Browsing by Subject "Reformation"

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  • Gejrot, Claes (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    This article deals with the Diarium Vadstenense, a Liber memorialis originating in Vadstena, the abbey founded by Saint Birgitta of Sweden. Written by a succession of Birgittine friars, this parchment manuscript is still preserved in its original form. It records internal, monastic events from the founding of the abbey in the second half of the fourteenth century to the time the last brother left the community, after the Reformation. Glimpses from the world outside the abbey are seen here and there throughout the text. However, during a central part of the fifteenth century, some of the entries were extended, and the writing changes character. These texts can be seen as a more or less continuous chronicle, tendentiously describing the complicated political situation in Sweden in the 1460s, a time marked by wars and conflicts. Indeed, parts of the texts were so controversial that they were later (partly) erased by a cautious medieval ‘editor’. The focus in this article will be on the time frame when the text was written, the personal views and opinions of the writers, confidentiality, political bias and censorship.
  • Pöysälä, Tuomas (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    The purpose of this study is to create a comprehensive picture of exorcisms performed on the British Isles between 1550 – 1700. By reading all of the pamphlets from England, Scotland and Ireland that include exorcism narratives, a much more varied picture is formed when compared to older studies. The end of the 16th century saw a growing conflict between the Calvin-leaning Church of England, Luther-leaning Puritans and the Roman Catholics regarding the performance of exorcisms. The Church of England saw exorcisms as an example of 'popish' superstition and denied the possibility of successful exorcisms. The dissenting sect of Puritans wanted to modernize the rite from superstitious influences and the Catholics saw the performance of exorcisms as a way to convert the laity back to the Catholic faith. The pamphlets published during the late 16th century are mostly polemic and contain extensive prefaces detailing the author's stance regarding exorcism. The Church of England was able to solidify its power and effectively disallow the clergy from performing exorcisms and drive out the Catholics at the start of the 17th century and effectively stopped the publication of both witchcraft and exorcism pamphlets as a result. However, the creation of a Protestant unity had not been succesful. The Catholic connections of King Charles I, the following civil war and interregnum around the middle point of the 17th century caused a fragmentation of religious unity and made witchcraft fears increase once again. Witchcraft pamphlet publishing saw a revival first, followed a decade later by new exorcism pamphlets. As the clerical exorcisms were still seen as 'popish' superstition, the exorcists of these new pamphlets came from the laity and medical professions. Superstitious 'white magic' cures performed by the laity, cunning-folk as they were known, made up a large portion of healing during the early modern era, so they also had to deal with demonic possession and witchcraft quite often. The witchcraft trials of England and Scotland were secular affairs due to legislation, and usually involved medical professionals in order to distinguish between natural and supernatural symptoms. Thus medical professionals had a working understanding of possession and made up the majority of the late 17th century exorcists. The fragmentation of the authority on exorcism methods in England, as opposed to the Catholic continent, meant that both the performers and the methodology became mixed; elements of old conjuration magic, superstitious spells and medicine were used side by side. The later pamphlets either told of miraculous events and cures or advertised the accomplishments of various physicians. The very end of the 17th century saw the release of heavily sceptical pamphlets, as the scepticism towards the supernatural in English society was at its highest. The most revealing were the mentions of unsuccessful exorcism attempts that usually preceded the main exorcist’s successful attempt. The pamphlets, whether they told of actual events or were works of fiction, were merely the tip of the iceberg, many attempted exorcisms were either unsuccessful or didn't even end up on print. By going beyond the previous focus on the exorcism controversy of the end of the 16th century, a very different view of the scope and depth of the beliefs in possession and exorcism and how strong they were well into the 17th century is gained.
  • Kallio, Kati; Lehtonen, Tuomas M. S.; Timonen, Senni; Järvinen, Irma-Riitta; Leskelä, Ilkka (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2017)
    Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran toimituksia
    Laulut ja kirjoitukset: suullinen ja kirjallinen kulttuuri uuden ajan alun Suomessa (Songs and writings: oral and literary culture in early-modern Finland) has been written at the crossroads of historical and folkloristic studies. Our purpose is to study the interface of literary and oral cultures in early modern Finland, focusing on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The book renews the understanding of exchange between the learned culture of clergymen and the culture of commoners, or “folk”. What happened when the Reformation changed the position of the vernacular language to literary and ecclesiastical, and when folk beliefs seem to have become an object for more intensive surveillance and correction? How did clergymen understand and use the versatile labels of popular belief, paganism, superstition and Catholic fermentation? Why did they choose particular song languages, poetic modes and melodies for their Lutheran hymns and literary poems, and why did they avoid oral poetics in certain contexts while accentuating it in others? How were the hagiographical traditions representing the international medieval literary or “great” tradition adapted to “small” folk traditions, and how did they persist and change after the Reformation? What happened to the cult of the Virgin Mary in local oral traditions? This book studies the relations and mutual influences of oral and literary cultures in Finland during the long period stretching from late Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. The Reformation, the process of turning vernacular languages into literary ones, the rise of new early-modern territorial principalities, and the reorganisation of the whole Baltic Sea area in the sixteenth century and after all affected both people’s everyday lives and the spheres of the sacred. The learned elites became interested in folk beliefs and practices as they started to argue about and order their own religious practices in a new way. Lutheran congregational singing spread from the German area to the northern Baltic Sea regions. The first Finnish sixteenth-century reformers admired the new Germanic models and avoided the Finnic vernacular Kalevala-metre idiom, while their successors picked up many vernacular traits, most notably alliteration, in their ecclesiastical poetry and hymns. Over the following centuries, the new features introduced via new Lutheran hymns such as accentual metres, end-rhymes and strophic structures were infusing into oral folk poetry, although this took place also via secular oral and literary routes. On the other hand, seventeenth-century scholars cultivated a new academic interest in what they understood as “ancient Finnish poetry”. The main source materials studied in this book are from the Reformation period and immediately after, when Finnish clergymen wrote their first comments and depictions of folk beliefs and worked to create Lutheran hymns in Finnish, and also largely from the nineteenth century, when most Finnish folk poetry and older oral traditions were collected. These later folklore materials are used here to shed light on the transformations of folk beliefs and poetic forms during the centuries that followed the Reformation. The emphasis is on the areas which formed the old medieval diocese of Turku (Swedish Åbo) or what the Swedish rulers called the province of Österland (Lat. Osterlandia, later Finlandia) west from the border of Nöteborg (Finnish Pähkinäsaari) between Sweden and the Grand Duchy of Novgorod in 1323. In addition, some other sources, especially from the Finnic and Scandinavian areas, are used as comparative material.
  • Kemppainen, Atte-Veikko (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    This thesis examines the literal debate between Thomas More (1478–1535) and William Tyndale (1494-1535) between 1528–1533. The main theme is authority and what Tyndale and More believe to be the highest authority concerning all matters of faith: The Scriptures, the Church or the King. After the historical background this thesis is divided into three analysis sections: In the first section we examine the need for English vernacular Scriptures and Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament (1525) and especially the meaning of ekklesia and presbyteros in English. In the second section we examine the foundation of the Church, infallibility of the Church, the relationship between written and unwritten word and the interpreting and defining of the Scriptures. In the third part we examine earthly authority and King Henry VIII’s divorce and Tyndale and More’s relationship with the king. The sources selected for this thesis are Tyndale’s The Obedience of a Christian man (1528), More’s A Dialogue Concerning Heresies (1529), Tyndale’s An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue (1531) and More’s Confutation to Tyndale’s Answer (1532-33). The method applied to the sources is close reading. The sources are presented in chronological order in each of the subjects and Tyndale’s and More’s views are also compared to Erasmus Desiderius and Martin Luther. Erasmus and Christian humanism is a common theological context for Tyndale and More. Tyndale was influenced by Erasmus and More was a collaborator and a friend of Erasmus. Tyndale is compared to Luther in order to examine his dependence on the German reformer. As a result this thesis shows that the highest authority concerning all matters of faith for Tyndale is the Scriptures and for More the Church. Tyndale believes that all matters that we need to know about faith have been written down and there can be no unwritten tradition or doctrine that contradicts the Scriptures. However, More believes that since Christ promised to be with his Church it is guided by his word both written and unwritten.
  • Luna-Fabritius, Adriana (2016)
    The objective of this volume is to review the validity and relevance of the concepts of "Reformation" and "CounterReformation" as categories of analysis of Catholic political thought of the xvi-xix centuries.