Foreword to Futhark 1 (2010)
The idea of a runological periodical is not new. Already in 1908 L. Fr. (Frits) Läffler tried to persuade the The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities to start a journal called Runa: Tidskrift för runforskning. Läffler had the support of the great runologists Magnus Olsen in Oslo and Ludvig Wimmer in Copenhagen, but the scheme was foiled since there was a fear in Sweden that Runa would compete with the already initiated publication of Sveriges runinskrifter.
One hundred years later James Knirk took the initiative to launch a journal for runic studies. This is its first issue. The periodical is a co-operative effort between the runological centers in Oslo and Uppsala. Our sincere desire is that it will prove to be a welcome outlet for runic studies that are not in the form of monographs. Contributions are invited in Danish, English, German, Norwegian and Swedish. Please visit our website http://www.futhark-journal.com for further information. We take the word runic to refer to all scientific study dealing with phenomena related to objects bearing runes (within the Germanic tradition). Not only runologists in the stricter sense are thus welcome, but also archaeologists, historians in various disciplines, theologians, etc., who work with runes or runic inscriptions, as well as phenomena otherwise connected with runic objects.
The first issue of Futhark is primarily devoted to presenting selected papers from the Sixth International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions, held in Lancaster in 2005. Michael Barnes and Judith Jesch have kindly served as guest editors for this part. The remainder of the issue is dedicated to reviews. There may be other sections, as well, in the future.
A journal starting in 2010 has to decide what the ideal form of publication is. We have chosen the best of the two worlds, i.e. both a freely available digital version and the choice of ordering a traditional paper copy. We hope that Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies will be well received among scholars and other readers interested in runic matters.