GHOSTS, TROLLS, AND WITCHCRAFT A SABBATICAL LECTURE about religious change in Iceland by Prof. Margaret Cormack of the Department of Religious Studies. Beattey 220, 10/31, 6:30 PM
What do you do when, as the result of an administrative decision, a whole series of beings on whom you had relied for aid against the forces of evil (trolls, demons, draugar and magicians) are no longer accessible – in fact, no longer exist? This was the situation that faced Europeans in general, and Icelanders in particular, at the time of the Protestant Reformation. In Iceland, the trolls and draugar who inhabited the waste spaces and were active in the long winter nights still had to be dealt with; furthermore, there was a new emphasis on the possible harm caused by human magicians. A first-person account of the sufferings of a seventeenth-century Icelandic clergyman illustrates the failure of orthodox Lutheran theology to address these issues, while nineteenth-century folklore suggests practical ways of dealing with hostile supernatural beings. Bring your students to this Halloween kick-off!