Found this strip to be strangely appropriate with the recent conversation:
ozoneocean [..] wrote:
Cracked is a cracked source. I remember when they said Viking religion was basically a myth because it was all reconstructed from only a single source and nothing else, over a century after Christianity had taken over. (Snorri Sturluson)
Which was basically not even a Wikipedia level of research. It's basically equivalent of a young teen reading a kid's book on the subject and glancing at the appendix.
The reality was that not only were the old ways still very fresh in the minds of many country folk at that time, there was another massively important source in Saxo Grammaticus, as well as the contemporary accounts of Arab traders and Romans, as well as the archaeological evidence.
Still, it was a relatively fair assumption to make. Most of the theological knowledge about the Viking gods comes from the Edda. Without that book, we'd probably be utterly ignorant about the Viking creation myth and most of the minor gods. At very least, it painfully points out how much knowledge about them is lost to us. There are allot of references to gods that are briefly mentioned but never heard of again. An entire pantheon is brought up, the Vanir, who our only reference about is the Aesir/Vanir war, that possibly suggests a merger of two religions at some point in the Viking history.
Snorri did a very necessary job of collecting these orally preserved stories from the last pockets of knowledge about the faith, during its final death throes.
In that regard, I consider the age of the Sagas, when our most famous works of literature were written down to be a moment not unsimilar to when the Grimm brothers collected all those folklores, thus preserving them in print. People who were credited for writing these books were in essence only serving as catalogers, documenting stories passed down and developed by generations of storytellers, rather than authors themselves.
lba [..] wrote:
And PP, since I don't really want to try and get the quotes to work right...
Can't blame you for that one. It can easily turn into a giant pain in the butt. You can't, for example, post images under quotes. For some reason, it causes the entire text from the start of the post to where you placed the picture to disappear.
bravo1102 [..] wrote:
peoples that live in harmony with nature usually don't feel a need to completely redesign the landscape.
Obviously, you've never played Minecraft.