The Protracted Reformation in Northern Norway


The overall objective of the project "The Protracted Reformation in Northern Norway" is to gain new insights into the progress and effects of the long-term processes of transition which were triggered off by the Reformation in northern Norway and the adjoining parts of northern Fennoscandia – in a chronological perspective stretching from the late Middle Ages to the 1700s.

By applying such a long-range perspective, we aim to clarify the more general social changes which the Reformation entailed; and to identify which factors helped shape developments in the north, with special regard to the development of church organisation and institutions, the recruitment, professional role and living conditions of the new, Lutheran priesthood, as well as the development of relations between peoples and states in the northern regions.

Our approach is a multidisciplinary one, applying the methods of history, art history, religious studies, literary studies and cultural geography, and focusing on 5 thematic fields:

  1. Church organizational and political perspective The restructuring of the church’s organization after the Reformation, and the consequences for policies followed by the states in the northern regions.
  2. The role of church art and liturgy The visual and ritual expressions for changes that can be connected to the transition from Catholic to Protestant ideals, allegories and ways of thought.
  3. Library history studies An analysis of the book collections at Trondenes church from the Middle Ages to c. 1810, aiming at clarifying the provenance, the librarian networks and possible links between bible-interpretive Renaissance literature and post-Reformation Bible commentaries.
  4. The post-Reformation’s priesthood’smaterial conditions, social position and role in the reception and interpretation of the Reformation to the ordinary people.
  5. Mission initiatives towards the Sámi during the 1600s and 1700s This will include analysis of translations of the Bible to Sámi, as well as the publication of other Christian and church writings in Sámi language during the period from the 1600s to the 1800s.

In studying these themes, we shall adopt a comparative approach, whereby developments on the Danish-Norwegian and Swedish-Finnish sides of the border will be juxtaposed, and where the political efforts of the surrounding state powers to gain control over peoples and territories in the north will be analysed from a comparative perspective. In addition, these developments will be compared to the progress of the Reformation process in Germany and Denmark.

Ansvarlig for siden: Hansen, Lars Ivar
Sist oppdatert: 09.06.2020 13:22