What Is This Thing Called Lutheranism Anyway? A Critical Perspective on the Construction of Lutheran Christianity in Sweden and Finland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


It is difficult to establish a theological continuity regarding the content of the term Lutheranism from the 16th century to the present. The construction of what we today understand to be Lutheran theology began in the late 19th century and became central to academic theology in the early part of the 20th century. By looking at the various ‘Luther renaissances’ and their motivations, this chapter argues that the construction of Lutheran faith as pure, clear and uncompromising is to a significant degree motivated by nationalistic tendencies in the Nordic societies. This ‘Lutheranisation’ of the Nordic countries was an attempt to counter the secularization of these societies, by distinguishing Lutheran faith from other types of Christianity, such as Roman Catholicism and various Free Church movements.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationOn the Legacy of Lutheranism in Finland: Societal Perspectives
EditorsKaius Sinnemäki, Anneli Portman, Jouni Tilli, Robert H. Nelson
PublisherSuomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura
ISBN (Print)978-951-858-135-5
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
  • Lutheranism
  • Martin Luther
  • Monasticism
  • Reformation
  • art history + twentieth century art + book review

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