’s quick apostasy from Christianity. My paper is going to examine to what extent the German reception of Jómsvíkinga Saga was aware of this and in what way this influenced in particular the ideological use of the saga until the 1940s, but also its literary retellings.

Paper -c:
it is claimed that Boeve shows the anxieties of the sameness between Saracens and the Christians, and Boeve is an example which explores ‘the possibility of Christians in the East ‘going Saracen”. However, Boeve’s existence in the East and his possibility of ‘going Saracen’ is an oversimplification in relation to his religious identity. Instead, Boeve does not seem to show a matter of anxiety to lose Christian identities in the East, but it seems to illuminate how Christians strengthen their Christian identities in the East. While the chronicles (i.e. Itinerarium Peregrinorum) and the medieval narratives (i.e. Jean de Joinville’s Life of Saint Louis) show the Christian assimilation into Muslim culture or the anxities of conversions, Boeve seems to function in a different way. Even though there were anxieties of the Christian assimilation into Saracen culture and religion, Saracen raised Boeve does not show such assimilation, and instead he strengthens his Christianness instead of being assimilated or losing it.