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Pietism and the politics of catechisms: The case of Denmark and Norway in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Abstract : Pontoppidan's exposition of the church-catechism was the first general and authorized manual for teaching Christianity in Denmark and Norway, and abridged editions or extracts of Pontopiddan's exposition had for decades replaced the original text on the market. Nevertheless, the manual's main content and key concepts had remained intact. After the Eidswoll Constitution 1814, it had been decided by supreme resolution in 1818 that Pontoppidan's exposition or Saxtorph's extract of it were the authorized texts in Norway's public schools and to be used for instruction of pupils until a "new manual or new manuals in Religion might be introduced". In the following I will discuss some key concepts within Pontoppidan in relation to the manual's historical context: the Second Reformation. What kind of view of man was imprinted on the public in the period, which began in 1730s? I investigate the diffusion of the text and the context of its utilization. What kinds of attitudes about the individual, about society and the authorities were placed at the disposal of the citizens' interpretation of their environment? Finally, I focus on the conflicts in connection with the use of Pontoppidan's manual and the conflicts, which arose when the authorities tried to replace it in Norway and Denmark.
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Contributor : Emilie Wieth-Knudsen Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - 3:27:56 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 2:39:42 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 8:14:42 PM


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Henrik Horstbøll. Pietism and the politics of catechisms: The case of Denmark and Norway in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Scandinavian Journal of History, 2004, 29 (2), p. 143-160. ⟨10.1080/0346875041000622⟩. ⟨hprints-00254947⟩



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