Swedish local sermons and the social order, 1790–1820
This chapter places the religio-political messages conveyed from Swedish pulpits at the centre of attention. By means of a close analysis of sermons delivered in seven different kinds of local parishes in the Swedish realm at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth, it demonstrates the impact of and the remarkable continuity in discourses defending the idea of a corporate state system. Instead of the individual benefit, the common good was seen as the fundamental idea for maintaining obedience. The writer argues for the continued strength of a traditional, Lutheran orthodox definition of the social order, but also for its adaptability at a time when new ways of life increasingly came to influence local societies.
The Faculty of Theology at the University of Copenhagen, 1738–1770
Lars Cyril Nørgaard
This chapter questions the received view of the Press Act of 1770 in Denmark–Norway as a clean break with previous practices of censorship. By way of examination of the institutional practices at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Copenhagen from 1738 until 1770, the chapter demonstrates how both confessional and commercial rationales transformed the practice of censorship long before pre-publication censorship was removed. These changes were not imposed upon the religious system but rather developed inside it. Consequently, the chapter stresses that mitigations of confessional policies should be studied with changes within religious culture taken into account, besides rationales related to Enlightenment ideas.
This chapter offers a close analysis of the Danish state initiative to invite Moravians to build and settle in the town of Christiansfeld in 1772. By way of examination of a document written by the responsible Minister of Finance, the chapter shows that the forming of this alliance was motivated by commercial rationales. The Struensee Enlightenment regime is presented as a watershed in respect of the point in time when commercial concerns replaced religious ones. Previously, attitudes towards Moravians had been marked either by support for or dismissal of their teaching and spiritual practices. At the same time, the Struensee regime evaluated the Moravians favourably with reference to their confession. The regime accepted their claim to be considered as true Lutherans, and on the moral level they were thought to serve as role models for their neighbours.
The piety of Enlightenment – much more than rationalism
In the Nordic countries, the concept of ‘enlightened’ was used in at least three senses: the enlightenment conveyed by the Holy Spirit in the Lutheran understanding; the Enlightenment of rational philosophy; and the special knowledge transmitted by secret rituals. Men and women of the eighteenth-century European North used the terms ‘enlightened’ and ‘enlightenment’ in ways that could simultaneously be associated with a pious Lutheranism, with rational reform and with a clandestine esoterism. By way of a conceptual analysis, this epilogue explores the tensions that arose from these different uses, and how a pious Enlightenment ultimately paved the way for Romanticism.
This contribution analyses how Catholic piety – as it was practised in the eighteenth century – appealed to a highly influential individual: King Gustav III of Sweden. The chapter examines the King’s relation to Catholics around his court in Stockholm, his journey to Rome in 1783 and restorative elements of his ecclesiastical reform policy for both liturgy and the role of the bishops. Against this background, the chapter proposes and discusses the hypothesis that the Edict of Tolerance issued in 1781 was not only motivated by economic reasons – as suggested by previous scholarship – but also by Gustav III’s fascination with Catholic liturgy and church life.
There was a surge of historical writing in Denmark–Norway during the eighteenth century. Norwegian historical writing forms the centre of attention in this chapter. By way of examining sources of various kinds, it is argued that Norwegian historiographers eschewed the Middle Ages in pursuit of a pre-Christian past in which the nucleus of proto-national sentiment is to be found. The sheer richness of the material, made accessible to common readers by early-eighteenth-century historical writers, made historical treatises into archives filled with stories and information about a once-upon-a-time independent kingdom with a glorious past and even an ancient pre-history. The foundation of an independent Norwegian nation was to be found in its myths and in the valiant deeds of its earliest heroes.
On pietist introspection and forensic psychiatry in statu nascendi
So-called ‘melancholic murders’ in Denmark provide the focus of this chapter. This designation was coined to signify the type of suicidal murderers that were to some extent exempted from the death penalty from 1767 onwards with reference to their state of mind. By means of examining pietist literature on introspection and diagnosis of the inner person and three illustrative court cases, the chapter argues that these new statutory rights on the part of the individual were not driven by enlightened or humanitarian ideas, but increasingly influenced by a pietist anthropology. This hypothesis leads to a discussion about the dynamics between pietist anthropology and pre-medicalized forensic psychiatry.
This chapter is the chronologically most recent, extending into the nineteenth century. It studies the implementation of vaccination policies in the Swedish realm, not by looking at the central administration at Collegium Medicum in Stockholm but at sources indicating how vaccination policy was carried out in local parishes across rural Finland. Through a detailed account of lists from parish archives, the chapter emphasizes the key role played by the local clergy, as well as by sextons, in this medical practice, which was often exercised in connection to the Sunday service. The investigation shows that as early as 1804, local clergymen started to make preliminary notes in the margins of their Annual Reports concerning individuals vaccinated for smallpox in their parishes. But it also shows that implementation varied a great deal in different parts of Finland.
Negotiating the medieval past in Danish eighteenth-century church interiors
Martin Wangsgaard Jürgensen
This chapter delves into Danish church interiors of the eighteenth century and explores how they interacted with their heritage from the Middle Ages. Many furnishings were uncontroversial in the eyes of the reformers and were hence left out of reformation debates in the sixteenth century. A resurgent disapproval of the vestiges of Catholicism can be discerned among the authorities of the eighteenth century, who wanted to combat what they perceived as old superstition and the relics of ‘popery’. The chapter points out four strategies for ‘taming’ the medieval heritage: criticizing superstitious practices, exposing superstition, explaining superstition and narrowing the focus, the last of these referring to how the focus came to rest on the key places or spaces within the church, whereas a general and gradual abandonment of decoration in church interiors became apparent.
A bishop’s instructions in late eighteenth-century Sweden
The ways in which a bureaucratic model of oversight could be turned into a vehicle of individualizing religious practices in late eighteenth-century Sweden is the central concern of this chapter. The chapter focuses on how bureaucratic measures could be used to implement enlightened reform, thereby offering a different perspective on ‘pastoral Enlightenment’ in the rural European North. By examining how Olof Wallquist, a late eighteenth-century Swedish bishop, used his position as an ecclesiastical superior to promote change, a novel perspective on the blending of individualism and confessional culture is offered. This testifies to a process of gradual, microscopic dislocations in which key elements of a previous social order were overtaken, step by step, by different standards of behaviour.