If you’ve seen the movie “Thor,” you may have been curious about Scandinavian mythology and its possible connection to the Christ myth. Here is a brief excerpt about Norse myth from my book Who Was Jesus? (245-6):

The Sacred Spear and The Side-Wounding

At Matthew 27:49, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible omits the phrase about the soldier taking a spear and piercing Jesus’s side, with water and blood pouring out. Why was this scripture included or omitted in different versions, if the  incident really happened? Like so much of the gospels, this part seems to have been added for a specific purpose, rather than as a reflection of actual “history.” In some of the cultures of the Roman Empire at the time, there evidently were other gods and sacrificial victims who were likewise portrayed as having been “side-wounded,” including the Norse Father-God Odin, who was hung on a tree and wounded with a spear. The political reasons for this interpolation, then, may include an attempt to integrate these other cultures of the empire into what would become the state religion.

Much like the Christian father-god incarnated in Christ, in the Norse mythology Father Odin is depicted as hanging on the “world-tree” in an act of sacrifice, while wounded by a spear. The old Norse text the Havamal, one of the Norse (prose) Eddas, contains a poem called the Runatal, stanza 138, in which Odin says:

“I know that I hung,
on a windy tree,
for all of nine nights,
wounded with a spear
and given to Óðinn,
myself to myself,
on that tree,
which no man knows,
from what roots it runs.”

Furthermore, the “All-Father” god Odin’s invincible and beloved son, Balder, is pierced with a spear of mistletoe. Although Balder dies, in the time of the Ragnarok or Norse “apocalypse,” he will be reborn or resurrected. This latter motif is similar to Christ’s “Second Coming” depicted in Revelation. Moreover, as Jesus is the “Light of the World,” so Balder is the “god of light.” In this way, Balder is the savior of the world who brings peace. Like Jesus and the Twelve, Balder is also depicted with “12 knights.”