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Book: Gender and Sacred Textures

Chapter: Old Norse Women’s Use of Sacred Textures in Crisis Situations

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.46460


The purpose of this chapter is to identify Old Norse sacred texts and contribute to insights into the entanglements between Old Norse women’s gender and their production and performance of sacred texts. By broadening the concept of text to include texture, the article proposes a definition that can identify some recorded Old Norse poetic speech acts as sacred textures. Empirically, the article analyses skaldic and eddic poetry composed by Old Norse women as a means to defend themselves and their communities against threats, and it examines how the production of sacred textures affected women’s gender. The article conjoins theoretical reflections by Paul Ricoeur, Émile Durkheim, Rudolf Otto, Judith Butler, Karen Barad, and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, offering a platform for future analyses of sacred textures in other oral religious cultures.

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