Signum University

Fall 2023
Eddic Poetry in Old Norse
Professors: Carl Edlund Anderson and Paul Peterson

Old Norse Eddic poetry was collected in medieval Iceland but represents a world literary treasure, capturing a variety of mythic and legendary narratives from early Scandinavia and the wider Germanic tradition. This course focuses on reading selections from this poetic literature in Old Norse, providing students with not only the opportunity practice their skills in translating the Old Norse language, but also to become more familiar with these narratives as both windows on early medieval culture and influences on modern literature and popular culture.

Spring 2024
Introduction to the Gothic Language
Professors: Nelson Goering and Paul Peterson

he Gothic language, rich in vocabulary and archaic in structure, has survived in the earliest substantial corpus of texts written in any Germanic language. The primary texts of Gothic were translations of the Greek New Testament, probably produced or overseen by the missionary Bishop Wulfila (or Ulfilas) in the mid-4th century A.D. The Gothic language provides an essential resource for exploring the historical development of all the Germanic languages from English to German to Icelandic and beyond. The focus of the course will be on learning to read and translate texts written in Gothic, while also covering in detail the background of the language, the language’s structure and vocabulary, the cultural achievements and history of the Goths, and the role that Gothic plays in our understanding of related Germanic languages through the lens of Germanic philology.
Prior familiarity with any language besides modern English is not expected or required. The coursework involves primarily reading secondary texts, preparing translation exercises and assignments, taking two written exams (a midterm and a final), and delivering one short oral presentation in the second half of the course on a linguistic or cultural topic; individual preceptors may vary this plan to reach learning outcomes. The overall aim of the course is to acquire a basic reading knowledge of the Gothic language and to begin to understand the full context of the Gothic language.