The Oera Linda Book: Hoax, Parody or Nazi Bible?

oera-linda-book (Image: via Wikipedia)

The Oera Linda Book first emerged in scholarly circles in the 1860s. Written in Old Frisian, a West Germanic language used from the 8th to the 16th centuries, the esoteric manuscript appeared to be a summary of historical, religious and mythological stories that covered a broad period of time from 2194 BC to 803 AD. Initially hailed as authentic, by 1879 the Oera Linda Book had largely been derided as a modern hoax.

Even today, historians and antiquarians remain uncertain of the text’s original author, while its purpose remains shrouded in mystery. Experts believe, however, that the Oera Linda Book was authored during the 19th century by Cornelis Over de Linden, who may have collaborated with two other men in the process: Eelco Verwijs, and the Protestant preacher Francois Haverschmidt.

Goffe Jensma posited that the strange manuscript was intended to be a parody of the Christian Bible. Jensma later wrote in a 2007 article stating that the book was supposed to be a short-lived hoax, intended to demonstrate that people shouldn’t take religious texts at face value, but interpret them in a more symbolic way. But despite these alleged intentions, the Oera Linda Book was apparently taken seriously by a number of influential people.

the-ahnenerbe (Image: via Wikipedia; emblem of the Ahnernerbe)

As a result, the book’s authors distanced themselves from the work, and its assertions took on an altogether more occult significance. The text itself makes a number of bizarre claims, including a narrative on an unconventional system under which Europe had been ruled. According to the mythology presented, Europe had long been a matriarchal society run by a class of priestesses dedicated to serving Frya, the god Wr-alda, and the earth mother, Irtha. There’s also mention of a place called Atland, a lost civilisation that sank beneath the ocean.

What there isn’t a lot of is accepted historical and scientific fact, so it’s not surprising that within a few years of its emergence, people decided that it was a hoax or some sort of exercise in fiction. Then, in 1922, the Oera Linda Book came to the attention of the Herman Wirth, who would go on to found the Ahnenerbe, the SS organisation dedicated to “researching” the Nazi version of history pertaining to the so-called Aryan race.

Wirth called the book the “Nordic Bible”. Though some core members of the Ahnernerbe rejected it and its ideas, others claimed it was proof of the foundation of the Nazi ideals. As a result, the esoteric text that, half a century before, had been dismissed as a hoax suddenly reemerged as the basis of Nazi occultism.

What’s more, interest in the Oera Linda Book didn’t diminish with the end of World War Two. Some still believe that it holds secret knowledge and the truth about Europe’s ancient past. Others consider it proof that the lost city of Atlantis was real, that stories of Ulysses were real, and that its acceptance should redefine our understanding of ancient history.

Speaking of Nazi occultism, don’t miss these strange World War Two mysteries of the Third Reich.

 
 
 

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