Protestant Legacies in Nordic Law: Uses of the Past in the Construction of the Secularity of Law

Project Participants

  • Project Leader
    University of Copenhagen
    Associate Professor in Constitutional Law, Uppsala University
    University of Oslo
    Associate professor (tenure track) in minority studies, Åbo Akademi University & Adjunct professor of religion and law research, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki

Protestant Legacies in Nordic Law: Uses of the Past in the Construction of the Secularity of Law (ProNoLa) is relevant to the HERA call by researching the conscious and unconscious uses of the Lutheran and broader Protestant past for the construction and institutionally embedding of norms and values in Nordic secular law. The overarching goal of ProNoLa is to examine relations between Lutheran majority traditions, broader Protestant theology, and the development of secular law in the Nordic region in the course of the last 500 years. Highlighting the numerous ruptures, twists and turns in the relationship between law and secularity, the project aims to provide a more complex, nuanced and critical genealogy of the negotiations of law and religion in the Nordic and German realms.

The expected outcome of the research is thus a reformulated grand history about interlinkages between Lutheran and broader Protestant theology within majority and minority churches and the secularity of the law; not only in the historic period until the Enlightenment era, but during subsequent periods into the current re-confessionalisation and internationalization of relations between religions, state and law.

ProNoLa is implemented by organizing research symposia with subsequent publications and dissemination concerning four overlapping but distinct historical periods involving transformation processes and turns; taking its point of departure in Lutheran reformation and reaching into a 21st Century religiously pluralist future. Finally, in the fifth turn, Norden meets Europe the re-telling of the grand history is presented and disseminated to a wider academic and non-academic public.

Associated Partners: 

AP 1: Anne Kristine Axelsson, The Danish Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Denmark

AP 2: Birger Nygaard, Council on International Relations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, Denmark

AP 3: Pirjo Pihlaja, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland, Finland

AP 4: Kimmo Ketola, Church Research Institute, National Church Council, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Finland,

AP 5: Ingrid Vad Nielsen, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture, Department of Church Affairs, Norway

AP 6: Jens-Petter Johnsen, Church of Norway, National Council, Norway

AP 7: Åke Göransson, Nämnden för Statlig Stöd till Trossamfund, sst, Sweden

AP 8: Cecilia Nahnfeldt, Church of Sweden, Research Unit, Uppsala, Sweden

AP 9: Dr. Küster, Bundesministerium des Innern, Germany

AP 10: Dr. Hans Ulrich Anke, Evangelische Kirche Deutschlands, Germany