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The Gifts of Ódhinn & his Brothers – Colin Cleary

The Gifts of Ódhinn & his Brothers – Colin Cleary

“What is human nature? This is arguably the most important philosophical question, because philosophy itself is uniquely human, and philosophical “problems” only present themselves to human beings. All the great philosophers have either explicit or implicit answers to this question.

But philosophers were not the first to raise and answer it. The question is first addressed in mythic anthropogenies: accounts of the origin of humanity. Virtually every ancient mythological system that has come down to us includes a story about the creation of human beings. Embedded within these stories are sometimes obvious, sometimes not so obvious commentaries on the human condition. However, these commentaries differ in certain respects, reflecting inherent differences between human sub-groups and how they view themselves.

There are two principal sources for the ancient Northern European (i.e., Germanic) anthropogeny: the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. The Poetic Edda is preserved in theCodex Regius, which is thought to have been written in the latter half of the thirteenth century. The Prose Edda is thought to have been written by Snorri Sturluson in the first half of the same century. The anthropogenies offered in each differ in some interesting ways, but they nonetheless tell a common tale — one that offers us a priceless tool with which we can understand the nature of Western man. The tale told by the Eddas, I shall argue, reveals that nature to be at once glorious and tragic. And so without further ado, let us turn to the tale itself.”

Repost from Counter Currents: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/07/the-gifts-of-odhinn-and-his-brothers/

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