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Viking FriendshipThe Social Bond in Iceland and Norway, c. 900D1300$
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Jón Vidar Sigurdsson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501705779

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501705779.001.0001

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Friends of the Gods

Friends of the Gods

(p.86) Chapter 5 Friends of the Gods
Viking Friendship

Jón Viðar Sigurðsson

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Christian thoughts on friendship. Friendship was the most important social tie in the Old Norse society; however, only a fraction of the population, mainly householders and members of the social elite, could establish such a tie. By making it possible for everyone to become God's friend, the Icelandic church broke down the traditional societal framework and made friendship an important theological concept. This openness of God's friendship was not the only area where new Christian notions differed from pre-Christian ones: another novelty was the idea that one should forgive one's enemies and treat them as well as one's friends. However, even though Christian ideas about friendship were different in some respects, the Church could not radically change the old ideas, as they were heavily intertwined with political structures.

Keywords:   Christian thoughts, friendship, Old Norse society, Icelandic church, God's friendship, political structures

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