Is Luther behind the Nordic model of society?

Aarhus University is part of a new joint Nordic project aimed at studying the impact of Luther’s ideas about social development in Scandinavia. The project has been granted more than SEK 4 million.

2017.10.30 | Ulrik Albert Vosgerau

[Translate to English:] Martin Luther malet i 1528 af Lucas Cranach den ældre.

The household was an important theme in early Lutheranism. A new comparative research project aims to study how Luther’s ideas about the household and its mutual obligations have helped shape the Nordic ‘household state’. The project entitled “The Nordic Household State: Variations upon a Theme by Luther” has been granted SEK 4,434,000 million from the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond).

“In the Scandinavian countries, most citizens previously adhered to the same Lutheran creed. Later, these countries became advanced welfare democracies. Our joint project will carry out empirical studies that can reach solid conclusions regarding the impact of the Lutheran ‘household state’ on Nordic social development. Based on the concept of ‘household state’, the project aims to contribute a new concept for understanding the interaction between creed and social development,” says Nina Koefoed, who is an historian at Aarhus University and head of the Danish part of the project.

The household as principle idea
The joint Swedish-Danish research project focuses on how the Reformation influenced society in the 17th century, where Lutheran theology played an essential role in the establishment of strong household states.

“Two sub-projects will study how ideas about the household characterised the development in legal disputes, while two other sub-projects focus on Denmark and Sweden as ‘household states’ from more general theological and ideological perspectives. The project will thereby analyse the household as the overarching idea at various levels of society,” explains Nina Koefoed.

The project is also important to the international discussion of the social significance of Protestantism.


Facts
The project “The Nordic Household State: Variations upon a Theme by Luther” has been granted SEK 4,434,000 million from the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond).

The project is headed by Swedish church historian Urban Claesson from Dalarna University College, who also acts as coordinator for the Swedish part of the project.

Associate Professor Nina Koefoed heads the Danish part of the project, which also includes Associate Professor Gorm Harste and Associate Professor Bo Kristian Holm. All three of them are affiliated with the LUMEN Centre at Aarhus University.

The project is an extension of the project “Lutheranism and Danish social development”, funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark – Humanities, and makes it possible to compare Danish results with similar Swedish studies.

Contact
Associate Professor Nina Koefoed
Email: hisnk@cas.au.dk
Tel.: +45 87162198
Mobile: +45 28932130

Grant, Historie og Klassiske Studier, Teologi