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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.

One of LUMENs collaborators is The Reformation Research Consortium (RefoRC)


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

Martin Luther (right) often praised Friedrich the Wise (left) as an ideal ruler. Photo: Part of the title page of vol VI of the collected Latin works of Luther, Wittenberg 1580.

2020.04.02 | Research

How the Reformation refined a common European political ideal

In searching for a new theological language, the reformers found inspiration in the social philosophy of Seneca and Cicero. In particular, Seneca’s book De beneficiis inspired both the Lutheran…

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Christ Blessing the Children © Sammlung Würth & Ivan Baschang, München/Paris ; Licence: CC BY-NC-SA

2020.02.19 | Research

Images of justification and the care of the poor

In early Lutheranism, sermons, confessions and catechisms were not the only avenues through which the new doctrine of justification spread. At the same time, artists such as Lucas Cranach, Albrecht…

Kaas sermon

2019.12.06 | Research

Death sermons as sources revealing the ideology of the Danish nobility after the Reformation

After the Reformation, the Danish nobility developed a tradition for published death sermons written by the clerical elite. These death sermons were highly idealised portraits of the nobility as a…