Cloisters and Culture in Iceland and the North 
in the Middle Ages

Margaret Cormack

Icelandic Monastic Foundations and their Legends

Thursday May 22, 2014, at 16.30
Árnagarður 201

Johanna Olafsdottir
Margaret Cormack

Probably no one today believes that the pagan Hildir fell down dead when he violated the sacred space of Kirkjubær, site of the future convent (Land­námabók ÍF 1 pp. 323-26). Scholars who reject this episode may nonetheless be loth to jettison the idea that papar once lived on the spot. And what about the foundation of Þingeyrar by St. Jón Ögmundarson? Does the motif of measuring out the grounds with his cloak conceal a genuine attempt to found a monastery? My presentation will consider the stories about, and evidence for, foundation of Icelandic religious houses such as Kirkjubær, Þingeyrar, Skriðuklaustur, and Reynisstaður.

Margaret Cormack is Professor of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston, SC, USA. She is interested in Icelandic religious and ecclesiastical history, folklore, and magic through the 18th century.