Religion

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
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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
Reason and orthodoxy

This volume explores how changes that we tend to associate with the Enlightenment were intertwined with practices and rationales within Lutheran confessional culture in the two Nordic states during the long eighteenth century. It does so by examining several well-rehearsed topics of Enlightenment studies. Scientific novelties, realized policies, and reading as well as printing practices are all themes that return in this book; here they are understood in relation to the various modes and rationales of confessional culture. More precisely, all the contributions to the present volume deal with ideas related to three ‘R’s: reason, rationalism and reform. The eighteenth century encountered in this volume is not only a story of clashes and conflicts. Reason is not necessarily seen as replacing religious belief, nor is rationalism viewed as opposed to reasonings occurring within religious policies or institutions. Evidence of reform may in some cases be interpreted as expressions of Enlightenment; but there is a recurring echo of previous religious transformations and measures promoting renewal, not least in relation to the historical experience of the Lutheran Reformation. Therefore, the writers have chosen to place the notion of ‘religious Enlightenment’ at the core of this book. All the various chapters proceed from this fundamental conception in their explorations of ideas and practices that were embedded in a landscape shaped by both reason and orthodoxy.

Open Access (free)
Clergy as agents of Enlightenment in eighteenth-century Norway
Arne Bugge Amundsen

This chapter explores the ways in which the Enlightenment was introduced and negotiated in rural Norway through the lens of three eighteenth-century pastors. It is argued that ‘pastoral Enlightenment’ was dominant in Norway, where the clergy were central in a state administration of the king’s subjects and where options for control, deliberation and communication were limited. Just like their predecessors, enlightened pastors struggled to accommodate and adapt to the local public. The chapter demonstrates how they sought to understand and interpret their congregations, and how they communicated and negotiated with them while simultaneously addressing a national literate audience. Balancing this cultural and theological ambiguity, these clergymen demonstrate the complexity of the ‘Enlightenment’ in the European North.

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries