Religion

Struensee’s statecraft and the Moravian Brethren
Christina Petterson

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.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries
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The piety of Enlightenment – much more than rationalism
Anders Jarlert

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.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries
Ecumenical visions and Catholicizing strategies
Yvonne Maria Werner

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.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries
Rolv Nøtvik Jacobsen

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.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries
Enlightened orthodoxy and the heritage of the medieval Church
Terese Zachrisson

This chapter approaches the pre-Lutheran past from the vantage point of material culture in Swedish parish churches. To a considerable extent, the material remnants of the medieval Church were preserved by the mid-eighteenth century. By means of examination of visitation records as well as of topographical, antiquarian and historical works, the chapter demonstrates how the learned priesthood – as well as the local clergy who acted as informants for collectors – approached and reproached local traditions from the Catholic past. A general tendency is that the Lutheran definition of res indifferentes from the sixteenth century was replaced by a view assessing a danger for people of the present day, leaving the impression of an ‘Enlightened orthodoxy’ criticizing the heritage of the medieval Church.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries
Open Access (free)
On pietist introspection and forensic psychiatry in statu nascendi
Tine Reeh
and
Ralf Hemmingsen

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.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries
Mass vaccinations in rural Finland, 1802–1825
Esko M. Laine

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.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries
Open Access (free)
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.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries
A bishop’s instructions in late eighteenth-century Sweden
Erik Sidenvall

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.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries
An introduction
Johannes Ljungberg
and
Erik Sidenvall

This chapter argues for the continued importance of studying the intertwining of Enlightenment and confessional culture in order to increase our understanding of how the Enlightenment took shape in the Nordic countries during the long eighteenth century. Proceeding from a careful evaluation of current scholarship, it provides an overview of political, cultural and socio-economic tendencies in the two early modern Nordic states in relation to the overall theme of the book. On the basis of this inventory, specific characteristics of the Lutheran North were selected to form the structure of the ensuing chapters. In comparison to other parts of Europe, the specific setting for Enlightenment ideas and practices that materialized in the Nordic countries was marked by their rural character, as well as by their two hundred years of almost undisturbed mono-confessional Lutheranism.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries