The LUMEN Centre

The LUMEN Centre aims to develop an ambitious and innovative interdisciplinary platform for the study of confessional and cultural characteristics in the Lutheran Reformation and its influence on theology, mentality, culture and society – particularly in the Nordic countries. Based on this point of departure, the centre will contribute to the theoretical discussion about the importance of Protestantism for the individual and society.

The need for knowledge about the positive and negative influence of religions on social development has become urgent both in the field of research and in discussions about society in general. One of the goals of the centre is to contribute methodically and theoretically to the international discussion of religion as a driving force in historical development, and to the discussion of how to study the influence of religion on social development and social institutions. And the Nordic countries, which in many ways represent a special case in an international perspective, are indeed characterised by a long-term Lutheran influence. The LUMEN Centre bases its work on the thesis that current theories about Protestantism, which are founded in particular on research into the Calvinist tradition, do not fully comprehend the relevant aspects of the relationship between religion and state, society and individual in countries that are influenced by Lutheranism.

The members of the LUMEN Centre come from the fields of medieval and renaissance archaeology, philosophy, history, the history of ideas, church history, art history, practical theology, systematic theology and political science.


From 2015 until end of 2017 LUMEN had a blog with a new entry every week. The blog was in Danish and aimed at a broader public. It communicated new research from our interdisciplinary research on Lutheran theology, confessional culture, and its impact on society. It was great fun to write the blog entries – and very valuable for our research – so we don’t want to let the blog die just because the reformation anniversary is over. Therefore, we have decided to relaunch the blog, now presented in English on a monthly basis. We will continue to present the LUMEN Centre’s latest work, but reflect to a greater extent on theoretical, methodical, and empirical elements of the research.

Just in time for summer reading. The new book on Lutheran Theology and the shaping of socieity (Photo: LUMEN/bkh)

2018.07.06 | Research

Lutheran Theology and the Shaping of Society

The connection between religion on the one hand, and social change and the formation of societies on the other hand, has been steadily attracting interest in recent years. The complex relationship and mutual dependency between confessional forces and societal development lies at the very heart of the interdisciplinary LUMEN-center at Aarhus…

Altarpiece from Torslunde Church outside Copenhagen, 1561. It depicts the reconfigures Sunday Service in the Danish Lutheran State Church. 
Currently on display at the National Museum in Copenhagen.

2018.06.04 | Research

Practicing theory – how contemporary theory can illuminate 500-year-old liturgical texts

One very famous result of the Reformation is often summed up in the statement that Luther helped reemphasize the congregation as the centre of Eucharistic practice. Most discourse on the subject highlights this transformation as a theological change but applying contemporary practice theory can help to reveal that the change is also performative…

The Ten Commandments. Lucas Cranach d. Ältere (1516)

2018.04.16 | Research

Why Early Modern historians should know their catechism

The first blog-entry is written by historian Nina Javette Koefoed. She reflects on the value of a more specific knowledge of theology, in this case the catechism, to her research on household, authority and socio-emotional relations.


Wed 19 Sep
12:00-15:00 | Aarhus University- Building 1453, room 415
”Versöhnung and Aussöhnung Today” Seminar with Heinrich Assel

Head of Center:

Bo Kristian Holm

Associate professor