The Teutonic and Scandinavian Religion
Viking Age Online Library Release #1
5. Resemblance of the Scandinavian Mythology to that of Zoroaster.
These are the main points of the Scandinavian mythology, the resemblance of which to that of Zoroaster has been often remarked. Each is a dualism, having its good and evil gods, its worlds of light and darkness, in opposition to each other. Each has behind this dualism a dim presence, a vague monotheism, a supreame God, infinite and eternal. In each the evil powers are for the preen conquered and bound in some subterranean prisons, but are hereafter to break out, to battle with the gods and overcome them, but to be destroyed themselves at the same time. Each system speaks of a great conflagration, in which all things will be destroyed; to be followed by the creation of a new earth, more beautiful than the other, to be the abode of peace and joy. The duty of man in each system is war, through this war in the Avesta is viewed rather as moral conflict, while in the Edda it is taken more grossly for physical struggle. The tone of the theology of Zoroaster is throughout higher and more moral than that of teh Scandinavians. Its doctrine of creation is not a mere development by a dark, unintelligent process, nor, on the other hand, is it a Hindoo or Gnostic system of emanation. It is neither pure materialism on the one hand nor pantheism on the other; but a true doctrine of creation, for an intelligent and moral purpose, by the conscious and free act of the Creator. But in many of the details, again, we find a singular correspondence betwen these two systems. Odin corresponds to Ormazd, Loki to Ahriman, the Æsir to the Amschaspands, the giants of Jötunheim to the Daêvas. So too the ox (Adudab) is the equivalent of the giant Ymir, and the creation of the man and woman, Meshi and Meshiane, is correlated to Ask and Embla. Baldur resembles the Redeemer Sosiosh. The bridge, Bifröst, which goes up to heaven, is the bridge Chinevat, which goes from the top of Albordj to heaven. the dog Sirius (Sura), the watchman who keeps gaurd over the abyss, seems also to correspond to Surtur, the watchman of the luminous world at the South. The earth, in the Avesta, is called Hertha, - the name given by Teutonic languages. In like manner, the German name for heaven, Himmel, is derived from the Sanskrit word "Himmala," the name of the Himmalah Mountains in Central Asia, believed by the ancient inhabitants of Asia to be the residence of their gods.*
* Physical circumstances produced alterations in the mythologies, whose orign was the same. Thus, Loki, the god of fire, belongs to the Æsir, because fire is hostile to frost, but represents the treacherous and evil subterranean fires, which in Iceland destroyed with lava, sand, and boiling water more than was injured by cold.
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