Martin P. Nilsson

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Martin Persson Nilsson (Stoby, Kristianstad County, 12 July 1874 – Lund, 7 April 1967) was a Swedish philologist, mythographer, and a scholar of the Greek, Hellenistic and Roman religious systems. In his prolific studies he combined the literary evidence with the archaeological evidence, linking historic and prehistoric evidence for the evolution of the Greek mythological cycles.

Beginning in 1900 as a tutor at the University of Lund, he was appointed Secretary to the Swedish Archaeological Commission working in Rhodes, in 1905. In 1909 he was appointed Professor of Ancient Greek, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Lund. Later, Nilsson was Secretary of the Royal Society of Letters in Lund and an Associate of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, in Stockholm. In 1924 he was made a corresponding member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences.

Nilsson's best-known work in German is Geschichte der griechischen Religion in the Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft, which went through several editions. Nilsson had previously published it under the title Den grekiska religionens historia (1922). In English his Minoan-Mycenaean Religion, and Its Survival in Greek Religion is more often quoted. Other important works include:

  • Primitive time-reckoning; a study in the origins and first development of the art of counting time among the primitive and early culture peoples
  • The Mycenaean Origin of Greek Mythology (Berkeley: University of California Press) 1932 (On-line text) This work had its origins in the Sather Classical Lectures
  • Homer and Mycenae (London: Methuen) 1933
  • Primitive Religion 1934
  • "Early Orphism and Kindred Religious Movements" Harvard Theological Review 28 (1935):180-230
  • The Age of the Early Greek Tyrants (Belfast) 1936 (The Dill Memorial Lecture)
  • Greek Popular Religion (New York:Columbia University Press) 1940 (On-line text)
  • Greek Folk Religion. Reprinted with a foreword by Arthur Darby Nock, 1972
  • Den grekiska religionens historia, 1922 (republished in German translation as Geschichte der griechischen Religion in Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft)
  • Minoan-Mycenaean Religion, and Its Survival in Greek Religion (Lund: Gleerup); revised 2nd ed. 1950
  • The Bacchic Mysteries in Italy See also "The Bacchic Mysteries in the Roman Age" Harvard Theological Review 46 (1953):175-202
  • Cults, Myths, Oracles, and Politics in Ancient Greece (Studies in Mediterranean Archeology)
  • Greek Piety (Norton/Oxford University Press) 1969
  • The historical Hellenistic background of the New Testament (The Bedell lecture, Kenyon college)

References[edit]

  • "Martin P. Nilsson: In Memoriam" The Harvard Theological Review 60.4 (October 1967), p. 373.

Further reading[edit]

  • Einar Gjerstad, Martin P. Nilsson in memoriam. (Lund: Gleerup) 1968. (With Erik Johan Knudtzon et al., Bibliographie Martin P. Nilsson.)
  • John Granlund, "Martin Persson Nilsson (1874–1967)" 'in Dag Strömbäck (ed.) Leading folklorists of the North (Oslo) 1971:135–170.

External links[edit]