ÞJÓSTÓLFS SAGA HAMRAMMA 97
Þjóstóljs saga, it would appear, lies in the insight it affords into the
scholastic milieu of eighteenth-century Denmark.
Two manuscripts of the saga are extant. The older manuscript, Add.
376, 4to in the Royal Library in Copenhagen, has been dated to the
second half of the eighteenth century.4 The younger manuscript, JS.
225, 4to in the National Library in Reykjavík, was made by Jón Sig-
urðsson in the nineteenth century.5 It was used as the basis for Guðni
Jónsson's edition, but since it is a copy of Add. 376, 4to, the manuscript
cannot be used to triangulate back to an older, common source.
The hand on the older manuscript has been said to resemble that of
Guðmundur Helgason Isfold, an Icelandic student who enrolled in the
University of Copenhagen in 1755.6 However, an inspection of most of
the 81 manuscripts in Copenhagen and Iceland attributed to him has
shown that it cannot be his work. The hand has been found to belong,
rather, to Þorleifur Arason Adeldahl, born ca. 1749 to Ari Þorleifsson
and Helga Þórðardóttir. He was a student in Copenhagen from 1771
and received a baccalaureate degree on August 6, 1774, but his further
studies were not completed due to his heavy drinking. For a short time
he served as a non-commissioned officer in the king's body-guard, but
lost the position due to negligence and became, in 1777, a common
soldier. It was reported by Bishop Hannes Finnsson, however, that
although irresponsible, Adeldahl possessed a quick, sharp mind.7
There is considerable evidence to indicate that Þjóstólfs saga is no
older than 1771, having been composed by Adeldahl and sold as a
copy of a medieval Icelandic work. First of all, it is noteworthy that no
other manuscript has ever been known to exist, nor does the saga seem
to have ever been mentioned in older sources. In addition, the language
evidences numerous modem forms, such as bangsi 377,25; 384,13
for björn 'bear', the loanwords mumli 369,14 from Danish mumle
'mumble', svoddan 388,12 Danish sádan 'in that way', lyst 396,5 Danish
lyst 'desire', the loan phrases enn nú 390,16 from Danish endnu 'still',
4 Kr. Kálund, Katalog over de oldnorsk-islandske hándskrifter i det store konge-
lige bibliotek og i universitetsbiblioteket (K0benhavn, 1900), p. 446.
5 ísl. sögur, VIII, xii. Páll Eggert Ólason and Jón Guðnason, íslenzkar viskrár,
6 vols. (Reykjavík, 1948-76), III, 266-268. Bjarni Jónsson, íslenzkir Hafnar-
stúdentar (Akureyri, 1949), p. 174.
6 ísl. sögur, VIII, xii. Islenzkar viskrár, II, 153.
7 tslenzkar viskrár, V, 171-172. Islenzkir Hafnarstúdentar, p. 119.