De Eeuwige Ordening * Aat van Gilst (Aspekt 2004 * isbn 9059113985)
After having read several standard works about Northern religion and mythology in German of 25 to 125 years old, there is finally a brandnew book and in Dutch too. With its 384 pages, it is much thinner than for example the Altgermanische Religionsgeschichtes that I have. Still this new book is big enough to be a reference work. Older books about the subject usually have a part with the history of mythology and the investigation of it, a part with information about spirits, giants, dwarves, etc. and the different gods and goddesses and a part with the (religious) life of the Norsemen. Van Gilst -however- starts with a part about the stone-, bronze and iron-ages to give you an idea of the earlier history. The writer appears to me of a follower of the school of Dumezil, meaning that the Northern tradition is placed in a larger Indo-European context and that parallels are sought with the religion and mythologies of other traditions. Others -however- see in Van Gilst more of a “naturalist” deminicing the gods to natural events or divined human beings. Therefor you will sometimes find other ideas or opinions than in other books or the conclusions of the writer differ from you own. This doesn’t matter, but it may be helpfull to know this in advance. In general I am delighted by this book, the fact that there is finally a recent one about the subject and the fact that it is written in Dutch. The writing is sometimes a bit sloppy, but this doesn’t effect the contence. So, all who can read Dutch are advised to get a copy of “The Eternal Order”.
Extra note, I know people very well informed in the Germanic religion who are not at all happy about this book. I like it myself, but just keep this in the back of your head.