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Odin: der einäugige Gott und die indogermanischen Männerbünde * Kris Kershaw (2007)

Odin: the one-eyed god and the (indo)germanic Männerbünde

When I ordered this book, I did not know that it is a translation of an English work. I prefer to read a book in the original language, especially in this case, since my English is better than my German. It was soon clear that The One-eyed God: Odin and the (Indo-) Germanic Männerbünde (Journal of Indo-European Studies Monograph No. 36) is an expensive thing to buy. Amazon has it for $ 150,- second hand, while the German translation costs € 20,- new!

I had run into the book on Amazon Germany a few times, but when I saw that it was published by a New Age publisher, I did not immediately buy it. A friend had heard good things about it, so I decided to take my chances. In the first third of the book, Kershaw thrives heavily on Otto Höffler and Mircea Eliade, but this gets better and more and especially more recent investigations are quoted. Kershaw has created a nicely readable and not too large book (300 pages) with a quite comprehensive look to the subject of “Männerbünde”. Of course written about are the Wild Hunt, sacred warriors, rites de passage and initiations (which she sometimes mixes up), wolf- and dog-symbolism, celebrations, werewolves, etc. etc. All is presented scholarly (but I have the idea that Kershaw mostly compiled other people’s ideas), with gigantic footnotes, references and sources. In some subjects I miss information, but at other times Kershaw comes with a nice (new) angle. Kershaw does not really follow the ‘Dumézilian’ structure (but apparently Dumézil is not thought off too highly in academic circles these days), so she sometimes makes comparisons which in my opinion are not possible. A very large part towards the end is about Indian mythology and I fail to see the significance of the subject here and there.

Kershaw’s book might not be the ultimate book about the subject, but as far as I know the only one readily available and a fairly complete one with some nice new theories, so a highly adviced reading for people interested in this subject. Too bad that once more, you will have to read German if you want to study a subject like this.

English version 2000 institute for the study of man, inc. isbn 0941694747 2003
German translation by Baal Müller, arun-verlag, isbn 9783866630192 (second printing 2007)

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