On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Kalevala thirty experts on comparative epic research from 12 countries met in Turku in August 1999 to debate the role of the Finnish national epic and its scientific significance. The classic bone of contention "Is the Kalevala an oral or a literary epic?" received the surprising answer, "It is neither!" The Kalevala belongs among the tradition-oriented epics, along with Homer, Beowulf, the Nibelungenlied and the Eddas. The collator-composers of these traditional epics remained faithful to tradition and faded into the background.