Germanic paganism forming a formal religion.

How could this happen, and what would result?

What would this religion look like (structure, values)
 
The result relies largely on the cause. If it's because of Roman influences (which seems necessary in order to get everyone looking the same way), that'd rather change a lot since I doubt the ceremonial role of Germanic kings in their religion would sit well with the Romans. Germanic paganism, as did Roman, was heavily intertwined with the ruling classes, which is part of why both gave way to Christianity amongst the common people. (as far as I know) Unless something radical happens I doubt you'd see a separate clergy develop.
 
I was expecting a dualistic secular system, with major religious heads also being powerful secular rulers.

Where would roman influences come from? Could have really early Varangians?

I think a unified church might come from a Viking Charlemagne uniting the Norse homelands, and solidifying his control.
 

Deleted member 97083

I was expecting a dualistic secular system, with major religious heads also being powerful secular rulers.

Where would roman influences come from? Could have really early Varangians?

I think a unified church might come from a Viking Charlemagne uniting the Norse homelands, and solidifying his control.
Perhaps Scandinavia is united by one king, a "Viking Charlemagne" as you said, after a series of brutal campaigns. But now he has to secure his rule. So he makes a bargain with his new vassals: if the earls will cede most of their political authority to the king, then the king will cede most of his religious authority to his earls. However, the king retains one important religious power: the ability to appoint one high priest from his many vassals. This could create the beginning of an organized priesthood, and some sort of hierarchy.
 
I would also suspect religious lore to include a profetsised emperor of the north, who will crush the Heathans and bring Thor to all. Because Vikings love to conquest.
 
Perhaps Scandinavia is united by one king, a "Viking Charlemagne" as you said, after a series of brutal campaigns. But now he has to secure his rule. So he makes a bargain with his new vassals: if the earls will cede most of their political authority to the king, then the king will cede most of his religious authority to his earls. However, the king retains one important religious power: the ability to appoint one high priest from his many vassals. This could create the beginning of an organized priesthood, and some sort of hierarchy.

So the vassals would form a religious council? (Odinthing? From the local metings called thing) I can see a Scandinavian empire trying to conquer outside Scandinavia so that less power rests in the hands of the earls who are in the odinthing.
 

Deleted member 97083

So the vassals would form a religious council? (Odinthing? From the local metings called thing) I can see a Scandinavian empire trying to conquer outside Scandinavia so that less power rests in the hands of the earls who are in the odinthing.
They could form a council, or they could have a more decentralized system where each earl has independent religious authority over their own earldom. The latter seems more likely, as the Norse could only be convinced of so much centralization at once.
 
Take a modern neopagan cult and get them to start wearing business suits. Harder than it sounds perhaps, but in the end it would satisfy your request for a formal germanic paganism.

But seriously, I think the question is rooted in some odd assumptions about the nature of premodern religion. Any organized faith that emerges from Germanic paganism simply won't be recognized and won't recognize itself as Germanic paganism - it will recognize itself as something distinct, the way that Buddhists recognized themselves as distinct from Vedic Hinduism or Islam recognized itself as different from the Abrahamic faiths and Arab paganism. They didn't call themselves followers of the "Arab religion", and once their faith was understood, neither did their neighbors.
 
What exactly is a 'formal religion'?

The Germanic/Norse were traditionally very autonomous in their communities. I think, rather than changing this, you need to have religious authority extend to this. You might see Germanic religion (Wodenism?) becoming a lot like today's Christianity, except very early; people pray (/make their offerings), but don't necessarily go to church every Sunday, or even observe the sanctity of religious law. You'll find a lot of people, for example, have extramarital sex but still kneeling at their beds every other night.

A lot of people think that the Germanic Pagans need to codify and unify their religion in order to resist the encroachment of more organised faiths, but I disagree. The whole point of the Germanic/Norse system is personal autonomy, and I think if it is stressed within their society that Christiandom does not allow for his level of personal freedom, then the individual pagans would be less inclined to convert.
 

Deleted member 97083

But seriously, I think the question is rooted in some odd assumptions about the nature of premodern religion. Any organized faith that emerges from Germanic paganism simply won't be recognized and won't recognize itself as Germanic paganism - it will recognize itself as something distinct, the way that Buddhists recognized themselves as distinct from Vedic Hinduism or Islam recognized itself as different from the Abrahamic faiths and Arab paganism. They didn't call themselves followers of the "Arab religion", and once their faith was understood, neither did their neighbors.
That in itself is a very odd assumption about premodern religion.

All religions change over time. The Sassanids believed they were following the one, true, unchanged Zoroastrian religion of Cyrus the Great. However not only was Cyrus the Great probably not a Zoroastrian*, but the Sassanids themselves made significant changes to the religion, creating a much more organized, hierarchical, political, and also less scriptural version of the faith. This caused a great deal of conflict with traditionalists who then formed a variety of splinter religions. The original Zoroastrianism itself undergoing even more change in response.

Much can be said about the evolution of Roman religion, which varied from a polytheistic pantheon very similar to that of the Greeks, to Neoplatonist and Stoicist influenced branches, foreign borrowed gods and goddesses, and the cult of Sol Invictus; yet all of these considered themselves the Roman religion.

Let alone the ecumenical councils in early Christianity, each creating a separatist church, with both the orthodox and separatist variants believing themselves closest to the original version of the religion. And following those councils, the East-West Schism creating separate Catholic and Orthodox churches both considering themselves universal and the true successor to the earliest Christians.

Any religion is going to change over time, and at every step, it will probably consider itself the same faith as before. Even with a holy text. But especially without one.

* We actually don't know the religion of Cyrus the Great, but his own records deem him a devout follower of the sun god Marduk. He may have been a contemporary of Zoroaster.
 
To be fair, @Achaemenid Rome, I think the actual truth is somewhat more complex than either of us posited in our posts, and which one of us is right probably depends on what the OP meant. Germanic paganism could perhaps evolve into something along the lines of Zoroastrianism, but Zoroastrianism earlier Iranian tradition, and, as far as I know, had various competing orthodoxies which certainly regarded themselves as distinct faiths. Plus Zoroastrians considered themselves distinct from say, the broader sphere of Iranian polytheism. Were the Sassanians to meet Cyrus the Great, they would realize they had little in common, regardless of what mythologized pasts they create (and Sassanian historiography is notoriously inaccurate in any case - it was intended, I think, to be broadly moralistic and particularistic, rather than an accurate account of anything.)

The religion of many peoples has changed over time, and most non-organized religions (and indeed some organized religions) undergo radical changes without changing their fundamental identity. (Although I'm not sure the average Roman would have a very clear understanding of their own religious identity. There's not as dire a need for such labels in a polytheistic worldview. Roman-ness is more than just what gods you worship, whereas that is very fundamental to say, Christianity.) However, my point is more that if the German pagans created a more organized, more centralized, more ordered religion (which seems to be what OP wants) then they'd probably seek to differentiate themselves from whatever came before. Even if later generations then decided that nothing at all had changed and they were still following the religion of the earliest Norse king exactly as he did it. That would be a retroactive change.

See also, various Christian and Muslim sects that claim they're following the religion exactly as the founders of said religion did, despite not exactly being clear on what all that involves. Or the Sassanian kings of Iran.
 
Play CK2, capture the holy sites and take the "Reform the Faith" decision. Voila, you're Fylkir.

I'm actually not sure how you'd achieve this in reality.
 
While it requires some handwavium, it would be fun getting a different settlement of Iceland and Greenland, leading to a refugium of Norse pagans in Newfoundland. That would allow a formal religion to develop over time, as population density increases and a centralised state emerges.
 
I wonder what morals such a religion would have in general. Any ideas?

It depends on which of the gods is leading the pantheon. While it was traditionally Odin/Woden - the allfather, the wanderer, the wisest being - the Norse pagans supposedly came to favour Thor for his prowess during the Viking Age. If the Germans are forced to fight several wars against Christian neighbours in order to survive and maintain their way of life, it's possible that the shift to Thor will occur here too, meaning their morals may be based around violence and vengeance.
 
It depends on which of the gods is leading the pantheon. While it was traditionally Odin/Woden - the allfather, the wanderer, the wisest being - the Norse pagans supposedly came to favour Thor for his prowess during the Viking Age. If the Germans are forced to fight several wars against Christian neighbours in order to survive and maintain their way of life, it's possible that the shift to Thor will occur here too, meaning their morals may be based around violence and vengeance.
But to create a organized religion they need a major empire. Not sure proselytizing would work so well then. Or war.
Play CK2, capture the holy sites and take the "Reform the Faith" decision. Voila, you're Fylkir.

I'm actually not sure how you'd achieve this in reality.
I have CK2. I've done Norse.
 
The Germanic and Norse Pagans didn't really proselytise. I imagine that any converts would come to their side for the sheer liberation of it, since their religions don't have strict doctrines and rules. Are you a warrior? Die on the battlefield and go to Valhalla. Want the crops to grow? Slaughter a cow and drench the soil in blood and give your prayers to Thor. Getting married? Cover yourself in chicken blood and lie naked under the moon for Frigge, or something. Have sex. Father bastards. Drink. Take mushrooms. Feast. Fight. Worship however you please in your every-day actions, rather than in overt acts of devotion.

For someone forced to toil under a Christian king, pay high taxes or risk severe punishment, see the bishops and priests grow fat with meat and gold, and drop everything to attend mass every Sunday, the idea of kicking back with a cold beer and a couple of women might be a very attractive prospect. The Pagans were also more poetic in their religion than the Christians, I'd say; it wasn't just the church and the king telling you to obey that had you believing. They believed they could hear the gods' in the thunder, see them in the sun and in the shape of a person's body. They saw ravens and believed Odin was watching over them. They had signs, things they could reach out to with all their senses to affirm their beliefs. The Christians had the scriptures.
 
Any particular time period you thinking of OP?

Any religion is going to borrow off of elements at the time. It's all well and good having Sven the prophet claim that there is but one god and Odin is his name, but without any kind of gradual reason or exclusionary arguments then you are not going to get far.

I would imagine as others have said that any major Germanic religion without going too far back is going to have roman involvement. Any earlier and the druids dominate the religious show which beyond conjecture we know jack all about.
 
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