How does the Torah and Talmud view (viking and non viking) runes? Letters written on swords and such. Stones with a letters. What is the view on them?

To clarify: There is a game(s) where it is possible to enhance weapons and armor by adding runes to them like a rune of fire that would make it stronger. Would this be nonkosher?

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    What problem do you think there might be?
    – Harel13
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 19:57
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    Why would there be any view on them?
    – N.T.
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 21:24
  • @N.T. Considering the fairly well-developed Norse mythology that likely accompanied the runes, this likely becomes a question of engaging with an avodah zarah.
    – Yehuda
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 23:36
  • @Yehuda Could be that, or I recall some telling me "I heard some of the Vikings might have come from the lost ten tribes!" but it never seemed reliable to me. I do recall the idea that the Vikings may have come to North America before Columbus and maybe brought language similar to Hebrew, so maybe the idea is based on that, but I'm not sure. Midrash has lots of interesting insight about other cultures regardless Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 5:09
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    @ShipBuilding What you are recalling is the association between Denmark and the tribe of Dan. Regarding Runes, there is a long standing tradition in the Torah for the writing of Angel script on tools and weapons. Consider the kabbalistic text, the Sword of Moshe, and also the two edged, flaming sword mentioned in Bereshit 3:24. It would seem likely that the tradition of Runes evolved from one of the variants of Angel script. Each Angel has a distinct and unique Alphabet and seal. This tradition is discussed in both Temani manuscripts and those from the Gaonim. Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


How does the Torah and Talmud view (viking and non viking) runes?

The Torah and Hazal make no explicit reference to the runic alphabets. It would be exceedingly difficult to argue that they had any direct knowledge of them. The earliest possible reference one might reasonably expect to find would be in the later medieval literature of Ashkenaz.

Letters written on swords and such. Stones with a letters. What is the view on them?

There is no prohibition against writing on stones or weapons. If there were some talismanic/occultic significance intended then there may be an issue. In such instances the issue would stem from the intent and purpose of the writing not from the writing in and of itself. The precise use case in each instance would need to be ascertained before any kind of halakhic analysis could be made.

  • Isn't Talmud Bavli for talismanics? It explicitly states an amulet that had successfully healed is kosher in some sense. Also what sort of writing could be without purpose? Even writing the owner's name would have the purpose of making it his property?
    – Israel B.
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 14:13
  • @IsraelB. the topic of talismans, amulets, etc. each need to be discussed independently and with case specifics in mind. Addressing such large topics על רגל אחת in the comments is unlikely to be productive. The main point I raise is that the use of inscriptions could invoke various concerns under the broad umbrella of עבודה זרה and its related fields. To determine whether a particular action/object is prohibited, the details specific to the case would need to be raised for the purpose of analysis. Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 17:31

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