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Title: A most Lutheran nation? : on popular religion and Eucharistic belief in post-Reformation Sweden
Author: Derlen, Eva Teresia Birgitta Andersdotter
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 4648
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This study investigates Eucharistic piety in the seventeenth-century Lutheran Church in Sweden. The Eucharistic doctrine and piety of Church leaders and laity are examined through spiritual literature, hymnody and church interiors. In order to trace the belief systems of various layers of society, the TAR method from practical theology is used. It explores theology from four perspectives: normative (official dogma), formal (the teaching of the Church), espoused (how the laity expressed their faith), and operant (lay religious practice). The investigation covers the period 1630-1700. The combined study of texts and practices demonstrates a diverse understanding of both Lutheranism and Eucharistic piety. The episcopacy phrased their instruction to the laity in a manner that went beyond the foundational sources of Eucharistic doctrine. They enriched the language of Redemption with joyous themes of Christ's mercy and fruits of the Spirit. However, they also emphasised the holiness of the church building, which was in contrast to the view of the Swedish reformers. The study reveals that the understanding of the holy seems to have its source in the sacrament of the altar and the real presence, rather than the Word and the pulpit. The laity also demonstrates diversity of Eucharistic piety. Such diversity can be identified between social orders, where the higher orders started a trend of privatisation of religion, whereas Communion in the lower orders was a concern for the community. Diversity can also be observed within people's own religious worldview. The study shows that laity outwardly adopted the Lutheran faith already in the sixteenth century; even poorer parishes made investments to celebrate the Lutheran Mass. However, in practice the same communities transmitted traditional religion, such as prayers to saints and reverence of the host, until late seventeenth century. Salvation from death was a major concern in Eucharistic piety, but so was fear of God's judgement, and, as in medieval times, a moral life and a peaceful community was necessary in order to approach Communion and an almighty God.
Supervisor: Ledger-Lomas, Michael Charles ; Ticciati, Susannah ; McGrath, Alister Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available