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  • 1.
    af Edholm, Klas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Människooffer i fornnordisk religion: En diskussion utifrån arkeologiskt material och källtexter2016In: Chaos: skandinavisk tidsskrift for religionshistoriske studier, ISSN 0108-4453, E-ISSN 1901-9106, no 65, p. 125-148Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The discussion of ritual killing and sacrifice of humans in Old Norse religion has a long tradition. In the more text oriented discipline of history of religions, the opinion has sometimes been very critical to the theories that human sacrifices were performed, while the discipline of archaeology has been more inclined to interpret some finds as the traces of sacrifice, although sometimes due to a too wide definition of the word ‘sacrifice’. Since the two disciplines use different sources, the research needs an analysis of the religious phenomenon with a consideration of the archaeological material, and with respect to how the two disciplines may contribute to the analysis. The written sources mention and describe human sacrifices, but the question of their authenticity is problematic. Some new archaeological surveys have revealed finds that has raised the question of human sacrifices during Late Iron Age in the northern countries anew. The new archaeological material may provide an altered interpretation of the written texts. But then we need to discuss the definition of ‘human sacrifice’ from the perspectives of both disciplines.

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  • 2.
    af Edholm, Klas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Tyr: En vetenskapshistorisk och komparativ studie av föreställningar och gestaltningar kopplade till den fornnordiske guden Tyr2014Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis has two aims. One is a discussion of the history of the study of Old Norse religion and related aspects, centered on how general tendencies within the area of research have affected the interpretations of the god *Tīwaz/Tyr. Thereby, it treats a selection of influential trends of interpretation, and a selection of prominent scholars of the field. The second aim is an empirical and comparative analysis of the Old Norse source material and, to some degree, the continental Germanic, the Baltic, and the other Indo-European material. Tyr has been interpreted according to trends of research in the field; the mythological character has been used as a projection screen of the theories. Already from the beginning, Tyr was interpreted as a sky god; connected to this was the conception of an original high god. The interpretations of Tyr as a sun god, sky god, and/or law god are close related to this high god conception. These interpretations of the god Tyr has built their arguments upon the etymological connection to Indo-European words for ‘heaven, celestial’ and ‘god’, but they have not taken enough consideration of the Old Norse sources. Georges Dumézil interpreted Tyr, according to his système tripartite, as a law god. This understanding of the god has been widely adopted, but cannot be confirmed; the Old Norse material only speaks of Tyr as a war god. The comparative Indo-European etymological material indicates that his function as sky god is archaic, while the martial traits shared with the continental Germanic and Celtic counterparts prove that this characteristic must have evolved early. Tyr (or rather his predecessor *Tīwaz) lost his celestial traits and became an unmitigated war god, and as such we perceive him in the Old Norse religion. 

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  • 3.
    af Edholm, Kristoffer
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Ascetic poetry in ancient India: The ideal renouncer and the path to liberation, according to independent verses in early Brahmanic, Buddhist, and Jaina literature2024Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The dissertation identifies the ideal renouncer and the path to liberation on the basis of nearly 3500 “independent verses”, i.e. one-strophe stanzas (gāthās, ślokas), in early Brahmanic, Buddhist, and Jaina literature, including Mahābhārata, Suttanipāta, Dhammapada, Saṃyuttanikāya, Uttarajjhayaṇa, Sūyagaḍa, Isibhāsiyāiṃ, and other texts. It is argued that this genre of poetry is important for our knowledge about the ascetic milieu in Northern India around the 5th century BCE.

    Verses from the three traditions are compared with one another, the verse-material is compared with selected texts belonging to other genres, and the literature is placed in its historical context. Attention is given to vocabulary, formulas, similes, and recurrent themes. Hypotheses about the early history of the renouncer-traditions are tested against the verse-material.

    Part 1 discusses aim, theory, method, terminology, previous studies, earliness and authenticity of the verses, origins and characteristics of the genre, and relevant texts. Part 2 treats the debated origins of emancipatory askesis, brāhmaṇa and śramaṇa, authority and founder-figures, and female ascetics. Part 3 proceeds along an ideal path to liberation: from reasons for giving up mundane pursuits, to going forth into homelessness, practise of austerity, itinerancy, solitude, seclusion, mendicancy, purification, non-harm, restraint, heroic overcoming of obstacles, and meditation, to attainment of gnosis and awakening, and finally liberation from saṃsāra. Part 4 is the conclusion. The Appendices contain the entire verse-material, as well as defining sentences in final pādas, shared whole verses, and key-terms.

    It is concluded that in the three verse-corpora one can identify a shared outlook, which is world-rejecting, autocentric, and telos-oriented, and a shared renouncer-ideal, which is male, heroic, and austere. The same outlook and ideal are found in narrative accounts about Śākyamuni, Mahāvīra, and others who attain the highest goal. Differences between the three traditions concern mainly the use of certain terms, formulas, and similes, less so doctrine, but the differences are not reducible to a divide between Brahmanic and Buddhist/Jaina.

    Generally speaking, each tradition has composed its own verses that promote a renouncer-ideal and a path to liberation, rather than having borrowed verses from another tradition or from a common source. The many similarities between the three traditions are primarily due to their common origin in the ascetic milieu, in which the one-strophe gāthā was an established literary medium for making authoritative statements.

    It is argued that the shared outlook and ideal were established before the introduction of two-step ordination, nuns’ order, fourfold community, devotion to an exalted founder-figure, and the building of monasteries. The verse-content points to a rural environment and a stratified society rooted in late Vedic culture. The renunciant movement of the 5th century BCE can be seen as the culmination of a centuries-old ascetic tradition in ancient India.

     

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  • 4.
    af Edholm, Kristoffer
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Crossing the River of Battle: A Heroic Motif in Ancient Indian and Old Norse Texts2021In: Journal of Indo-European Studies, ISSN 0092-2323, Vol. 49, no 1-2, p. 231-250Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article looks at the motif of "the river of battle" - the battlefield as a river/stream/sea, which the warrior attempts to cross - in the ancient Indian Mahābhārata and Old Norse texts. It is argued that this motif should be seen in context of three shared ideas, which we also find in ancient Hellenic texts: 1) Poetic similes of battle/army as river/sea or waves. 2) Mythical-cosmological conceptions of rivers as boundary-markers between the worlds of the living and the dead. 3) Glorification of heroism and granting of special status to warriors in the afterlife. Indian texts typically use terms derived from the verbal root √TṜ (Proto-Indo-European √*terh2), which has the double meaning of 'to cross over' and 'to overcome'. Indian ascetic texts apply similar heroic imagery and terminology to the renouncer who crosses over the saṃsāric river/sea. In absence of lexical cognates, similarities in ancient Indian and Old Norse text-passages can be explained by a shared warrior-ideology.

  • 5.
    af Edholm, Kristoffer
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Rajyasri: Royal Splendour in the Vedas and the Epics2014Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis analyses the late-Vedic goddess Śrī and her non-personified precedent śrī ‘splendour, glory, excellence, fortune’. Śrī has not before been studied in the light of the Avestan royal splendour, xᵛarənah, and is often interpreted one-sidedly as a pre-Aryan goddess of prosperity. In contrast, this thesis locates the genealogy of Śrī’s characteristics in the Vedic goddess of dawn. The meaning of light in Vedic poetic and sacrificial terminology is highlighted, especially in the relation between royal patron and priest-poet. Śrī’s relation to terms like varcas and tejas, the “shining fame” of the hero, and epic descriptions of blazing warriors, are discussed. The nimbus in early Indian iconography is compared to descriptions of royal splendour in the texts. A subsistent theme in epics, myths and Vedic rituals is identified: the splendour won, lost and recovered by the king. This paradigm is showed to be dependent on the truthfulness, sacrificial status and asceticism of the king. A new understanding of central events in the royal consecration ritual, in the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata are thereby offered. It is argued that a continuous and richly varied concept of royal splendour can be identified, from the Ṛgveda to the great epics, and that it is of considerable importance in the ancient Indian rulership ideology.

    Key words:  Royal splendour, śrī, goddess Śrī, Avestan xᵛarənah, tejas, varcas, svayaṃvara, ascetic, legitimation of power, fire, sun, dawn, Indra, Viṣṇu, rājasūya, king and priest-poet, Vedic ritual, Vedas, Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa, Indo-European.

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  • 6.
    af Edholm, Kristoffer
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Recent Studies on the Ancient Indian Vrātya2017In: Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies, E-ISSN 1084-7561, Vol. 24, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The ”vrātya problem” has been discussed for more than a century. It is not clear who the vrātya is, as some Vedic passages describe him in a cryptic manner. That the vrātya continues to engage scholars is demonstrated by two recent publications, both with T. Pontillo as one of the editors: The Volatile World of Sovereignty: The Vrātya Problem and Kingship in South Asia (2015), and Vrātya Culture in Vedic Sources (2016). In this review article I look at the two volumes in context of previous reseach and discuss a handful of the contributions. I also refer to a number of vrātya-related articles published elsewhere.

  • 7.
    af Edholm, Kristoffer
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Rudra Mahāvīra: Vrātya-Elements in the Vedic Pravargya-Complex2021In: Studia Orientalia Electronica, E-ISSN 2323-5209, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 1-30Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study reviews the arguments of previous publications, and adds new ones, for establishing connections between the Vedic pravargya-complex (the rituals, stanzas, and mythology of the pravargya), the vrātya, and the deity Rudra. These connections include Rudra as Mahāvīra (the epithet given to a deity and a vessel in the pravargya), the sattra setting of the pravargya's paradigm-myth, the motif of the unstrung bow, the theme of exclusion, and the divinisation of man as a goal of the ritual. It is argued that the superhuman status attributed to Mahāvīra is comparable with that of characters celebrated in the Ṛgveda and Atharvaveda, such as the ekavrātya, brahmacārin, and keśin. The affinity between these figures may be derived from a common ideology, with the roots of some of them to be sought in the Indo-European warrior-society and male rites de passage. 

  • 8.
    af Edholm, Kristoffer
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    'Wander Alone Like the Rhinoceros!': The Solitary, Itinerant Renouncer in Ancient Indian Gāthā-Poetry2021In: Songs on the Road: Wandering Religious Poets in India, Tibet, and Japan / [ed] Stefan Larsson, Kristoffer af Edholm, Stockholm: Stockholm University Press, 2021, p. 35-66Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The ancient Indian gāthā - a proverbial, succinct type of single-stanza poetry, often collected in thematic sets - became a favoured form of expression among groups of ascetics from the middle to the end of the first millennium BCE. This poetry - contrasting with the magico-ritual chant or mantra of the priest and the artistic poem of the aesthete - functions as (self-)instruction for the ascetic/renouncer. Examples include gāthās that exhort him to be as untiring as the Sun in its daily course, or to "wander alone like the rhinoceros". This chapter delineates the figure of the solitary, wandering renouncer in a selection of Brahmanic, Jaina, and Buddhist ascetic gāthā-verses from that period. Particular attention is given to the use of solar and heroic imagery for describing the ideal renouncer, and how this relates to the real-life conditions of wandering renouncers.

  • 9.
    af Edholm, Kristoffer
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Śrī-Lakṣmī and Religious Ruler Ideology in the Purāṇic Amṛtamanthana Myth2019In: Zeitschrift für Indologie und Südasienstudien, ISSN 2193-9144, Vol. 36, p. 60-82Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The churning of the ocean for nectar (amṛtamanthana) is one of the most well-known Hindu myths. This article analyses the role of the devī Śrī-Lakṣmī, symbolic of royal splendor and fortune, in Purāṇic versions of the myth. It is shown that the notion that Śrī-Lakṣmī was born from the churned ocean, and that she was united with Viṣṇu immediately after, developed gradually over time. Particular attention is given to versions of the myth in which Śrī-Lakṣmī is presented as the bride in a svayaṃvara (kṣatriya maiden’s self-choice of husband), at which she chooses Viṣṇu. It is argued that this should be seen in the context of ancient Indian religious ruler ideology, according to which Śrī-Lakṣmī attaches herself to the most worthy male. In most versions of the myth Indra and Viṣṇu represent contrasting types of sovereignty: Viṣṇu the constant and detached ruler; Indra the temporary ruler, who loses his śrī due to bad behavior and then regains it through the process and consequences of amṛtamanthana. The inferiority of Indra is seen in his dependence on Viṣṇu’s assistance and in the unanimous notion that it is Viṣṇu who unites with Śrī-Lakṣmī.

  • 10.
    af Klint, Johan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    The Barabudur: A Synopsis of Buddhism2021Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this PhD-dissertation is – on the one hand – to present in a critical and comprehensive manner an update of recent findings among Western scholars regarding the Barabudur monument and its illustrations of various Buddhist traditions, and – on the other hand – to throw some light on some of the outstanding issues regarding this monument. Focus has been laid on the religious aspects with a view of ascertaining which forms of Buddhism are most prominently represented on the monument.

    The Barabudur is the largest Buddhist monument in the world – being built on Central Java during the late eighth century CE. The Barabudur is constructed in four successively higher galleries with an area on top with three round terraces. The terraces encompass 72 latticed stupas, each containing Buddha Vairocana in dharmacakramudra large stupa is in the center. Each side of the squarely built monument is at the ground level around 123 meters. The height of the monument is believed to originally have been 41.81 meters. The walls and the balustrades of the galleries encompass 1,460 bas-reliefs representing various sutras, such as the Mahakarmavibhanga Sutra, the Lalitavistara, the Gandavyuha Sutra, the Dasabhumika Sutra and the Bhadracari. In addition, the Barabudur seems also to have been influenced by ideas from the ensuing Indonesian esoteric text the Sang Hyang Kamahayanikan, as well as by the esoteric Buddhist texts of the Mahavairocana Sutra, the Tattvasamgraha and the Prajnaparamita in 150 verses. The Barabudur thus presents aspects from the main three Buddhist traditions – the Sravakayana, the Mahayana and an early esoteric form of the Vajrayana.

    The main problem in studying the Barabudur is the lack of historical information. No dedicatory inscription has yet been found. The Barabudur was built during the Sailendra interregnum on Java. Their contacts with the Abhayagirivihara on Sri Lanka and with the Pala dynasty in Bengal, indicate that some early form of Vajrayana Buddhism existed on Java during the eighth century CE. In addition, some concepts from the esoteric Buddhism developed by the Three Monks in China during this period could well also have been introduced on Java.

    The Barabudur, together with the Candi Mendut, are supposed to represent the Twin-mandala – thus representing the “non-duality” between “Truth” and “Wisdom”. Dharmakaya Mahavairocana is in the center of both these Twin-mandalas symbolizing the amalavijnana.

    In conclusion, the Barabudur may be regarded as a holy monument, where the Buddha is present, and where the devotee may be taught directly by the Buddha.

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  • 11. Amirav, Hagit
    et al.
    Grypeou, EmmanouelaStockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.Stroumsa, Guy G.
    Apocalypticism and eschatology in late Antiquity: encounters in the Abrahamic religions, 6th-8th centuries2017Conference proceedings (editor) (Refereed)
  • 12.
    Andersson, Jan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Religiösa värderingar hos muslimska SFI-elever2016Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [sv]

    Den som säger sig tillhöra en viss religion kan i praktiken vara mer eller mindre troende, eller inte troende alls. Det kan handla om att man firar vissa högtider men utan att särskilt bry sig om deras religiösa innebörd, eller att man ibland deltar i gudstjänster och ber någon gång i månaden, eller ett liv iständig hågkomst av Guds närvaro. Spektrat av religiositet för en person kan vara allt från att religionen endast har kulturell betydelse till att man lever sitt liv helt enligt dess påbud, såväl som att man anser att religion är en privatsak till att man arbetar för att samhället skall formas enligt religionen.

    Vad gäller islam i Sverige har de muslimska samfundens organisation och aktiviteter beskrivits i ganska stor detalj. Däremot finns inte mycket kunskap om de värderingar de står för. Och vad gäller värderingar och övertygelser hos muslimer i allmänhet finns nästan ingenting skrivet. Denna uppsatstar fasta på den kunskapsbristen.

    Genom en enkätbaserad attitydundersökning av explorativ karaktär med muslimska SFI-elever somrespondenter har följande frågor undersökts:

    - Är fundamentalism ett utbrett fenomen inom denna grupp?

    - I hur stor utsträckning anser man att shari’a bör gälla för muslimer i Sverige och vad är attityden tilldemokrati?

    - Hur ser relationen mellan religion och moral ut och hur uppfattas det svenska samhället i dettasammanhang?

    Undersökningens resultat är överlag i samstämmighet med tidigare undersökningar med liknande teman. Respondenterna har en överväldigande positiv attityd till demokrati och en stor del anser också att yttrandefrihet är bra. Samtidigt tycks många mena att islam är undantaget yttrandefriheten ochatt islamiska regler är viktigare än svensk lag. Stödet för shari’a är också påtagligt. En stor majoritet menar att gudstro är nödvändig för att vara en moralisk person och anser samtidigt att Sverige är ett moraliskt land.

    På grund av urvalsmetoden och den stora andel som avstått från att delta i undersökningen kan resultatet inte generaliseras utanför gruppen av respondenter.

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  • 13.
    Andersson, Roger
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Scandinavian Languages.
    Birgittahandskrifter och medeltida skriftmiljöer2018In: Arkiv för nordisk filologi, ISSN 0066-7668, Vol. 133, p. 105-130Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Birgittine Manuscripts and Medieval Book Production

    This article is an attempt to identify the scribes of four anonymous and undated manuscripts containing the Old Swedish version of the Revelations of St Birgitta of Sweden: C 61 (Uppsala University Library), A 33 and A 44 (The National Library of Sweden), and Mh 20 (Lund University Library) and by means of textual comparison formulate a hypothesis of their place of origin. It is shown that the youngest of these, C 61, was compiled from exemplars representing different versions of the Old Swedish text and that the editio princeps of the Latin text (Ghotan 1492) was used for comparison. One of the main hands in C 61 and the only hand in A 33 are attested in the Registrum ecclesie lincopensis. The scribe of A 44 and Mh 20 is identified as Lars Finvidsson, canon and notarius publicus in Linköping at the beginning of the fifteenth century. This suggests that these books were produced at a learned and highly literate scribal centre by professional scribes, possibly commissioned for this purpose by the abbey in Vadstena.

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  • 14.
    Andersson, Roger
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Medieval Studies. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Scandinavian Languages. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
    Heliga Birgittas texter på fornsvenska: Birgittas uppenbarelser, Bok 62024Book (Refereed)
  • 15.
    Andersson, Roger
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Medieval Studies.
    Heliga Birgittas texter på fornsvenska i ny utgåva2015In: Signum : katolsk orientering om kyrka, kultur, samhälle, ISSN 0347-0423, no 6, p. 37-41Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 16.
    Andersson, Roger
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Medieval Studies. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
    Sacred Eloquence on Christmas Day at the Universities of Leipzig and Vienna2014In: Swedish students at the University of Leipzig in the Middle Ages: careers, books, and teaching / [ed] Olle Ferm, Sara Risberg, Stockholm: Sällskapet Runica et mediævalia, Centre for Medieval Studies, Stockholm University , 2014, p. 67-91Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 17.
    Andersson, Roger
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Medieval Studies. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
    Sermon Manuscripts of Different Kinds2011In: Medieval Sermon Studies, ISSN 1366-0691, E-ISSN 1749-6276, Vol. 55, p. 31-44Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 18.
    Andersson, Roger
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Medieval Studies. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Scandinavian Languages. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
    Klemettilä, Hannele
    Niskanen, Samu
    Willoughby, James
    Sermons2022In: Routledge Resources Online Medieval StudiesArticle in journal (Refereed)
  • 19.
    Andrén, Anders
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeology.
    Jüdische Friedhöfe im mitteralterlichen Reich, by Susanne Härtel2019In: English Historical Review, ISSN 0013-8266, E-ISSN 1477-4534, Vol. 134, no 570, p. 1270-1271Article, book review (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This book by Susanne Härtel is not a comprehensive survey of all 150 medieval Jewish graveyards in the Holy Roman Empire, although the title may create such expectations in the reader. Instead, it is an in-depth study of the complex relationships between the Jewish minorities and the Christian majorities in five German-speaking cities—Magdeburg, Dortmund, Speyer, Regensburg and Zürich. The investigation is a methodological ‘experiment’, based on five different aspects of the graveyards in these cities, namely their location, spatial demarcation, the dead themselves, the gravestones and the visitors. These aspects are in turn analysed from three phenomenological perspectives: visuality, practice and semantics. Through this grid of fifteen viewpoints, Härtel discusses religious differences and similarities between Jews and Christians, and to what extent the religious categories were more important than other distinctions in medieval urban culture, such as gender, professions and social status. By using cemeteries as a starting point, the author aims to study the everyday encounters between Jews and Christians, instead of the more well-known outbreaks of prosecution and expulsion of Jews from medieval cities.

  • 20. Arentzen, Thomas
    et al.
    Rydell Johnsén, Henrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Westergren, Andreas
    Wisdom on the Move: An Introduction2020In: Wisdom on the Move: Late Antique Traditions in Multicultural Conversation: Essays in Honor of Samuel Rubenson / [ed] Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Thomas Arentzen, Henrik Rydell Johnsén, Andreas Westergren, Leiden: Brill Nijhoff, 2020, p. 1-10Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 21.
    Arvidsson, Stefan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Aryan idols: Indo-European mythology as ideology and science2006Book (Other academic)
  • 22.
    Arvidsson, Stefan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Drudgery dwarf: on the absence of labour in the Nibelungen tradition2006In: Old Norse religion in long-term perspectives: origins, changes, and interactions : an international conference in Lund, Sweden, June 3-7, 2004 / [ed] Anders Andrén, Kristina Jennbert, Catharina Raudvere, Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2006, p. 405-411Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 23.
    Arvidsson, Stefan
    Stockholm University.
    Germania: Noen hovedlinjer i forskningen om fortidens germanere2009In: Jakten på Germania: Fra nordensvermeri til SS-arkeologi / [ed] Jorunn Sem Fure och Terje Emberland, Oslo: Humanist , 2009Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 24.
    Arvidsson, Stefan
    Stockholm University.
    Greed and the nature of evil: Tolkien versus Wagner2010In: Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, E-ISSN 1703-289X, Vol. 22, no 2Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Scholars studying J.R.R. Tolkien have often chosen to ignore the influence of Richard Wagner on Tolkien’s opus. This article starts out with showing how profound this influence was and continues by analysing Tolkien’s and Wagner’s common interest in the Old Norse Mythology of the Vikings. Examining the recently published The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún by Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, the author penetrates and compares the importante themes of greed and evilness in these books and in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. The author takes up for discussion the radically different politic views of the two artists and indicates how this is important for their respective view of power and greed.

  • 25.
    Arvidsson, Stefan
    Stockholm University.
    Moderna myter och revolutionära drömmar: Exemplet Nibelungens ring av Richard Wagner.2009In: Tankar om ursprung: Forntiden och medeltiden i nordisk historieanvändning, Stockholm: Historiska Muséet , 2009, p. 199-222Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 26.
    Arvidsson, Stefan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Myt idag: Tankar om myt, politik och kultur i vår samtid 2012In: Chaos: skandinavisk tidsskrift for religionshistoriske studier, ISSN 0108-4453, E-ISSN 1901-9106, no 53Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The conditions for the creation, distribution and reception of myths have changed drastically during the late modern era. Do myths exist at all in the contemporary, Western societies? If so, where are they and what do we then mean by “myth”? The article is a sketchy overview of different areas where myths might be found, and the author simultaneous tries to discuss relevant definitions of myth. From the conceptualization of myth in the Enlightenment and Romantic era the article moves on to discuss the reception of mythology in New Age spirituality, the invention of Nationalist mythologies and the issue of myths in the products of the Culture industry and commerce. The main focus is on the debatable issue wither or not the liberal, “post-politic” discourse of contemporary Westerns democracies – a discourse often presented as drained of any fantastic rhetoric and only concerned with practical, instrumental decisions – could be said to contain myths.

  • 27.
    Arvidsson, Stefan
    Stockholm University.
    Susannah Heschel, The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany2010In: Journal of Religion in Europe, ISSN 1874-8910, E-ISSN 1874-8929, Vol. 3, p. 183-196Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 28.
    Arvidsson, Stefan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Varför religionsvetenskap? En ämnesintroduktion för nya studenter2012Book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Varför religionsvetenskap? vill vara en kärnfull introduktion till religionsvetenskapen för studenter på högskolor och universitet. Grundläggande begrepp och tumregler presenteras och frågor om religionsvetenskapens nytta och nöje tacklas. Tyngdpunkten ligger på religionsvetenskapens frågeställningar och hur man från den grundläggande undran rör sig över metodval och materialinsamling till teoretiserandets och jämförelsens höjder.

  • 29. Ashbrook Harvey, Susan
    et al.
    Arentzen, ThomasRydell Johnsén, HenrikStockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.Westergren, Andreas
    Wisdom on the Move: Late Antique Traditions in Multicultural Conversation: Essays in Honor of Samuel Rubenson2020Collection (editor) (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Wisdom on the Move explores the complexity and flexibility of wisdom traditions in Late Antiquity and beyond. This book studies how sayings, maxims and expressions of spiritual insight travelled across linguistic and cultural borders, between different religions and milieus, and how this multicultural process reshaped these sayings and anecdotes. Wisdom on the Move takes the reader on a journey through late antique religious traditions, from manuscript fragments and folios via the monastic cradle of Egypt, across linguistic and cultural barriers, through Jewish and Biblical wisdom, monastic sayings, and Muslim interpretations. Particular attention is paid to the monastic Apophthegmata Patrum, arguably the most important genre of wisdom literature in the early Christian world.

  • 30.
    Ask, Julia
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Decoration and Death: The Sringar of Baba Shamshan Nath2019Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
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  • 31.
    Ask, Julia
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    “No Rules Apply to Another Man’s Wife”: Social Reforms of the Devadasi System in South India2014Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
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  • 32.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Aren't We Living in a Disenchanted World?2019In: Hermes Explains: Thirty Questions about Western Esotericism / [ed] Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Peter J. Forshaw, Marco Pasi, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019, p. 13-20Chapter in book (Other academic)
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  • 33.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Aries at Twenty2020In: Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism, ISSN 1567-9896, E-ISSN 1570-0593, Vol. 20, no 2, p. 163-171Article in journal (Other academic)
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  • 34.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Dialectics of Darkness2018In: Inference: International Review of Science, ISSN 2576–4403, Vol. 4, no 2Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 35.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Esotericism and the Scholastic Imagination: The Origins of Esoteric Practice in Christian Kataphatic Spirituality2016In: Correspondences: Online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism, E-ISSN 2053-7158, Vol. 4, p. 3-36Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Scholars agree that the imagination is central to esoteric practice. While the esoteric vis imaginativa is usually attributed to the influx of Neoplatonism in the Italian Renaissance, this article argues that many of its key properties were already in place in medieval scholasticism. Two aspects of the history of the imagination are discussed. First, it is argued that esoteric practice is rooted in a broader kataphatic trend within Christian spirituality that explodes in the popular devotion literature of the later Middle Ages. By looking at the role of Bonaventure’s “cognitive theology” in the popularization of gospel meditations and kataphatic devotional prayer, it is argued that there is a direct link between the scholastic reconsideration of theimaginative faculty and the development of esoteric practices inspired by Christian devotional literature. Secondly, it is argued that the Aristotelian inner sense tradition of the scholastics left a lasting impression on later esoteric conceptualizations of the imaginative faculty. Examples suggesting evidence for both these two claims are discussed. The article proposes to view esoteric practices as an integral part of a broader kataphatic stream in European religious history, separated out by a set of disjunctive strategies rooted in the policing of “orthopraxy” by ecclesiastical authorities.

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  • 36.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Explaining the Esoteric Imagination: Towards a Theory of Kataphatic Practice2017In: Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism, ISSN 1567-9896, E-ISSN 1570-0593, Vol. 17, no 1, p. 17-50Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The imagination is central to esoteric practices, but so far scholars have shown little interest in exploring cognitive theories of how the imagination works. The only exception is Tanya Luhrmann's interpretive drift theory and related research on mental imagery cultivation, which has been used to explain the subjective persuasiveness of modern ritual magic. This article draws on recent work in the neuroscience of perception in order to develop a general theory of kataphatic (that is, imagery based) practice that goes beyond the interpretive drift theory. Mental imagery is intimately linked with perception. Drawing on "predictive coding" theory, the article argues that kataphatic practices exploit the probabilistic, expectation-based way that the brain processes sensory information and creates models (perceptions) of the world. This view throws light on a wide range of features of kataphatic practices, from their contemplative and cognitive aspects, to their social organization and demographic make-up, to their pageantry and material culture. By connecting readily observable features of kataphatic practice to specific neurocognitive mechanisms related to perceptual learning and cognitive processing of mental imagery, the predictive coding paradigm also creates opportunities for combining historical research with experimental approaches in the study of religion. I illustrate how this framework may enrich the study of Western esotericism in particular by applying it to the paradigmatic case of " astral travel" as it has developed from the Golden Dawn tradition of ritual magic, especially in the work of Aleister Crowley.

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  • 37.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Kognitionsvetenskapliga perspektiv2021In: Religionshistoria: En introduktion till teori och metod / [ed] Egil Asprem, Olof Sundqvist, Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2021, p. 121-142Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 38.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Magi2021In: Religionshistoria: En introduktion till teori och metod / [ed] Egil Asprem, Olof Sundqvist, Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2021, p. 319-334Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 39.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Om religionspluralisme, reformasjon, og postsekularitet2016In: Internasjonal Politikk, ISSN 0020-577X, E-ISSN 1891-1757, Vol. 74, no 4Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 40.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    On the Social Organization of Rejected Knowledge: Reassessing the Sociology of the Occult2023In: Esotericism and Deviance / [ed] Manon Hedenborg White; Tim Rudbøg, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2023, p. 21-57Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The idea that esotericism is a form of “rejected knowledge” is back in vogue. This idea was also central to the so-called sociology of the occult of the 1970s, a research program that esotericism scholars have largely dismissed. Through a reassessment of this literature I argue that much of the criticism leveled at it missed the mark, and that mining it for theoretical resources can help us refine the field’s own undertheorized rejected knowledge narrative. In particular, the sociology of the occult offers useful tools for theorizing the historicity, substance, social significance, and social organization of esotericism as rejected knowledge.

  • 41.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Rejected Knowledge Reconsidered: Some Methodological Notes on Esotericism and Marginality2021In: New Approaches to the Study of Esotericism / [ed] Egil Asprem; Julian Strube, Boston; Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2021, p. 127-146Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The notion that esotericism is a form of rejected knowledge has come back in style since the publication of Wouter J. Hanegraaff’s Esotericism and the Academy in 2012. The association of esotericism with heterodoxy, deviance, opposition, and marginalization is itself old news: it has been a standard trope in insider discourses at least since the nineteenth century, and has also featured in earlier scholarly approaches to the field. In its strictest formulation, the new rejected knowledge model differs from these earlier approaches in important ways. Its central claim is that the historiographical category of “esotericism” emerged from heresiological writings in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which for the first time imagined a diverse set of “heterodoxies” that we now associate with the category as “related currents.” However, I will argue that the new rejected knowledge model also comes in an inflated version, in which the distinction between the historiographic concept (“esotericism”) and its subject matter becomes blurred. The strict version represents an important contribution to the conceptual history of “esotericism.” The inflated version, by contrast, introduces a host of problems that range from how groups and individuals are represented, to how we analyze and explain the data, to how esotericism is legitimized as a relevant field of study in the academy.

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    Asprem (2021) Rejected Knowledge Reconsidered
  • 42.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Religionssociologiska perspektiv2021In: Religionshistoria: En introduktion till teori och metod / [ed] Egil Asprem, Olof Sundqvist, Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2021, p. 95-120Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 43.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Ritualer2021In: Religionshistoria: En introduktion till teori och metod / [ed] Egil Asprem, Olof Sundqvist, Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2021, p. 293-308Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 44.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Roma in the Medieval Islamic World: Literacy, Culture, and Migration. By Kristina Richardson2022In: Journal of the American Academy of Religion, ISSN 0002-7189, E-ISSN 1477-4585, article id lfac052Article, book review (Other academic)
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  • 45.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Science as a Commodity: Disenchantment and Conspicuous Consumption2020In: Narratives of Disenchantment and Secularization: Critiquing Max Weber's Idea of Modernity / [ed] Robert A. Yelle, Lorenz Trein, London, New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020, p. 51-70Chapter in book (Refereed)
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  • 46.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    Sekularisering2021In: Religionshistoria: En introduktion till teori och metod / [ed] Egil Asprem, Olof Sundqvist, Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2021, p. 347-360Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 47.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    The gypsylorist as occultist: anti-gypsy stereotypes and the entanglement of esotericism and scholarship in Charles Godfrey Leland's work on 'gypsy magic'2024In: Religion, ISSN 0048-721X, E-ISSN 1096-1151, Vol. 54, no 2, p. 224-251Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Magic and fortune-telling have been standard elements in stereotypes about Europe’s Romani minorities since the fifteenth century. These stereotypes produced two mutually contradictory images of the Roma: That they possess real occult powers, and that they are frauds. Both images were perpetuated by nineteenth-century ‘gypsylorist’ scholarship, which construed ‘the gypsies’ as Europe’s internal Orientals. This article demonstrates that the most influential gypsylorist author on magic, the folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland (1824–1903), sought to harmonize the two images through a new theory of magical efficacy – building on established work in folklore as well as his own life-long engagement with esotericism.

    Leland’s alignment with occultism is a textbook example of the entanglements of esotericism and scholarship in the period. Seeing occultism as a constitutive context for gypsylorist speculation on ‘gypsy magic’ sheds new light on the history of Romani studies and helps explain the perpetuation of anti-gypsy stereotypes in alternative spirituality.

  • 48.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    The Magus of Silicon Valley: Immortality, Apocalypse, and God Making in Ray Kurzweil’s Transhumanism2020In: Mediality on Trial: Testing and Contesting Trance and other Media Techniques / [ed] Ehler Voss, Walter de Gruyter, 2020, p. 397-412Chapter in book (Refereed)
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  • 49.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    What is it like to be Dead? Near-Death Experiences, Christianity, & the Occult2019In: Journal of Contemporary Religion, ISSN 1353-7903, E-ISSN 1469-9419, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 382-384Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 50.
    Asprem, Egil
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    Yiftach Fehige (ed.), Science and Religion: East and West, London: Routledge, 20162019In: Numen, ISSN 0029-5973, E-ISSN 1568-5276, Vol. 66, no 2-3, p. 317-331Article, book review (Other academic)
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