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LUMEN publishes regularly new blog entries on theoretical, methodical, and empirical elements of its ongoing research.
As part of one of the larger research projects in LUMEN, Lutheranism and societal development in Denmark, we have now made a major step within digitalization of sources 18th century sources and made it possible to use digital methods on our 18th century archival material. This enable us to ask new research questions and reach firmer conclusions.
Per Ingesman, a professor of church history at Aarhus University, retired recently. With a background in theology as well as history, he has been crucial for the process leading to the establishment of the LUMEN Centre. He has a long and manifold career behind him, and the key question in his research has always been the classical question in ecclesiastical historiography: How does religion influence society – and vice versa – and how can we describe this influence?
This blog post focuses on an altarpiece from the late 15th century in a small village in southern Denmark, and in particular on the post-Reformation inscriptions on the predella. These inscriptions are significant in a liturgical, historical perspective since they address the communicants directly. The inscriptions on the predella can provide us with insights into the beliefs, assumptions and liturgical practices associated with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
In 2020, Carsten Bach-Nielsen retired from his position as an associate professor of church history at Aarhus University. Carsten Bach-Nielsen has been a great support of LUMEN over the years, bringing plenty of critical and constructive questions and perspectives to the centre’s projects, which often included references to material culture. To honour Carsten Bach-Nielsen’s work, a team of six colleagues has edited a festschrift published with Aarhus University Press. This blog entry presents his contribution to scholarship.
Covid19 has once again led to new restrictions in Denmark and elsewhere – and to new discussions of these restrictions. There seems to be a special resistance to the demand to wear masks in all public places. This blog post suggests that cultural and religious heritage might be part of the explanation for this resistance – even though we are not aware of our cultural and religious heritage. This heritage is not necessarily in itself part of the solution, but thinking about it might be.
Niels Hemmingsen (1513–1600) was an early modern Danish theologian. In my recent book, Envisioning the Christian Society (Mohr Siebeck, 2020), I study Hemmingsen as an expert in his theological and political context. This blog post presents the book.
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 understanding of grace and of political authority, especially in the idea of the benevolent ruler.
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 Dürer and Hans Schäufelin were working on visual forms that expressed the Reformation faith. These visual expressions had quite a strong influence on the shaping of Lutheran confessional societies.
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 Christian authority and have seldom been used for historical studies. This blog entry suggests how they can be used by Early Modern historians.
What is wrong with giving only to the deserving poor? Any discomfort with the word - deserving - stems from the subjective nature of determining who are the deserving poor. The concern is that charity and generosity have become exclusive or exclusionary or it is simply not clear who is included. Yet, the sixteenth-century reformers, such as Johannes Bugenhagen, one of the three key Wittenberg reformers, had a clear sense of the deserving poor and it included more than it excluded.
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