Völuspá
Völuspá
A wise woman

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

Voluspa
    Völuspá
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Völuspá
    "The wisdom of the prophetess", the most famous mythological poem of the "Elder Edda", relates in the form of a vision the beginning and end of all things and tells of the gods and their doom. The vision is attributed to a Völva, or wise woman, to whom is assigned a role similar to that of the Sibyl in early Christian literature. Odhin himself is made to summon the prophetess from her grave that she may give him answer; her prophecy is addressed to all men. She is of the race of giants and her memory goes back tot he days when there was neither earth nor heaven, but only ginnunga gap, "the yawning chasm". Odhin and his brothers created the world, the dwarfs, and finally men. There was a golden age for the gods which is ended when they kill the maid Gullveig and those provoke war with her kin, the giants, who are victorious. A compact is made, but broken by the gods, who thereby incur guilt and invite their doom. This destruction of the gods, the ragnarök, is depicted with graphic power. Dire portents forbode the catastrophe; Balder, the innocent god, is treacherously slain through the machinations of the wicked Loki, civil war and crime reign supreme, the powers of ruin, the giants, the wolf Fenrir, the Midgard-serpent, the sons of Muspel, and the fire-giant Surtr gather for the final onslaught. Odhin, Thor, and Freyr are killed. The sun and the stars fall from heaven, fire destroys the earth which slips into the sea. But a rejuvenated world emerges from the ruins and a new golden age is at hand. Balder returns and in the golden hall Gimle the people dwell in unending happiness. From above comes the all-powerful god of judgment, while Nidhogg, the evil dragon, comes from below and bears away the corpses.
    The elliptic and disjointed manner in which the events are narrated makes it difficult to interpret accurately some of the most important points in connection with this poem, which is one of our chief sources of knowledge concerning the ancient Germanic cosmogony. There has been much difference of opinion among scholars, particularly as regards the question of foreign and Christian influence. It is now conceded that the poem cannot be dated farther back than the middle of the tenth century and that it probably originated in Iceland. If so, Christian influence is not only possible, but certain; for such influence was bound to come in through contact of Icelanders with the Celts and Anglo-Saxons. To assume that the poem presents us the cosmogonic beliefs of the Icelandic people of the tenth century is a grave error. The anonymous author handled the ancient myths with considerable freedom and independence. While the subject-matter is prevailingly pagan, the point of view has assumed a Christian colouring and there are undoubted Christian reminiscences. Such seem to be the portents announcing ragnarök and the rejuvenation of the world. The coming of the great un-named god reflects the victorious advance of the new religion, Christianity, which in the poets time was displacing the old beliefs. The figure of Balder and the importance attached to his death, show the influence of the suffering Christ, the guiltless victim. The "Völuspá" does not present to us Teutonic mythology in its ancient or purely pagan form, but a cosmogony which, while fundamentally pagan, has been subject to much foreign influence. Only the extent of this influence is still a matter of dispute.
    For editions and commentaries consult the article on the EDDA. See also MULLENHOFF, Deutsche Altertumskunde, V (Berlin, 1870-1900), 1 sq.; HOFFORY, Eddastudien (Berlin, 1889), 17 sq., 73 sq., 119 sq.; HEUSLER, Völuspá, Die Weissagung der Scherin (Berlin, 1887); BANG, Völuspáa og de Sibylinske Orakler (Christiania, 1879); MEYER, Völuspá (Berlin, 1889); IDEM, Die eddische Kosmogonie (Freiburg, 1891); DETTER, Die Völuspá (Vienna, 1899), with comments and explanatory remarks. Consult also KOGK in Grundriss der germanischen Philologie, II, 579-82.
    ARTHUR F.J. REMY
    Transcribed by Michael T. Barrett

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


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  • Völuspá — ( Prophecy of the Völva ) is the first and best known poem of the Poetic Edda. It tells the story of the creation of the world and its coming end related by a völva addressing Odin. It is one of the most important primary sources for the study of …   Wikipedia

  • Voluspa — Völuspá La Vølva (prophète) sur un timbre des Îles Féroé La Völuspá « prédiction de la voyante » ou « dit de la voyante » (<*völv s spá) est un poème cosmogonique et eschatologique de la mythologie scandinave, qui fait… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Voluspå — Völuspá La Vølva (prophète) sur un timbre des Îles Féroé La Völuspá « prédiction de la voyante » ou « dit de la voyante » (<*völv s spá) est un poème cosmogonique et eschatologique de la mythologie scandinave, qui fait… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Völuspa — Völuspá La Vølva (prophète) sur un timbre des Îles Féroé La Völuspá « prédiction de la voyante » ou « dit de la voyante » (<*völv s spá) est un poème cosmogonique et eschatologique de la mythologie scandinave, qui fait… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Vøluspá — Völuspá La Vølva (prophète) sur un timbre des Îles Féroé La Völuspá « prédiction de la voyante » ou « dit de la voyante » (<*völv s spá) est un poème cosmogonique et eschatologique de la mythologie scandinave, qui fait… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Völuspá —   [v ], Eingangslied der Lieder Edda, das literarisch wohl herausragendste eddische Götterlied, überliefert in 62 (Codex Regius) beziehungsweise 66 Strophen (der Schluss ist verloren), das in anspielungsreichen und oft schwer zu entschlüsselnden… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Völuspa — /vol u spaˈ or vœlˈoo spa/ noun 1. One of the poems of the Elder Edda 2. (without cap) a sibyl or prophetess (a wrong use, found in Scott s Pirate) ORIGIN: ON Völuspā the song of the sibyl, from völva a wise woman …   Useful english dictionary

  • Völuspa — (Vauluspa), altnordisches Gedicht, 1) die größere V., s.u. Ebda I. C) a). 2) V. hinn skamma, die kleinere od. kürzere V., s. ebd. I. A) m) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Voluspa — Voluspa, s. Edda, S. 363 …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Völuspá — (»Weissagung der Völva«), das wichtigste der Eddalieder, enthält im 1. Teile eine Darstellung vom Ursprung und der Einrichtung der Welt, im 2. die Weissagung vom Untergang und der Erneuerung der Welt nach spätheidn. Vorstellung der alten Isländer …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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