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Íslendingabók

Nicolas Jaramillo

The reputation and importance of Ari hinn fróði in the development of the Icelandic literary
corpus is evident and widely recognized, but nevertheless, the importance of Íslendingabók in
the development of the Íslendingasǫgur has not been investigated in detail.
Showing the importance of the narrative structure and fundamental argumentation of Ari
Þorgilsson in the genesis of an Icelandic historical ethos that allowed Icelanders to recover,
reshape and make use of their pagan ancestry is important to understand the close relation that
Icelanders kept with their past in the centuries following the conversion, as can be evidenced
by the mentions of Ari in the Íslendigasögur, where he is quoted as an authority.
The structure of Íslendingabók have similarities to Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis
Anglorum, and follows Augustine of Hippo in the conception of Teleology, but also is very
original in how historical argumentation is built. This historical argumentation was not built in
isolation by Ari Þorgilsson, but was part of an intellectual movement in Iceland that elaborated
histories, but nevertheless, all the evidence points to the fact that Ari was the first to ever write
in vernacular Icelandic.
Thus, it will be investigated how Íslendingabók represents an emerging ethos in Icelandic
scholar tradition, that re-appropriates the past as praise-worthy but looks forward to a Christian
future. This ethos was later developed in the Íslendingasögur in a heroic ethics and owes much
to both how Christianity was understood and how the past was represented among Icelanders:
Ari fróði outlines his history of Iceland, as a Christian narrative. In Ari’s account, Iceland was
first populated by Irish monks, the papar, but they left because they were unwilling to live
among the heathen colonizers that come from Norway.
This narrative, independently of its factuality, allows Ari to build the history of Iceland in a
teleological way, using the available knowledge to him, to show the theological interpretation,
that God is the lord of history, so that the land, initially occupied only by Christian anchorites,
was at the end turned into a Christian land through the conversion.
In this narrative, the hand of the providence allows the Norse heathens to occupy the land for
over one hundred years, so that the land could be finally being everlastingly Christian. Every
chapter builds in that direction, showing how, first the land, was rapidly populated, then
organized under the same law and political development. Then is related how the political
organization allows now Icelanders to organize, through the hand of the providence, their

Question: What is the status of Íslendingabók in the Icelandic corpus? Íslendingabók is the ur-buch of the Icelandic corpus. it is related how Iceland was Christianized and how the true faith grew from a foreign dominion to an indigenous independence with the Icelandic Bishops. a character that relies on the heathen past as a way to progressing in the salvation plan of God. . Finally.calendar in advance for the arrival of Christianity and its strong relation with time-keeping. II Analysis on the roles of literacy and oraliture as mediums to reconstitute memory and identity. (something in those lines. written and oral. III Analysis of the way Ari approaches his sources. thus creating medieval Icelandic identity. especially in regard to the themes highlighted in the Sögur and the ethics conveyed in them. through the Christian narrative of the steps towards the formation of a church in Iceland. Second section/chapter: I Analysis of the themes exposed on Íslendingabók and its ethical substructure. I will discuss mainly why investigating the composition is Íslendingabók is relevant to understand aspects of Icelandic literary tradition in the middle ages. to create a unified narrative. but make it better) Structure: Introduction: I Exposition of the problem of investigation II discussion about sources (Mainly Íslendingabók and its status in the Icelandic Corpus) III discussion about methodology and conceptual framework In the introduction. that relies on an ethos. First section/chapter: I Description of the literacy and orality cultures on Iceland in times of Ari.

III Exposition of Ari’s historical method and concept of history as intellectual and literary starting points for the saga traditions and Icelandic identity. Activity November December January February March April May Reading of literature X X Reading of sources X X X X Delivery first chapter X Delivery second chapter X Delivery Introduction and conclusions X Final delivery X X . Conclusions. II Analysis of the historicity of Icelandic identity as constructed by Ari.