Feb 24, 2020, 4:29 PM
In order to suppress controversy you’re overstating your case. You’re representing sources, because under the defensive protection of the scientific method, we don’t hypothesize without evidence. Meanwhile I think Dumezil and the rest of us are interested in the evolution of european natural religion over time. To claim we can’t use etymology which is about as close to genetic evidence that we come, is rather unscientific, and to claim we can’t apply the same method of analysis to mythology is also. And to claim the popularity of the farmer’s god over the ruling class’ god in a tripartite hierarchical society given the difference in those demographics isn’t scientific either. Every mythos we know of evolved like every political and legal technology and every narrative technology by rules similar to language. Every mythic tradition is subject to the same forensics.
So you’re creating conflict where there isn’t any. It is very hard to argue that Odin didn’t rise to prominence some time between the IE expansion and first testimony (roman). That would mean that european natural religion had a deus ex machina moment and Odin came out of nowhere in contrast to the entire cross civilizational IE pantheon. In the context of all those european mythologies, Odin is a pretty clear rotation into prominence. And Odin is the ‘odd man out’ in european religion. Of the european iranic and indo-iranic branches, each group evolved deities to fulfill the needs of a survival narrative given geographic and cultural competition. Europeans gods are are interesting because conquering (and replacing) early neolithic farmers was easier than the more advanced civilizations of the indus and mesopotamian regions. They were under less adaptive pressure. Yet still we have Odin.
Why? That’s the interesting question. How did he rotate into prominence and why? So to say Odin is the primary germanic god – well of course he is by the thirteenth century record. That doesn’t tell us anything interesting. It doesn’t provide explanatory power. It doesn’t tell us why and where he came from. What change or pressure or advantage caused the germanic branch of the european expansion to rotate a psychopomp into the primary god (all father) to replace sky father? What drove the germanic adaptation (rotation) of a psychopomp into the god of the aristocracy?