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Christianity’s Influence On The Baldr Myth

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Norse mythology is full of blood, war, and disgusting lies. The fact that it has possibly been influenced by Jesus, one of the most pro-love teachers of all time, is astonishing. One of the best examples, which proves Christianity had a direct influence on Norse religion, is the story of the death of Baldr. This story which was prominent in Norse culture and religion shows many direct similarities with the story of Christ. However, before looking at the story of Baldr, it will be beneficial if the many ways Christianity affects other cultures are inspected.

Christianity often sheds bits of information and ideas on cultures its been in contact with. This is seen in the story of Baldr, and in many other stories as well. By looking at how common this is for Christianity to do, it will become easier to connect the dots with the Baldr story. For instance, as seen in the new testament, after Jesus is crucified, He comes back three days later. This story would go on to be replicated by many other religions, including that of Greece and Egyptian origins. As stated in the Wikipedia’s article “Comparative Mythology”, “Some scholars have noted similarities between polytheistic stories of ‘Dying gods’ and the Christian story of Jesus of Nazareth.” This excerpt depicts how it is common for Christianity to shed its ideas on other cultures. And by using the idea of comparative mythology, its seen that stories and myths often patchwork off of each other. Christianity is often taken from because of its large popularity, and in some cases to ease people into the religion. Like many other cultures, Norse mythology has been greatly influenced by Christianity, which is evident in the story of Baldr.

The story of Baldr shares many parallels with the story of Christ. The two stories have so many similarities, that it is hard to not agree on Christian influence. The most obvious of these examples being the concept of a second coming. In the story of Baldr, after he dies and goes to the underworld, it says he will only return for Ragnarok (the Norse term for the apocalypse). As found in a translation of the story by Jean Lang, “But when all were fit to receive him, and peace and happiness reigned again on earth and in heaven, Baldr would come back.”(Snorri). This is strikingly similar to the second coming of Christ in revelations, “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” ( Revelation 22:20, NIV). There is no way the evident resemblance of these two passages is from chance. Joseph Harris recognizes this clear stealing and goes on to wonder how many stories Baldr has patchworked from. “It is rather to suggest that Snorri’s account of the death of Baldr is not a straightforward rendition of earlier Norse traditions but instead a careful patchwork narrative elements from different sources.(Harris). The story This obvious coping of the Bible is also evident in the concept of universal sadness at the time of death.

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In both the Baldr myth and Christ’s story, there is overwhelming grief across the whole world. In the Baldr myth, almost every living thing was grief-stricken over his death. Especially Odin, his father, who even went to the underworld to try and save him. In the story of Christ, God puts darkness over the world when Jesus is on the cross. “At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon(Mark 15:33). John Lindow does an excellent job of summarizing this up, “Since it is thought, the Baldr myth cannot have influenced the Christ story, the universal weeping for Baldr must be an indication of the influence of the Christ story on the Baldr myth. (Lindow)”. The reason for the similarities in both the universal weeping and second coming is unclear, but there is evidence to support it was to ease the Norse into Christianity.

With all these similarities in mind, it might be helpful to explore the term “Pagan Christ. Englekins explains the term as, “Essentially, the term denotes attributing Christ-like qualities to a historical or mythological figure, as described in the canonical New Testament texts.(Englekins). In other words, a Pagan Christ is when a religion suits one of their characters to fit that of Jesus. The reason for this is usually, but not always, to help in conversion to Christianity. While trying to find a reason for the Christian influence, Englekins goes on to say, “my hypothesis is that Snorri is indeed attempting to use Baldr to establish a pagan Christ model for his Icelandic Christian audience. (Englekins)” The cause of this is that people like familiarity. The conversion would be easier if they had stories of their own they could relate to the Bible. So in creating a Pagan Christ with the character Baldr, missionaries were making it easier for the Norse to accept Jesus.

Baldr’s story is a prime example of Christian influence, with undeniable similarities, it is easy to see the Christian input on Norse culture. Christianity often leaves footprints in places it’s been, and it’s easy to see those footprints when we compare the cultural stories of one people, to that of the Bible. The Norse story of Baldr is thoroughly littered with these footprints, which we see in its correspondence to the Gospels. These similarities point directly to Christian influence, so much so that Baldr becomes a perfect example of a Pagan Christ.

Works Cited

  1. Snorri. The death of Baldr, translated by LANG, JEAN. BOOK OF MYTHS (CLASSIC REPRINT). FORGOTTEN Books, 2015.
  2. Englekins, Jesse “Baldr and Christ: A Comparative Survey of Christ-like Figures.”, 30 June 2018,
  3. Harris, Joseph. ‘‘Myth to Live By’ in Sonatorrek.’ Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism, edited by Lawrence J. Trudeau, vol. 150, Gale, 2013. Literature Criticism Online, Accessed 18 Nov. 2019. Originally published in Laments for the Lost in Medieval Literature, edited by Jane Tolmie and M. J. Toswell, Brepols, 2010, pp. 149-171.
  4. Lindow, John. ‘The tears of the gods: a note on the death of Baldr in Scandinavian mythology.’ The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 101, no. 2, 2002, p. 155+. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 18 Nov. 2019.
  5. “Comparative Mythology.” Wikipedia, 11 2019,

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Christianity’s Influence On The Baldr Myth. (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“Christianity’s Influence On The Baldr Myth.” Edubirdie, 18 Feb. 2022,
Christianity’s Influence On The Baldr Myth. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2023].
Christianity’s Influence On The Baldr Myth [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 18 [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:
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