Political theology, orthodoxy and parliamentary sermons in Sweden, 1789–1866
2016 (English)In: Parliaments, Estates and Represenation, ISSN 0260-6755, E-ISSN 1947-248X, Vol. 36, no 1, 35-53 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article investigates the concept of political theology by analysing parliamentary sermons in Sweden in the period 1789–1866. The bishops who delivered the sermons and their political contribution have received little scholarly attention, which this study is intended to remedy. Parliamentary sermons were printed and disseminated throughout the country as epitomes of the state's official ideology, which makes them important documentary evidence of past concerns. The study examines two key areas of thought evident in the sermons: the importance to the state of religious unity; and the monarch as a religious symbol. It was believed that the faith of the people and an organic relationship between church and state would provide society with a certain stability, and this view was reinforced – first by Romantic philosophy and later by confessional theology – in response to marked social challenges. Generally speaking, the state was not thought able to survive without help from the church, even as religious and political reform was underway. At start of the period in question, meanwhile, Sweden's monarchs were seen as imparting the faith to their subjects in finest Old Testament fashion; however, in the first decades of the nineteenth century this view weakened, as the foundation for a stable society was instead sought in the cooperation of king, people and God. After the 1840s, direct references to the monarchy were rare in the parliamentary sermons – from that point the king had a largely symbolic religious role in instilling the faith in his subjects and promoting the unity of the Church of Sweden.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 36, no 1, 35-53 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-110015DOI: 10.1080/02606755.2015.1049809ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84960812573OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-110015DiVA: diva2:860496