In the preface to his translation of the Kalevala (1888), John Martin Crawford wrote (my emphasis):

A deeper and more esoteric meaning of the Kalevala, however, points to a contest between Light and Darkness, Good and Evil; the Finns representing the Light and the Good, and the Lapps, the Darkness and the Evil. Like the Niebelungs, the heroes of the Finns woo for brides the beauteous maidens of the North; and the similarity is rendered still more striking by their frequent inroads into the country of the Lapps, in order to possess themselves of the envied treasure of Lapland, the mysterious Sampo, evidently the Golden Fleece of the Argonautic expedition.

One of the hosts on the Northern Myth Podcast on YouTube appear to disagree with the above view (my emphasis):

A thing about Kalevala: I don't think there is any concept of good or evil. There is order and chaos - very specifically, which I think is probably more the original type of morality, (...) without any sort of christianised influence. And I do think that that is, except for the very final poem, which, I think, some details had to be put in there to appease the Church, (...) but throughout, I think Lönnrot maintained the feel and the morality (...).

Based on what little information about Crawford is available on Wikipedia, he doesn't strike me as a "scholar" of Nordic literature. (He based his translation on an existing German translation.) I don't know what the YouTubers studied; maybe they just read a lot of Northern mythology.

My question is: is Crawford right about the contest between Good and Evil, or is the Northern Myth Podcast right, which may imply that Crawford might have been taking a christianised view on the story? Does scholarly literature shed more light on this issue?


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