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Ett utvalt släkte: väckelse och sekularisering - Evangeliska fosterlands-stiftelsen 1856-1910
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Historical Studies.
2003 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The subject of this dissertation is the confessional revivalist organisation Evangeliska Fosterlands-Stiftelsen (EFS – approximately the Swedish Evangelical Mission Society) between 1856 and 1910. EFS was founded in 1856 in a Pietistic tradition, and its aim was to revitalise from within what was seen as a too dormant State church, and also to counteract the influence of the emerging free churches.

The study has five main sections. The introductory part consists of the theoretical framework and the historical context. In the second chapter EFS’ aims and expectations are studied on a national level. The third chapter examines the content of published and distributed tracts. The fourth chapter focuses on the activities of the itinerant colporteurs, and the fifth and final part studies the work of a local EFS-congregation.

The aim of the dissertation is twofold. The first objective is to describe the transformation EFS underwent during the period studied. This process is described in terms related to Jürgen Habermas’ expression “public sphere”. When EFS was founded, as a board, it can be seen as one of other middle- and upper-class associations, and as such a part of the Swedish public sphere. By 1910 EFS had begun to move away from the Swedish State church and had become more like contemporary popular movements and free churches – it had started to take the shape of an limited alternative sphere, a denomination.

The second aim is to use EFS as an example to describe and analyse the changed perception of religion during the second half of the 19th century. This change is described as a process of secularisation. Secularisation is seen here as the process that turned religion into an individual, voluntary and optional act of faith, among other religious and non-religious alternatives, for ordinary people. Of particular interest is the paradoxical relation between revivalism and secularisation. Various revivalist movements emphasised the personal relation to God and the individual right to interpret the word of God. The individual choice for salvation was also stressed within revivalism. These movements also created new alternatives to the all-embracing State church. Thus both the position of the Church, and the universal claims of Christianity in general, were undermined.

The transformation EFS underwent is seen as an adaptation to the rise of modern society, which became more pluralistic and hence competitive during the final decades of the 19th century. This development meant that new strategies were required for religious organisations overall, in order for them to be able to compete and flourish.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Skellefteå: Artos & Norma bokförlag , 2003. , 262 p.
Keyword [en]
History, Evangeliska Fosterlands-Stiftelsen, EFS, secularisation, public sphere, confessional revival, revivalism, revivalist movement, denomination, 19th century Sweden
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-81ISBN: 91-7217-063-8OAI: diva2:144625
Public defence
2003-06-06, Hörsal F, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 13:15
Available from: 2003-06-06 Created: 2003-06-06 Last updated: 2012-09-20Bibliographically approved

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