Aarhus Universitets segl

LUMEN’s participation in the annual meeting of American Academy of Religion

From the 23 to 26 of November, Sasja Emilie Mathiasen Stopa, Bo Kristian Holm and Nina Javette Koefoed will represent LUMEN at the annual meeting of American Academy of Religion in San Diego. They will represents results from the collective project, Lutheranism and Danish societal development, supported by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, in their session on Lutheranism and the Nordic Welfare state.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


The session addresses how the Reformation brought about a change in the perception of authorities in societies defined by a Lutheran confessional culture. The starting point of the examination is the claim that Lutheran theology pivots around a redefinition of the human relation to God, which profoundly influences the conception of interpersonal relations in the earthly realm and determines the view on authorities as God’s representatives on earth. The contributions will address how the Lutheran understanding of authority is both part of a general European discussion among Luther’s contemporaries and contain specific confessional traits influencing the societal development in the Nordic countries. They will focus on the formation, understanding and usage of the concept of authority and on social responsibilities in the period of absolutism in Denmark, which culminated in the 18th century. We will discuss how Luther’s doctrine of the three estates with its emphasis on the household as a central social unit can be interpreted as a formative social model for the Danish society. Moreover, we will analyze how the understanding of authorities on all levels of society was patterned on the role of parents as explicated in the fourth commandment, to honour your father and your mother. A central argument in this regard concerns the way that relations within the household formed the background for a synchronization of social responsibility and understanding of authority across different levels of the Danish society.

See poster here