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LUMEN publishes regularly 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 understanding of grace and of political authority, especially in the idea of the benevolent ruler.

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 Dürer and Hans Schäufelin were working on visual forms that expressed the Reformation faith. These visual expressions had quite a strong influence on…

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 Christian authority and have seldom been used for historical studies. This blog entry suggests how they can be used by Early Modern historians.

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560), Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Johann Bugenhagen, called Dr Pommer (1485-1558) (Credit: The Sackville Collection at Knole, Kent, UK)

2019.10.23 | Research

Reforming Religion Includes Poor Relief

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…

[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…

2018.09.27 | Research

Do you not know that staring is considered rude! Two dutiful nobles in a Danish parish church

After the Reformation, the Danish nobility began producing memorials featuring nobles staring directly at the congregation. In this blog entry, I will argue that these staring nobles do not just tell us about a new painting style, because the pictures can also be studied as an image of the elite’s incorporation of Lutheran confessional culture in…

Snippet of banishment case against Svend Møller and wife (Tryggevælde Mølle, Karise), 25 June 1710. Source: Ulldal 293, 4. Synodalia Rochildensia.

2018.08.27 | Research

The Social Significance of the Eucharist in Early Modern Denmark

In many ways, the practice of the Eucharist in early modern Denmark was a feature of the efforts made to build stable communities. On the one hand, participating in the Eucharist was a way of affirming and protecting the community. On the other hand, social isolation and ultimately banishment was the harshest punishment a person who neglected the…

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…

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