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AIAS & LUMEN Symposium

2018.01.23 | AIAS

Date Mon 19 Mar
Time 09:30 18:00
Location The AIAS Auditorium, Building 1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C

Religion and Social Welfare. Lutheranism and Societal Development

Research has pointed to similarities in European development across confessions from the Reformation onwards, and likewise to the fact that understandings and systems of welfare within Europe today follow confessional boundaries. While the reformation changed legal responsibility for the poor in the Protestant countries, continuity from the middle ages is also obvious.

Each of the three major confessions in Europe has its specific perception of deserving and undeserving poor, of work, of social responsibility and authority, but the consequences of this in relation to poor relief and social responsibility in general have been debated.

When Max Weber developed his work on The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, he deliberately and almost exclusively drew on the reformed tradition and Calvinism. Nevertheless, there has been a strong tendency in academic work to use his results as covering both the reformed and the Lutheran countries. The aim of this symposium is to challenge this understanding of Protestantism as one and discuss the possibility of talking of a Lutheran social ethic or teaching with consequences for the development of a Nordic model for societal development and, eventually, welfare.

The symposium is the first of two to be held in collaboration between LUMEN, Center for the Study of Lutheran Theology and Confessional Societies and AIAS, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, with support from the research programs at the Department of Theology and the Department of History and Classical Studies. The symposiums will address questions central to investigations into the influence of religion on societal development and the formation of welfare states.


Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), Aarhus University, Buildings 1630-1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. See location on a map.


09:30 - 10:00  Registration and coffee  

10.00 - 10:15  Welcome

10:15 - 11:15  Professor Robert Nelson (University of Maryland): Lutheranism and the Nordic Spirit of Social Democracy. A Different Protestant Ethic.

  • Commentators:
    Mary Hilson
    Charlotte Appel

11:15 - 12:15  Professor Leen van Molle (KU Leuven): Celibacy, Courtship or Marriage? Religions in the maelstrom of Social Modernity

  • Commentators:
    Charlotte Appel
    Bo Kristian Holm

12:30 - 13:30  Lunch

13:30 - 14:30  Professor Jørn Henrik Petersen (University of Southern Denmark): Does Luther have a Paternity Case? Reflections on Luther and the Danish Welfare State.

  • Commentators:
    Bo Kristian Holm
    Mary Hilson

14:30 - 15:30  Professor Pirjo Markkola (University of Tampere): Family, Gender and Lutheranism in the 20th Century: The Case of Finland

  • Commentators:
    Andrew Newby
    Thorsten B. Olesen

15:30 - 16:00  Coffee

16:00 - 17:00  Associate Professor Nina Javette Koefoed (Aarhus University): Lutheran Authority and Social Responsibility in 18th and 19th Century Denmark.

  • Commentators:
    Andrew Newby
    Thorsten B. Olesen

17:00 - 18:00  Final discussion

  • Chair Bo Kristian Holm



The symposium is open to all, both students, researchers and other interested are welcome. To attend only the talks or part of the symposium without lunch registration is not necessary.  

To attend the symposium including lunch prior registration is necessary:


Registration deadline: 6 March 2018


Nina Javette Koefoed, Associate Professor

Email: hisnk@cas.au.dk
Phone: +4587162198 / Mobile: +4528932130

School of Culture and Society - History
Aarhus University
Jens Chr. Skous Vej 5
DK-8000 Aarhus C


Andrew Newby, AIAS Fellow, Associate Professor
Email: newby@aias.au.dk

Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B
DK-8000 Aarhus C


LUMEN - Center for the Study of Lutheran Theology and Confessional Societies

DFF - Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond

The Research programs at the Department of Theology and the Department of History and Classical Studies  



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