Affordable Access

Politische Inszenierung und Instrumentalisierung von Reformationsjubiläen im 20. Jahrhundert in Schweden

Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Publication Date
  • History And Archaeology
  • Philosophy And Religion
  • Political Science


As far back as the Early Modern period, Swedish Reformation centenaries were exploited politically. Instead of Martin Luther, the liberation from Denmark (1521) and the Declaration of the Swedish Reformation (1593) were celebrated. From 1817 and 1830, Reformation centenaries were celebrated in a more continental form, but the Confessio Augustana-Celebration was combined with the clebration of Sweden's 'apostle' St.Ansgar. Because many of Luther's writings were not translated into Swedish until the 19th century, this became the century of reading Luther in Sweden. The Reformation centenary 1917 was celebrated throughout Sweden but simultaneously, a new Bible translation was introduced that departed significantly from the traidtions of the Luther Bible. Tow years later, Luther's Small Catechism was abandoned as the foundation of Religious Education in schools. The construction of a Swedish 'Special Path' for the interpretation of the Reformation continued into the 1920s and onwards. The most important commemoration of the Reformation was celebrated in German Lützen, where a Gustav-Adolf-Chapel had been consecrated on November 6th, 1907. On November 6, 1942, in the heart of the Second World War, Archbishop Erling Eidem preached in the chapel, saying that the celebration should not be autonomous or arrogant, as if the people of Swedish, Nordic, or Germanic origin were superior to any other people or race in the world. Two days later, Dr. Eidem introduced the new Swedish rector in Berlin with a sermon on Romans 1:16 (' the Jew first, and also to the Greek.'). In Sweden, the celebrations were used to demonstrate the Swedish consensus on the Christian and the Swedish way (1941), which was understood in Swedish Reformation history as a middle course, 'to be interpreted' as the middle coruse between National Socialism and Communism (1943). Thus, Swedish Church history was exploited for both ecumenical and political purposes. it was not democracy, but religious and cultural unity that was being emphasized. A result of the 1993 Swedish Reformation Centenary was that the Church of Sweden portrayed itself as being on a particular ecumenical 'Special Path', as being Lutheran without Luther. In contrast to the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, which has been able to combine ecumencial openness with conefessional lutheranism, the Church of Sweden has emphasized its uniqueness in such a way that could risk ecclesiastical isolation on an international level. Although lacking the old national rhetoric, the emphasis on the Swedish 'Special Path' has achieved the same result as the old antional glorification within both the peace initiatives as well as in ecumenical work. As an interpretation of the German Reformation, this pathway is highly questionable.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.