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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.


LUMEN regularly publishes new blog entries on theoretical, methodical, and empirical elements of its ongoing research.

[Translate to English:] Poor Panel from Sct Peter’s Church in Næstved from 1633 urging people to give to the poor with the promise of God’s blessing – but this should be understood as a blessing in this world. The obligation to give to the poor followed from the seventh commandment  (By the courtesy of Museum Sydøstdanmark).

2019.04.25 | Research

The Ten Commandments and good work

Right from the outset, Luther’s attack on works righteousness was criticised for the implication that people were thereby released from the obligation to do good work. The logic of this criticism was that people will stop doing good work if doing good work has no influence on their salvation. Simultaneously, the religious obligation placed on the…

2019.02.14 | Research

"Social imaginaries" as a tool for interdisciplinary Reformation research

For some time, our research group in LUMEN has been investigating the possible impact of the Reformation upon the formation of society. The challenging aspect has been to find ways to investigate the impact that ideas (in this case religion in the form of a specific confession) have had on societal development and the everyday life of ordinary…

Emotions are culturally understood as positive or negative. Laziness was in Luther’s catechism described as a negative emotion, connected to disobedience and an un-Christian life, opposite to the good life. Photo from ”Colourbox.com”

2018.11.22 | Research

Understanding an un-Christian life through negative emotions

In this post I suggest that negative emotions described in the religious literature as an element in an un-Christian life can bring us closer to an understanding of what was deemed to be an un-Christian life in early modern Denmark. I argue that this will enable us to gain a deeper understanding not only of norms, values and responsibilities…


Tue 21 May
13:15-15:30 | Aarhus University, Nobel park, 1453-415
Seminar: A new climate for theology. New paradigms and perspectives in protest/stant theology
Wed 22 May
08:30-10:00 | Nobelparken, 1453-415 (Bed og arbejd)
Breakfast meeting
Tue 28 May
10:00-14:00 | Aarhus University, Nobel Park, 1461-516
Seminar on Pietisme and the Nordic absolutist states
Tue 04 Jun
08:30-10:00 | Nobelparken, 1453-415 (Bed og arbejd)
Breakfast meeting
Thu 27 Jun
17:00-23:59 |
Summer party