I've often read that there are Christian influences in the Prose Edda:

Snorri’s Edda was later nicknamed the 'Younger Edda' because much of it derives from older sources. What those sources were is a matter of speculation. Some researchers believe Snorri based it largely on folkloric oral traditions that he may have heard, while others think he used an elder written Edda. However, experts agree that he did add many of his own details. As a result, he gives readers a more elaborate version of Norse mythology that at times reveals his Christian influence.


The euhemerized account of the origins of the Norse pantheon in the prologue is one example:

But although the prologue has a primarily narrative function, and the author does not obtrude his own personality into it, he does appear to be trying in it to define his attitude to the mythology he is presenting and to clarify the relationship of the religion implied by the mythological stories in Gylfaginning to his own beliefs and to the Christian culture within which he was writing. Undoubtedly one of his motives for including the prologue, and maybe the chief reason for the use of the framing device itself, was to avoid the criticism that his stories were dangerous to orthodoxy.

Faulkes, Anthony (1985). "Pagan Sympathy: Attitudes to Heathendom in the Prologue to Snorra Edda" as collected in Glendinning, R. J. Bessason, Heraldur (Editors). Edda: a Collection of Essays. University of Manitoba Press. ISBN 0-88755-616-7

But how about the stories themselves? Are there, for example, any notable differences between the stories that appear both in the Prose and the Poetic Edda that reveal Christian influences?

1 Answer 1


The short answer is it's hard to know. I'd personally think that the end of Ragnarok, where one man and one woman survive and repopulate the earth, and Heimdall (called The White God in Gylfaginning), becomes the supreme god, mostly because that seems awfully familiar and Christian. Loki's role? Seems rather demonic given he usually acts as a balancer, chaos-bringer and trickster. iirc Norse Mythology is cyclical, to an extent- Tyr was head of the pantheon before Odin, and Odin would have fallen and been replaced as Tyr had been. But then Christianity happened, so... Ragnarok. It's also interesting to note we only get the Ragnarok legend from one place- Iceland. Which was Christianized first of all the places 'Norse' mythology had a foothold.

I realize it's not a great source, but I like the way this tumblr post sums it up. There's a link to learn more there via a Youtube channel at the bottom.

  • 3
    How is "one man and one woman survive and repopulate the earth" a Christian influence? Genesis has Noah, his wife, their sons and their wives all surviving the flood. By contrast, Ovid has two people surviving the flood to repopulate the earth. This doesn't seem Christian at all to me
    – b a
    Sep 19, 2019 at 14:01
  • Lots of dubious or downright false claims here. Iceland definitely not the first area to be christianized in the Norse world. Heimdall does not become the supreme god after Ragnarok, in fact he dies there fighting against Loki. Loki's role fits perfectly with other Indo-European parallels. There are traces of cyclical time in Norse mythology, but they have nothing to do with who is the head of the pantheon. Also, there's no evidence that Tyr used to be the head. Dec 17, 2021 at 17:12

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