Runes Are Not Magic

written by Nyx Lumiere

A guide for muggles, secretly written by a wizard who wanted to dissuade them from being fascinated about runic practices. ᚠᚥ ᚢ ᚣ ᚦ ᚨ ᚱ ᚲ ᚷ ᚹ ᚺ ᚾ ᛁ ᛃ ᛇ ᛈ ᛊ ᛒ ᛖ ᛗ ᛚ ᛄ ᛞ ᛟ ᛪ ᛬ ᛭ ᛮ ᛯ ᚿ

Last Updated

05/31/21

Chapters

4

Reads

948

Introduction & References

Chapter 1
I intend to investigate the origins of the Futhark writing system and why we believe runic alphabets such as Elder Futhark were made infused with sympathetic magic. I wonder if historical presentism plays a role in how we study ancient runes both in the past and present. This paper is based on four literary sources, two of which are studies written by runologist Tineke Looijenga, a professor at the University of Groningen. My dissertation also draws from two other journals, which contain academic papers written by various runologists.

Runology is encompassed by several methods of study, including palaeography, archaeology, and historical linguistics. As Looijenga suggests, one of the problems plaguing historical linguistics is that much of the data gathered from Germanic literature and mythology was recorded several hundred years after the introduction of runes in Northern Europe (“Runology” 15)

Looijenga presents another peculiar bias historians are prone to when studying artefacts: that which is called "in dubio, pro magia", meaning "if in doubt, it's magic". This approach is criticized by other runologists as well (5). Mees for example, insists that it's imperative to avoid "magical interpretations on the a priori groudns that too much in past runology has been ascribed to magic". (Mees, 221)

Sources:


Flowers, S. “How to Do Things with Runes: A Semiotic Approach to Operative Communication” Runes and Their Secrets: Studies in Runology. Stoklund, M (ed). Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2006. pp. 66-81

Griffiths, A. “Rune-names: The Irish Connection” Runes and Their Secrets: Studies in Runology. Stoklund, M (ed). Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2006. pp. 83-116

Imer, L “Runes and Romans in the North” Furthark: International Journal of Runic Studies 1. Knirk, J (ed); Williams, H (ed). Langaster, 2005. pp. 41-64

Looijenga, Tineke. Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent AD 150-700; Texts & Contexts. Groningen: SSG Uitgeverij, 1997. Print

Looijenga, Tineke. Runes, Runology, and Runologists. Leiden: Brill, 2003

Lüthi, K. “South Germanic runic inscriptions as testimonies of early literacy” Runes and Their Secrets: Studies in Runology. Stoklund, M (ed). Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2006.. pp. 169-182

Mees, B; “Runes in the First Century” Runes and Their Secrets: Studies in Runology.
Stoklund, M (ed).Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2006. pp. 201-231.

Nielsen, M. “He Landed on the Island of the Goths: Haunted by Phantom Inscriptions” .
Furthark: International Journal of Runic Studies 1. Knirk, J (ed); Williams, H (ed). Langaster, 2005. pp. 247-269

Page, R. “Anglo-Saxon Runes: some statistical problems” Runes and Their Secrets: Studies in Runology. Stoklund, M (ed). Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2006. pp. 271-282
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