The problem with islands: comparing mysticisms in Iceland and Faroe Islands

Christophe Pons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Through the analysis of spiritualist and christian mysticisms, this paper is bringing to comparison
the two opposite religious orientations that have been distinctively accepted, followed and diffused
in Iceland (modern esotericism) and Faroe Islands (Protestant asceticism). Historical circumstances
and external interactions give some clues for the understanding of these orientations.
But the question is also to wonder in which way those orientations might be «culturally based»,
that is to say referring to some long term features on the one hand, participating to a process that
agents have acknowledged and/or created consciously on the other? Taking into account that the
two types of mysticisms (Spiritualist/Christian) are usually referring to different modes of social
organisation (free individual users on a network / communitarian within the sect), the author aims
to reverse the magnifying glass effect of islands case studies into a heuristic tool in understanding
modern esotericism and Christian asceticism within the Nordic world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-163
JournalNordic journal of religion and society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Iceland
  • Faroe Islands
  • Spiritualism
  • Asceticism
  • Mysticism
  • Gemeinschaft
  • Gesellschaft
  • individualism


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