Runes and their Origin. Denmark and Elsewhere
by Erik Moltke
Nationalmuseets forlag (The National Museum of Denmark), Copenhagen, Denmark, 1985

When Erik  Moltke died in 1984 he had become by far Denmark's most prominent runologist and this totally comprehensive work proves his status to be only fair and valid. Although he always was known for having his very own theories, his entertaining style of writing really makes up for that. Moltke looked to a largely Latin source for the runic characters, suggested a runic origin in Denmark. His argument may not have been wholly uninformed by patriotism, but is lent considerable weight by the fact that virtually all runic inscriptions pre-dating CE400 are Scandinavian, with only few inscriptions found in northern Germany and the Gothic regions of eastern Europe. Most of the Danish runic material is presented here, not only transcribed and translated but it comes along with a lot of good b/w photographs and there's hardly any aspect left unmentioned. An excellent and highly recommendable book.

Paperback: 553 pages.  Publisher: Nationalmuseets Forlag (19 Mar. 1981)Language: English ISBN-10: 8748005789ISBN-13: 978-8748005785

This book is rare and currently out of print. Estimated copy price if you can find one in an antiquarian bookshop is around $1000 US dollars or much more.

Runic Amulets and Magic Objects

This 2006 submission from "The Boydell Press" is in my opinion one of the better scholarly works that I have come across on rune magic to date. The credentials of both authors Mindy MacLeod and Bernard Mees raised the bar of academic expectations, at least from my point of view as reflected by this work. However, it has been argued by academic critics of this work that it is not as scrutinizing as it should be and further suggest that the authors rely heavily on John McKinnell and Rudolf Simek (both are non runologists) as their basic source for their arguments.

Table of Contents
List of illustrations

The principal of runic alphabets
1 The names of the runes
2 Gods and heroes
3 Love, fertility and desire
4 Protective and enabling charms
5 Fertility Charms
6 Healing Charms and leechcraft
7 Pagan ritual items
8 Christian amulets
9 Rune-stones, death and curses
10 Runic lore and other magic
11 Conclusions

The book has some ten chapters with 278 pages, is well referenced throughout with footnotes. The main bug bear seems to be a cursory and uncritical reading of several runic inscriptions with arbitrary linguistic analyses. For instance:

The Danish Ribe cranium pp. 25-27).where the authors state that "[t]he Ribe text is a `transitional' inscription which predates the Viking period" (p. 25) is certainly incorrect. Linguistically speaking, it seems that the Ribe cranium inscription, around 725 C.E., had undergone significant sound changes of the transitional period, and its graphemic system witnesses the parsimony of the younger, reduced fuþark with only 15/16 runes (Schulte 2006b:48)

This book however is a bold attempt at challenging the earlier criticisms which embraced farcical and fanciful notions of rune magic based loosely on manufactured ideas or traditions extending from the New Age and other 19th century Germanic Nationalism based esoteric sources. It questions the notion if the runes were indeed associated with medieval Norse literature dealing with rune magic and demonstrates a strong interdisciplinary focus on Germanic-Mediterranean epigraphy. Despite some misgivings, I enjoyed this work as a refreshing change from the many fabrications out there about runelore and indeed rune magic and would certainly reccommend it!

On the Origin and Early History of the Runic Script. Typology and Graphic Variation in the Older Futhark
by Bengt Odenstedt
Almquist & Wiksell International, Stockholm, Sweden, 1990

Although the forms of runes in the Older Futhark have often been discussed in runological handbooks and elsewhere no systematic investigation of runic forms in the corpus has been made so far. This book finally fills that gap. It carefully goes through all the variants that occurred and tries to conclude their original forms. This is resulting in the thesis that that the runes were brought to the Continent from Scandinavia (and not vice versa!) and that it was the Roman alphabet that served as a model. Odenstedt claims that the Latin script was brought to the north by Scandinavian warriors who had served in the Roman Army which is not impossible, of course, although the onomastic evidence we have from the times before the Migration Age doesn't make this too likely. So one may disagree on this opinion but this well-written book has some strong arguments which shouldn't be dismissed too early. And it's a valuable source of the Older Futhark's runic forms.

Title: On the Origin and Early History of the Runic Script: Typology and Graphic Variation in the Older Futhark. Volume 59 of Skrifter utgivna av Kungl. Gustav Adolfs akademien. Author: Bengt Odenstedt Original: The University of California Publisher: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1990 Length: 181 pages Digitized: 12 th April 2007 ISBN: 9185352209, 9789185352203

Runes and Magic: Magical Formulaic Elements in the Older Runic Tradition (American United Studies, Series I : Germanic Languages and Literature, Vol. 53) dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Curabitur pharetra dapibus pharetra. Donec interdum eros eu turpis pharetra et hendrerit est ornare. Etiam eu nulla sapien. Nullam ultricies posuere nunc, eget mollis nulla malesuada quis.