Íslendingabók — Kristni Saga: The Book of the Icelanders — The Story of the Conversion

Íslendingabók — Kristni Saga: The Book of the Icelanders — The Story of the Conversion

Translated by Siân Grønlie
2006 | 97 + xlvii pp. | 978-0-903521-71-0 | Paperback 5.5 x 8.5 in
$20 |

Along with being the first work to be written in the vernacular, Ari's Íslendingabók is the earliest surviving written history of the Icelanders and is the basis for Icelandic literature as a whole. The oldest and most famous account of the moment of conversion in Iceland, it briefly describes the process of Christianization that followed and contains one of the earliest uses of the term "Icelanders". In contrast to Íslendingabók, Kristni saga is the only work in which the missions to Iceland form the main subject of the narrative and is one of the few works in the Middle Ages (along with Bede's Ecclesiastical History) that can justly be described as "missionary" history. While remaining as faithful as possible to the original Icelandic texts, Íslendingabók — Kristni saga gives an insight into different modes of historical writing in Iceland and through it we can trace the development over time of different ways of thinking about Iceland's conversion to Christianity.