Finnur Jónsson

For the bishop, see Finnur Jónsson (bishop).
This is an Icelandic name. The last name is a patronymic, not a family name; this person is properly referred to by the given name Finnur.
Finnur Jónsson

Finnur Jónsson (May 29, 1858 – March 30, 1934) was an Icelandic philologist and Professor of Nordic Philology at the University of Copenhagen. He made extensive contributions to the study of Old Norse literature. [1]

Finnur Jónsson was born at Akureyri in northern Iceland. He graduated from Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík in 1878 and went to Denmark for further studies at the University of Copenhagen. He received a doctorate in philology in 1884 with a dissertation on skaldic poetry. He became a docent at the University in 1887 and a professor in 1898, serving until 1928. After retiring he continued work on his subject with new publications until the year he died. [2]

Finnur's principal area of study was Old Norse poetry. His three most important works are Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning, an edition of the entire corpus of skaldic poetry in two parts - one which gives the text of the manuscripts with variants and one which gives a normalized text and a Danish translation. Another of Finnur's major works is Lexicon Poeticum, a dictionary of Old Norse poetry, ostensibly an update of a work with the same name by Sveinbjörn Egilsson but in effect an original work. The third principal work is Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie, a detailed history of Old Norse literature.

Finnur was an unusually prolific scholar, preparing editions of, among other works, numerous Icelanders' sagas, Kings' sagas, Rímur (along with a dictionary of rímur) and the Eddas. A skilled polemicist, he defended his belief in the historical accuracy of the sagas and the antiquity of the Eddic poems in debates with other scholars. [3]


  1. Morgunblaðið (April 6, 1934). "Finnur Jónsson prófessor". Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  2. Halldór Hermannsson. "Finnur Jónsson May 28, 1858-March 30, 1934". The Journal of English and Germanic Philology.Vol. 34, No. 3 (Jul., 1935), pp. 472-479. JSTOR 27704070.
  3. Dansk Biografisk Lexikon. "Finnur Jónsson biografi". Retrieved October 17, 2015.

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