The assertion written on the Great Stone of Jelling is that it was Harold (Bluetooth) who converted the Danes to Christianity in c.965. In this comprehensive survey, Martin Schwarz Lausten charts the fortunes of the church in Denmark from its very beginnings to the present day. Starting with the pagan society of the Vikings, Lausten describes how the Danes were introduced to the new religion prior to Harald's enthronement through their contact with Christian traders and missionaries, and in the encounters of the Viking raiders with Christian culture in France and England. Drawing on a wealth of manuscript, printed and pictorial sources, the book details how Church and Royal power transformed an ancient peasant society into a typical medieval state. Following chapters examine the impact of Luther and the Reformation on Danish society, and the shift in the struggles for authority between the Church and the State. The influence of the Humanist movement and the European Enlightenment are also examined in full, together with the issues they raised such as how the Church was to speak to the modern man who no longer took at face value the authority of the Bible. Lausten brings his survey right up to current times with an overview of the nineteenth-century revivalist movements, the Danish Church's response to the Jewish question during the German occupation, through to the present day establishment of the People's Church.
'… a most thorough overview… I believe this will be the standard work from now on, for Lausten takes us from the Christianizing of Denmark in the late tenth century under King Harald Bluetooth to the present scene, a largely Lutheran, secular, yet intensely pious culture and population. For the first time, we have here a comprehensive look at the intriguing, often surprising history of the church in Denmark.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'Any scholar interested in Lutheran History and theology will find this book to be a most helpful resource.' Lutheran Quarterly 'The book is beautifully supported with ample reproductions and illustrations and is quite clear and easily accessible.' Heythrop Journal
Contents: Preface; The Middle Ages: The missionary period; The Christian kingdom; The struggle between king and archbishop; The late Middle Ages; Life in the church; The Reformation: The presuppositions for the Reformation; The Reformatory struggle; The introduction of the Reformation; Conformity; Orthodoxy: Piety strengthens the kingdoms; Luther triumphant; The state church under absolutism; Theology and Piety in the Reformation and Orthodoxy Periods: The Biblical humanists; The bright day of the gospel;The consolidation of theology; The scourge of the anger of God - and the king’s long truncheon; Devotional literature and hymnic poetry; Pietism: Pious wishes; Anti-clerical pietism; Ecclesiastical pietism; The Period of Enlightenment: Revelation and reason; The rise and fall of Struensee: the epoch of Guldberg; Court revolution and reforms; The church struggle; The 19th and 20th centuries: Back to the Bible; The first popular revival movements; N.F.S. Grundtvig; The revival movement, its expansion and divisions; The social background of the revivals; Freedom of conscience and the people’s church; SÃ¸ren Kierkegaard; The ecclesiastical fractions; The church and the social question; Theology and Christianity in crisis; Church government and church policy; The economy of the people’s church; Theology and the life of the church; The people’s church - church of the people?; Bibliography; Index.