Polyphony and Pragmatism in Scandinavian Spells c. 1300-1600

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The essay deals with magic spells, charms and rituals in Scandinavia during the later Middle Ages and early modern period, that is, approximately 1300–1600, especially the relations between Christian and non-Christian elements. The essay takes its starting point in the Norwegian Vinje book from the 1480s which is the first extensive collection of spells in Scandinavia, preserved from the Middle Ages. This unique collection is introduced for the first time in an international context. The borders between religion and magic, religion and natural science, Christian and non-Christian elements, were fluctuating during the later Middle Ages. The spells were used in a functional way, no matter who the practitioners were. Ordinary people simply searched for a solution to their problems. Origin and content of the spells were of lesser importance. People were pragmatic in their choice: what did work and what did not.
Translated title of the contributionPolyfoni og pragmatisme i skandinaviske magiske formler ca. 1300-1600
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContesting Ortodoxy in Medieval and Early Modern Europe : Heresy, Magic and Witchcraft
EditorsLouise Nyholm Kallestrup, Raisa Maria Toivo
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-32384-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-32385-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
SeriesPalgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic


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