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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Allra postula minnisvísur, 8 [Vol. 7, 863-4]

[2, 3, 4] sannr sonr systur móður guðs ‘the true son of the sister of the mother of God’: Cf. IO 76,1: Iacobus Alfei ... sororis matris Domini filius ‘James [son of] Alphaeus ... son of the sister of the mother of the Lord’. The Virgin Mary’s half-sister Mary, wife of Cleophas (John XIX.25), was the mother of James the Less (see Mark XV.40; cf. Cross and Livingstone 1983, 304) – a potential source of confusion, since the mother of James the Great (to whom verse 5 above is dedicated) was also the half-sister of the Virgin Mary (cf. Kilström 1962a, 530). This may support Kock’s reading of sannr (NN §1758, see Note to 1-4 above), if the poet intends to suggest here that James the Less has a greater claim than his namesake to being called ‘God’s mother’s nephew’.

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