Mythinformation

London Review of Books: Gloomy/Cheerful

Norse myths are probably more familiar than classical ones in the modern world, perhaps even more familiar than the Old Testament stories Europeans were once brought up on.

I'm sorry, but that is just utter bollocks.

I say this as one who is probably more well-informed than your average member of the public when it comes to matters Norse. I don't claim to be an expert or anything, but I did used to (and, to some extend still do) have a big thing about so-called Dark Age history, I studied archaeology as one of my subjects at university, and I even took part in an archaeological dig at a supposed Viking settlement in Shetland. So I've picked up a thing or two in my time about Norse mythology.

But to claim that Norse myths might be more familiar than Old Testament ones is pure hogwash. Remember Adam and Eve and that bloody snake? Noah and his infeasible boat? Gideon and the walls of Jericho? Lot's wife? The bloke in the whale? That nutter who wanted to cut the kid in half? Samson and Delilah? David and Goliath? Sodom and Begorrah? The Queen of Sheba? Bathsheba in her bath. God saying to Abraham, 'Kill me a son!'? God being a total bastard to Job? Moses and all those 'Thou shalt not's? All that begetting? The Hittites and the Ammonites? The list goes on…

And on the Norse side of the equation? Ragnarok, Valhalla, the Valkyries, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and that's about it!

Like I said, utter bollocks! Why do otherwise intelligent people come out with nonsense like that?