Some, Many, Most

Sex, Gods, and Rock Stars

For the most part, I try to avoid the flames of blogger drama. I accept that I sometimes bring it on myself, or I wander into a snake pit not having heard the warning rattles. But I’ve been thinking about some of the recent dust ups (and if you weren’t aware there were any, stay blessed and don’t ask), and I may have one piece of the puzzle that might lead us to a better way to write about spirituality and religion.

Most people treat the written word as declarative: Because you are reading this, you assume this is a fact. Academia further culls the habit of starting sentences with modifiers like “I feel”, “My opinion is”, “I think”, “In my experience”, etc. The impression is that if someone is reading your paper, they take for granted that the things you state are things you think, feel, or opine about.

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Can Statistics show if the Icelandic Sagas were true?


Can Statistics show if the Icelandic Sagas were true?

The Icelandic sagas of the Norse people are thousand-year-old chronicles of brave deeds and timeless romances, but how true to Viking life were they? Writing in Significance, Pádraig Mac Carron and Ralph Kenna use a statistical network of associations between characters to find out.

While the stories involve a cast of thousands, recurring characters have emerged as the stories passed into historical legend. A set of recurring characters living within the same fictional world is not restricted to ancient stories, such as the Norse or Greek myths, but remains a popular device in modern comic and film franchises.

By exploring the number of ‘too-good-to-be-true’ interactions between protagonists, the researchers built a network of recurring characters which in turn could help reveal if the stories are invented or if they are based on a real society.

“We gathered data for 18…

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Kings, chieftains and public cult in pre-Christian Scandinavia


Kings, chieftains and public cult in pre-Christian Scandinavia

Lasse C. A. Sonne

Early Medieval Europe: Volume 22, Issue 1, pages 53–68, February (2014)

The article addresses the question of the performance of pre-Christian public cult by political leaders in early medieval Scandinavia. This question is traditionally discussed within the larger theoretical frame of sacral kingship in early medieval Scandinavia. In this article, the key contemporary evidence is presented and discussed with the conclusion that the sources do not show political leaders performing pre-Christian public cult. Instead, the evidence shows that political leaders participated in private religious rituals whose performance, however, was not connected with political leadership per se.

Click here to read this article from Early Medieval Europe


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