Faculty of Theology


Recent Submissions

  • Haynes, Catherine (Helsingin yliopisto, 2023)
    Between 1851 and 1906, certain parishes in parts of the Church of England underwent significant liturgical, ecclesiological and theological change. This change, accompanied by ferocious opposition through criticism from parishioners, the press and Parliament, as well as two decades of substantial legal challenge, was the work of an originally small group of parish priests who became known as Ritualists. The thesis explores the effect of Ritualist liturgical provision for children between 1851 and 1906 on the liturgical development of the Church of England and how this came to influence its theological direction. It pursues the hypothesis that, from 1850 to 1906, through the introduction of children to ceremonial and their active involvement in worship, accompanied by theological catechesis inspired by the Oxford Movement and reinforced through manuals, prayer books and participation in the Eucharist, liturgical innovation in Church of England Ritualist parishes contributed to widespread change in Anglican liturgy and worship. By 1906 substantial change in Church of England worship, driven by the experience of young people, passed to the next generation, sowing the seeds for the Parish Communion Movement in the twentieth century. Many different groups within the Church of England aimed to attract children and meet their perceived spiritual needs, but the Ritualist party were unique in their involvement of children in liturgical worship. This study demonstrates that their methods, motivated by incarnational theology and response to pastoral need, were largely successful. The following themes explore the research question: provision of Children’s Eucharist services; introduction of children to Ritualism through music; the peculiarly Ritualist phenomenon of Catechism services; and participation of children in guilds and mission activities. These are examined in respect of the impact of Ritualist manuals for children, anti-Ritualist responses to their theological and ecclesiological standpoints, and their long-term influence upon Anglican liturgy and theology. The approach is interdisciplinary. Whilst Church historians have previously explored Ritualism, liturgical studies’ scholars have assessed the impact of liturgical innovation, and historians of childhood have researched the social world of the Victorian child, none have so far looked at the influence of children’s involvement in liturgy on the changes in Church of England worship which occurred between 1851 and 1906. The unique contribution of this research to nineteenth century Church History is underpinned by use of previously unexplored Ritualist manuals and prayer books, providing evidence which elucidates their aims and methods for teaching children to understand and participate in liturgical innovation. In 1906, the Report of the Royal Commission on Ecclesiastical Discipline conceded that it was no longer practicable to restrict Ritualist liturgical innovation by legislation. Many of the liturgical changes controversial in 1851 were, by then, accepted without question by a large number of Church of England parishes. The results of the research show that Ritualists’ involvement of children in liturgical worship had a lasting effect on the character of Anglican worship and on the theological outlook of the Church of England. Combining the disciplines of Church history, the history of childhood and liturgical studies, my examination of previously unknown primary sources demonstrates that the influence of Ritualist liturgical provision for children on the future ecclesiological direction of the Church of England was far more significant than hitherto suggested by either historians or liturgists.
  • Manninen, Eetu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This thesis analyses the development of the inner-outer distinction in the early thought of Augustine of Hippo from his conversion in 386 to his Confessiones (397–400). This is done by using the twofold method of close reading and terminological analysis. The main argument is that the changes that occurred in Augustine’s way of conceptualizing the relationship between the soul and sensible reality significantly affected his way of understanding this relationship. This study approaches Augustine’s use of the inner-outer distinction through three categories: inner-outer terminology, the terminology of return, and inner-outer imagery. Inner-outer terminology includes words for the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ (e.g., intus and foris). The terminology of return consists of metaphors that describe the human soul’s relation to sensible reality and to God as ‘movement’. According to Augustine, the soul should, for instance, ‘turn away’ (auerto) from the sensible and ‘turn to’ (conuerto) God, or ‘return’ (redeo) to God. Finally, inner-outer imagery is used by Augustine express the content of the inner-outer distinction without necessarily explicitly juxtaposing the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ or the soul’s opposite ‘movements’ with each other. The most important of such kinds of images is that of the heart (cor). The background, methodology, and outline of this thesis are explained in detail in Chapter I. I have divided my work into three parts that reflect Augustine’s chronological development. Part I includes Chapters II, III, and IV and considers the developments that occurred during the years 386–388. Chapter II analyses the first three of Augustine’s early Cassiciacum dialogues, while Chapter III is devoted to the final work from his Cassiciacum period, Soliloquia. In these works, the inner-outer distinction is almost exclusively articulated by the terminology of return. They also famously have a more negative attitude towards sensible reality than Augustine’s later works. In Chapters II and III I argue that Augustine’s negative view of sensible reality is reinforced and structured by his way of conceptualizing the soul’s relation to sensible world and to God exclusively through the terminology of return. I also contend that this conceptualization constitutes what I call the schema of return, through which Augustine thought that the soul’s ‘movement’ should be onedirectionally away from sensible reality and to God and intelligible truths. Chapter IV analyses Augustine’s post-Cassiciacum works from 387–388 and especially his considerations on sense-perception and the soul-body relationship. I observe that these works that continue to conceptualize the soul’s relation to the sensible and to God through the terminology of return at the same time contain a more positive appreciation of the body and sense-perception. I argue that this ambivalence was the principal factor behind the terminological turning-point that coincided with Augustine’s return to Africa in 388. This terminological turning-point is analysed in detail in Chapters V and VI, which constitute Part II of my thesis. The principal source of Chapter V is De magistro (389), in which Augustine laid out his famous account of learning through the presence of Christ the inner teacher in the human soul. In this dialogue and the successive works Augustine starts to use inner-outer terminology to relate the soul to sensible reality and to God. Chapter VI considers Augustine’s works from 390 and 391. In these chapters I argue that conceptualizing the soul’s relationship to sensible reality and to God through inner-outer terminology enabled Augustine to present sensible reality not only in a negative manner – as was the case in Augustine’s early use of the terminology of return – but also in neutral and even positive ways. I also maintain that treating the relationship between the soul and the sensible as an interplay of the ‘inner’ soul and ‘external’ sensible world had significant consequences for Augustine’s way of seeing the visible reality. In Chapter VI it is also argued that presenting the relationship between the soul and the sensible through inner-outer terminology also led Augustine to modify theory of sense-perception. Part III includes Chapters VII and VIII, which consider Augustine’s presbyterate and early episcopacy (years 392–396) and his Confessiones, respectively. Chapter VII focuses on the emergence of the image of the heart as an important way of expressing the inner-outer distinction. I argue that during the presbyterate Augustine increasingly used the metaphor of the heart to express the content of the inner-outer distinction, which he formerly articulated solely through the terminology of return and inner-outer terminology. It is observed that this way of presenting the inner-outer distinction mitigated the opposition between the inner and the outer. This trend is developed further in Confessiones, where Augustine stresses the soul’s inner healing through grace of God as the foundation of the inner-outer relationship between the soul and the sensible: in a sinful state, humans are dominated by worldly desires and unable to turn towards God, while when interiorly healed by God, they see the beauty of God’s creation and are enticed to turn towards God by this very beauty. It is also observed that this vision provides a structure for the totality of Confessiones. Finally, the findings of this thesis are discussed in Chapter IX. This thesis demonstrates that notable development occurred in Augustine’s way of using the inner-outer distinction, and that this development significantly affected his way of seeing the relationship between the soul and the sensible. It also contributes to our understanding of the evolution of Augustine’s thought by showing the limitations of a stark opposition between the elements of continuity and discontinuity in his intellectual development.
  • Kokkonen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This thesis examines the communication used by churches and investigates how the Finnish Lutheran Church and the Finnish Orthodox Church use branding in their communication. Church communication is examined through the frame of neoliberalism, consumerism, marketisation, and specifically branding. The key research questions are: How is branding applied in church communication? How does branding affect church communication? The purpose of this study is to provide new insights into branding within established churches. An empirical part of this thesis consists of four sub-studies, each published as articles in various national and international scientific journals. The various sub-studies apply different datasets and questions, but ultimately all focus on the same central theme: examining and interpreting communication through the theoretical lens of branding. The first article, “Church as a Brand? Branding in the Communication Strategies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland in 1992–2020” (orig. Kirkko brändinä? Suomen evankelis-luterilaisen kirkon brändäys viestintästrategioissa vuosina 1992–2020) studied the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s communication strategies published in the years 1992, 2002, 2007, and 2016, and observed how marketing was applied in those cases. The second article, titled "Adopting Marketing Communications: Publicity Campaigns in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland", examined the Lutheran Church's publicity campaigns during the parish elections, held every four years, between 1992 and 2018. It was concluded that advertising campaigns in parish elections began as an experiment with a marketing agency in 1998, and that the Church uses meaning-making in its campaigns by highlighting a selected ‘brand story’. The third article, “The Dichotomy of Branding: Discourses in the Orthodox Church of Finland”, investigated branding discourses in the Finnish Orthodox Church. In this article, the Church´s communication workers were interviewed, and the strategies documents were discussed. It was observed that the discourses involved are diverse and overlap and sometimes contradict each other. The identified discourses simultaneously defend the core of the Church, make use of marketing methods, and establish that the Church is unsuitable for marketing purposes. The fourth article, titled "Established Churches in the Social Media: The Case of the Finnish Churches", included information from both the Lutheran and Orthodox churches, as their social media presence was examined. In addition to the general social media review, a total of 156 posts from official Facebook pages were analysed. It was concluded that, on this particular social media platform, both churches operate very similarly: the dominant discourse focused on education about church life and Christianity. In this study it is argued that established Finnish churches negotiate their communication and modify marketing processes in order to represent themselves in the public sphere. As a result, earlier findings regarding established Nordic churches applying marketing techniques, how their discourse is affected by the process of marketisation, and how communications are reformed according to marketing principles are supported. In addition, there are several processes involved in communication that can be better understood through the lens of branding. Based on the data and observations gathered from the sub-studies, it is suggested that the studied churches construct their communication by applying ideas and models of marketing, and specifically branding; although the term "branding" is rarely used, and as a practice is never fully adopted. Throughout the case studies and the empirical chapters of this study, it is demonstrated how the churches apply branding in various ways: they use some methods, avoid others, make use of what is appropriate for them, and reject those that are not. It is suggested that this process that takes place between church communications and marketing communications is best described as a negotiation, since the studied churches have special characteristics that require reconfiguring their communication methods. The need for the churches to be visible and recognizable is operationalized through the portrayal of stories and the identification of their purpose through narrative presentation.
  • Seppänen, Anna Martta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Corporate volunteering is a particularly ethically sensitive form of corporate social responsibility: it involves personal engagement of employees and recipients alike – the latter often being in a disadvantaged position. The task of the study was to analyse the ethical questions associated with corporate volunteering by paying attention to the distinctively relational nature of the practice. The study answers four research questions: 1) Should corporate volunteering be contextualised as a special case of non-profit volunteering or as a corporate social responsibility practice, and what are the ethically relevant consequences of the contextualisation? 2) What conceptual apparatus is needed for an ethical analysis that grasps the distinctively relational nature of corporate volunteering? 3) Which ethically relevant elements, events and experiences surface when corporate volunteering is scrutinised from relational perspective? and 4) Which ethical principles apply when the relational nature of corporate volunteering is considered, and how do these principles translate into analysis tools for ethical evaluation of corporate volunteering? The methodological approach is ethical-empirical analysis. I constructed normative ethical analysis tools by utilising Paul Ricœur’s version of contemporary philosophical recognition theory. I brought the moral-philosophical apparatus to dialogue with an empirical case study of a Finnish corporate volunteering project related to promoting financial skills in underprivileged young adults. The data consists of group interviews with recipients, interviews with corporate volunteers, an interview of the project manager, observational notes, and text documents regarding the project. I argue that contextualising corporate volunteering exclusively as a special case of non-profit volunteering may lead to deficient ethical analysis as the ethically relevant implications of the commercial context may remain ignored. Yet, the current theories of corporate social responsibility do not provide sufficient means for the relationally sensitive ethical analysis of corporate volunteering. I suggest that and intersubjective view of humanity is an important prerequisite of relationally sensitive ethical analysis. As a result of my analysis, I argue that corporate volunteering can be interpreted as an arena of recognition-relationships, and that philosophical recognition theory does provide appropriate tools for ethical analysis. Recognising oneself as a capable human being is also an adequate normative aim for the practice of corporate volunteering. I contend that the concept of gift as a form of mutual recognition grasps the distinct ethical fragilities of corporate volunteering. Corporate volunteering also creates a potential context for experiences of misrecognition and other recognition failures. My study presents three sets of analytical tools for the ethical evaluation of corporate volunteering.
  • Hyytiäinen, Pasi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    In the past three decades, the usage of computer-assisted stemmatological methods has increased in New Testament textual criticism, affecting all subsequent critical editions. These are not a unified group of methods but a wide variety of techniques using computers and tree (or network) structures to depict the relationships between manuscripts. In this dissertation, different computer-assisted methods are applied to the manuscript tradition of the Acts of the Apostles in three peer-reviewed articles. The first two articles test two existing stemmatological approaches widely used in the field, the Coherence- Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) and the phylogenetic analysis of manuscripts. These analyses point to complicated interrelationships between manuscripts of Acts that cannot be depicted using simple tree structures. Instead, the tradition can be depicted (to some extent) using networks that are applied, for example, to cluster manuscripts. The network methods are often based on distance calculations between manuscripts. Critics have long calculated these distances using collations and variation units, which take considerable time and limit the number of manuscripts taken into the analysis. The third article introduces a new method and a software package named Relate to establish quantitative relationships between manuscripts. The proposed method aims to be more efficient than any existing techniques. The preliminary assessments show that the results of the method are compatible with those of conventional techniques but take only a fraction of the time. The introductory material introduces an evolutionary theoretical framework to the manuscript tradition of Acts. It uses models from cultural evolution to explain the phenomena seen in the manuscripts. Previous stemmatological studies have shown that the phenomena and problems of textual criticism are like those of evolutionary biology. These parallel phenomena have enabled critics to use sophisticated phylogenetic applications in textual criticism that were originally developed to study biological evolution. This dissertation investigates the interdisciplinary possibilities that evolutionary biology and cultural evolution can offer to textual criticism. Even though some New Testament textual critics would prefer to abandon all the clustering paradigms in the field, the analysis conducted here, particularly in the second article, reveals that these suggestions are premature. The survey also demonstrates that it is possible to consider all textual evidence in each manuscript tradition of the New Testament by giving a more prominent role to digital techniques in stemmatological analysis.
  • Giantzaklidis, Ioannis (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The Fate of the Nations is an exegetical study attempting to resolve the seemingly incompatible fates of the nations in Revelation. At first, John describes the nations as being destroyed in battle (Rev. 19:11-21; 20:7-10) whereas later he portrays them on the new earth bringing their honour and glory to God (Rev. 21:24-26). An analysis of the battle in Rev. 19:11-21 demonstrates that the nations are indeed destroyed. John constructs his narratives by borrowing mainly Hebrew Bible imagery that was already militant in its nature and intensifies it. John also universalizes the effects of the battle. After the battle, the earth is left desolate as a vast battlefield full of unburied corpses. The image of a deserted earth, left in an orderless, chaotic state is supported by John’s understanding that the redeemed have been moved to heaven as the bride of the Lamb. With his armies obliterated, his chief allies—the false prophet and the beast—thrown into the lake of fire, Satan is left alone on the devastated earth. Satan’s confinement on the desolate earth is his binding, which takes place at the beginning of the millennium. Satan is unable to deceive the nations during the millennium precisely because all the wicked nations have been killed. The nations cannot repent during the millennium because they are dead. At the end of the millennium a resurrection takes place that repopulates the earth. Satan once again has subjects to deceive and therefore his imprisonment ends. Satan and his followers surround the beloved city that descends from heaven but are devoured by fire from heaven. The event is repeated by John as a judgement scene in Rev. 20:11-15. In both accounts, no calls for repentance are issued for the nations, no change of heart is recorded, and the outcome is only negative portrayals of judgement. The most prominent imagery of judgement appears to be the lake of fire. This term, representing the final, irreversible fate of the wicked, as well as the expression second death, has its roots in Egyptian mythology and the Book of the Dead in particular. Once again, no opportunities for repentance are given to the nations. The theory that somehow the nations repented during the millennium cannot be supported from John’s text. On the new earth, John transforms his symbols and the nations are no longer a symbol of God’s enemies but rather a symbol of the believers. Specific rewards that elsewhere in Revelation are promised to the believers, such as access to the tree of life (Rev. 2:7) and admittance into the new Jerusalem (Rev. 22:14), are given to the nations on the new earth (Rev. 22:2; 21:24-26). In addition, on the new earth John calls the believers God’s peoples (Rev. 21:3) rather than people, thus underscoring their ethnic diversity. The nations’ pilgrimage to the temple is an image of worship and evidence of their uninhibited access to God. Those who were excluded from worshipping in the temple or faced persecution in the synagogues on account of being gentiles in the old world can enter the new Jerusalem to offer their glory and honour to God freely on the new earth.
  • Rautalahti, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    In this thesis, I investigate the representations and encounters of religion, or the religion-like aspects that digital games and culture afford today. The thesis asks how contemporary intersections with video games and gamer narratives enter into a confluence with religion and non-religion, using two distinct approaches. The key research questions studied in the framework of digital game studies, popular culture studies, and the study of religion are: How is religion constructed and represented in recent mainstream digital games from a game-immanent frame, and how do players encounter religion or religion-like aspects in recent mainstream digital games from an actor-centred frame? The research questions are applied through mapping new cultural occurrences and employing a theoretical sociological approach towards contemporary popular culture and religion. What notions do these approaches bring forth when discussing how meaningfulness or meaning-making occurs in popular culture today? The empirical part of the thesis consists of four sub-studies published in separate articles. 1 Video Games Facilitating Discussions of Good and Bad Religion 2 Disenchanting Faith—Religion and Authority in the Dishonored Universe 3 “How video games changed my life”: Life-Changing Testimonies and The Last of Us 4 Non-religious Players Asking Big Questions: Video game worlds affording affinities of meaningful encounters Each sub-study utilizes different datasets and methodology. However, they adhere to a shared epistemology and twofold approach of enquiry, focusing on content and reception. A game-immanent and actor-centred approach divides the two distinct viewpoints of focusing on study data, which consists of video games and player narratives. Based on these approaches, it is found that religion and religion-like aspects are encountered in digital games as conversational cues for potential religion criticism, however games that are considered meaningful by players provide an immense amount of support in difficult life events, bring together emerging communities, and aid in contemplations on life’s big questions. The thesis presents novel findings in reading and examining video games, critically commenting on a Western scheme of representations of imagined organized religions. I interpret the observed critical views that digital games represent as contemporary cultural discussions and re-negotiations of the societal place of religion. The data brings forth discourses on categorical discussions on research on religion, and non-religion in contemporary meaningful communities. In addition, the thesis reveals new observations on contemporary religious landscapes that speak of a post-religious environment relating to research on non-religion, existential cultures, and meaningmaking, which has also been supported by previous research on meaningful video game player encounters. Games challenge institutional religion, but simultaneously do not shy away using and imagining religion as one way to contemplate life’s deep and big questions. Games themselves, whether their stories have religion representations or not, afford reflective thought in players on big questions. In addition, the aim of the thesis is to increase awareness of experienced meaningful encounters with popular culture as an important and paramount part of constructing life worlds and post-secular thought. One result of contemporary meaning-making is what the thesis headline suggests: “I would rather contemplate big questions”, than religions.
  • Kapanen, Timo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    THE VOICES OF FREEDOM OF HUNGARY Kotimaa and Församlingsbladet as Sympathizers of the Hungarians throughout the Uprising in 1956 and the Restructuring of the Hungarian Lutheran Church in 1957–1958 The dissertation explores the writings of Kotimaa and Församlingsbladet about Hungarian Lutherans and political events in Hungary during the Hungarian Uprising of October–November 1956 and the subsequent debriefing period, which lasted at least till the end of 1958. The study is divided into two phases according to the most intense events in Hungary, the first being the uprising with its immediate aftermaths, and the second the events that soon were to follow. The latter period began in the pages of the newspapers in December 1957. Within a year the Communist state had accomplished those changes in the Hungarian Lutheran Church it endeavoured. Both of the newspapers expected Hungary to become a country of further political rights and of increased freedom of expression and religion. And they keenly kept eye, e.g. on the fate of a prominent Hungarian Lutheran dissident, Bishop Lajos Ordass. The dissertation consists of four articles. The core questions that link the articles together are how the papers Kotimaa and Församlingsbladet tackled Hungary and its Lutherans throughout the 1956 uprising and the 1957–1958 restructuring of the Church, and how they expressed their stance. Furthermore, the study analyzes how extensive this coverage was, and how it was influenced by the political conditions in Finland? For example, did the newspapers rather avoid topics and interpretations that might have turned out sensitive in the context of the Finnish official Foreign policy? Henceforth, the dissertation sheds light on the attitude of the newspapers to the changes in Hungary in relation to Finland’s Eastern policy. It is also essential to examine the intentions behind the articles: why did the papers write this way? Here, the question of what kind of conscious and unconscious standpoints are included in the newspaper articles is of great importance. Therefore, this dissertation includes a limited investigation of the Cold-War-era politics in both Hungary and Finland. Kotimaa was the most influential of all Finnish Ecclesiastical newspapers in the 1950s, and it functioned as a semi-official spokesperson for the Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran Church. Its political sphere of influence stretched far beyond the ecclesiastical environment; its readership and contributors included representatives from different sectors of society. The newspaper was published twice a week and had a circulation of around 50 000 issues. The other ecclesiastical newspaper, Församlingsbladet, appeared once a week. It was a similar publication for Finnish-Swedish public as Kotimaa was for Finnish-speakers. In relation to the Swedish-speaking population in Finland its circulation was as wide as was Kotimaa’s among Finnish-speaking readers. Församlingsbladet’s writings during the respective era are included in the analysis, thus enabling a comparison with Kotimaa. The newspapers reported on the events of the uprising up to date; they also exhorted people to help Hungary through various fundraising activities. The events in Hungary attracted a great deal of sympathy among the citizens, and a desire to help victims in Hungary and refugees who had left the country. An illustrative example of the impact of the news papers was the 1956 Sunday of Christ the King offering for Hungary. Both newspapers actively advertised it, and a record high amount of donations was gathered. Both newspapers followed the political and ecclesiastical circumstances in Hungary with great interest. As Lutheran newspapers, they were particularly interested in the country’s Lutherans, and closely monitored their situation. Compared to Kotimaa, the interest of Församlingsbladet in Hungary was based on diverse intentions and motivations. While both of the papers kept eye on Bishop Ordass, the Human Rights elements in Hungary, freedom of religion, and aiding Hungary, due to its earlier profile as an advocate of the Diocese of Porvoo and generally of a separate Finnish-Swedish identity Församlingsbladet did not show interest in Bishop Zoltán Túróczy, who was popular among Finnish-speakers and who had created close ties with the “körtit”, a pietistic Revivalist movement in Finland. Nor was Församlingsbladet inspired by the ideas of Finnish nationalist circles about Hungary as a kin nation. Thus, during the events in Hungary, Församlingsbladet was much more oriented in civil rights, freedom of thought, Lutheranism and minority issues. On the other hand, the status as a minority publication with scarce resources didn’t enable larger news coverage. The newspapers tended to support freedom of religion and freedom of thought in Hungary, and the country’s contacts with the West during the changing societal conditions. They employed the Cold-War-era rhetoric – the West was the “free world”. Despite the terminology, they also criticized the inaction of the “free West” in regards to Hungary. The Soviet armed invasion and the consequent demise of the uprising the newspapers reported with a cautious shock. The papers had domestic political objectives alike, e.g. Kotimaa equated the Hungarian Uprising with the Winter War experienced by Finns: the first catered yet for an example of the significance of the nation’s spiritual and political unity. Kotimaa was posted to its Hungarian readers literate in Finnish, and thus, the paper served as a news source and channel beyond the Iron Curtain. It transmitted such informa- tion from the West to Hungary that otherwise might have been censored. This role of Koti­ maa did not limit to its Finnish-speaking recipients, as it was further relayed in Hungarian by and among the ecclesiastical opposition. Hand-written summaries and oral communication of the information resembled the “samizdat”-phenomenon that later became more popular. Summaries of the Kotimaa articles were also compiled for Lutheran circles close to the Communist Hungary´s official institutions, the security authorities included. The multifaceted influence of Kotimaa in Hungary was therefore not limited to ecclesiastical opposition circles; also, Government’s stooges utilized the newspaper for their own purposes. The Government’s grip on the Lutheran church started to tighten from the end of November 1957 through December 1958. The altering situation attracted the interest of both Kotimaa and Församlingsbladet. This phase crystallized into the struggle of Bishop Lajos Ordass for the latitude of freedom of his Church. After the dismissal of Ordass at the end of June 1958, or no later than with the Night Frost crisis (Yöpakkaskriisi, from August 1958 till January 1959) in Finland, Kotimaa’s policy became more cautious. Församlingsbladet ceased to actively cover Hungary after the article on Ordass’ dismissal. The Editorials of both newspapers, and the Causeries of Kotimaa, abstained from overtly mentioning the Hungarian Lutheran Church; in leading articles, the ecclesiastical situation in Hungary was no further discussed. The removal of Ordass was implicitly relayed to the audience, without naming the bishop in question. Although the ecclesiastical situation in Hungary finished constellating the Editorials, on the eve of the Finnish Parliamentary Elections of Summer 1958 the leading articles of both newspapers did not hesitate to covertly remind the public of the country’s fate as a showcase of the Communist threat. Kotimaa continued its communication about Hungary covertly by publishing suitable excerpts and translated articles from other newspapers and magazines. These included very sharp stances which the newspaper had carefully selected to fit its own standpoints. As Hungary’s circumstances had changed, to better avoid censorship Kotimaa applied a more precautious policy – thus succeeding to maintain the role of an information provider. Keywords: Kotimaa, Församlingsbladet, censorship, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, Hungary, Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Hungary, Hungarian Uprising of 1956, Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Lajos Ordass, Zoltán Túróczy
  • Korhonen, Timi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This study concerns the theology of image, artworks, and icons. My study is ecumenical: I analyze questions, possibilities, and tensions between Lutheran and Orthodox theologies of images. I narrow my focus to a systematic analysis of six theologians from the twentieth century. Pavel Florensky, Leonid Ouspensky, and John Meyendorff are Orthodox. Robert Jenson, Hans-Eckehard Bahr, and Martin Lönnebo are Lutherans. This enables comparison within and between two churches on questions of the theology of images. Furthermore, I evaluate the presented thoughts and theologies in the light of traditions of dominations, ecumenical conclusions, and common sense. This study belongs to the field of practical theology. It includes pictures of paintings. Through them, I analyze and demonstrate the thoughts of my chosen theologians. Besides this, the theology of images concerns dogmatics, ecumenism, aesthetics, philosophy of religion, and church history. My central question is about the relationship between an image and its object. This denotes the ontology of image and the presence of spiritual reality in the material image. I utilize the concepts weak and strong theology of image to express degrees of ontological strength and modes of the presence of holiness in images. In general, the Lutheran Church represents a weak theology of images, and the Eastern Orthodox Church, a strong theology. I find that Lutherans and Orthodox share a common premise on the possibilities of Christian images based on Christ’s incarnation. Hence, both churches reject iconoclasm. Yet, I remark that the Lutheran position usually approaches iconoclasm. The Orthodox theologians of this study belong to the icon revivalist movement. I reproduce this movement’s opposition between sacred and Orthodox icon art and corrupt Western art. I foreground the ecumenical challenges, strengths, and weaknesses of this narration. Ouspensky´s theology of icons is convincing and coherent, yet ecumenically challenging and inadequate. Furthermore, he builds his theology of icons on narrow Orthodox tradition. Meyendorff’s neo-Palamism is positive towards images and in line with the Orthodox tradition of images. However, Palamism highlights mystical and direct encounters with God that underline the tensional position of icons in Orthodox theology. Pavel Florensky’s philosophized and Slavophile Christianity appears to be an outdated and ecumenically challenging position. Nevertheless, Florensky represents general Orthodox mystical theology, where icons, symbols, and theology of sight are central. Robert Jenson and Martin Lönnebo endorse traditional Orthodox icons in the Lutheran context. Thus, their thought creates ecumenical possibilities between Lutherans and Orthodox. They also converge with the theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church in questions of saints, the Virgin Mary, and tradition. Lönnebo’s habit of drawing wisdom from various traditions appears to be a theological richness. However, at times his theology remains on a general level between Lutheran and Orthodox theology. Jenson is critical of Eastern Orthodox Church theology, not least on icons. His position on a temporal God remains ecumenically noteworthy, yet unfinished. Jenson’s position may be generalized to Lutheran loneliness in the theology of images: renaissance, modern art, and Eastern Christian tradition remain incompatible with Lutheran theology. Hans-Eckehard Bahr practices theology in dialogue with modern art. His approach is mostly strong and based on Lutheran tradition. Bahr tries to understand the autonomous character of art, not forgetting Christian dogmas on God, Christ, or salvation. Bahr’s positive Christian theology of images remains weak because he mainly concentrates on criticizing aesthetical and theological theories. He notices images that reveal the world’s terrible state without the gospel but is less able to witness Christian resurrection and joy through art. Bahr calls traditional theology of icons idolatry. Moreover, his neo-Kantian and existential position denotes the rejection of any metaphysics. This theology is occasionally outdated and liturgically weak. I demonstrate that shared tradition and faith in the Bible, Trinitarian God, and Christ does not solve all questions and disagreements on images. The pivotal question concerns the Seventh Ecumenical Council and its decision to venerate icons against iconoclasts. Jenson and Lönnebo accept this council, yet with restrictions. Bahr does not mention the council or build his theology of image on it. In my study of six theologians, I prove that there are several background factors and preconditions behind the practice of utilizing images in a Christian context. Great, yet often subconscious metaphysical notions define a place for single paintings. Hence, challenge the theology of images sets for ecumenical relations between the Lutheran Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church concerns other tensions, for example, regarding salvation and tradition. Central factors behind the churches´ theologies of image are Lutheran theology of the cross and the complex relationship between Orthodox theology and Platonism. Keywords: image, icon, Eastern Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church, ecumenism, ontology, art, symbol, tradition, iconoclasm, Platonism
  • Lampinen, Erkki Olavi Ilmari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    “Avaa suusi, Herra puhuu!” Vanhoillislestadiolaisen herätysliikkeen (SRK) suviseurasaarnojen 1960 – 1979 kielellinen, opillinen ja kirkollisyhteiskunnallinen sisältö. “Open your mouth, the Lord speaks!” The linguistic, doctrine and ecclesiastic-societal contents of the 1960-1979 Summer Service sermons of the Conservative Laestadian revivalist movement  Erkki Lampinen The University of Helsinki, Finland The hypothesis of the research paper was to form a general view of the contents of the Conservative Laestadian (CL) sermon, as well as study the societal breakthrough and the effects of internal crises within the CL-movement during the decades of research. The aim of this study was to depict the contents of the sermons with the help of three research topics. The dimensions of the research were: 1. The usage of religious language, imagery, metaphors, and rhetorical devices in the religious communication of the sermons. 2. The doctrine emphasis of the sermons in a time-historical context. 3. The Conservative Laestadian revivalist movement in relation to society and the Evangelical Lutheran church at the time of research. The source material of the research consisted of 562 sermons. The sermons and their examples were selected by topic into either dogmatic pieces or ones considering society and church relations. The research involved homiletics and homiletical analysis which included both systematic, dogmatic, and church historic aspects.  The research unfurled the sermon and sermon culture of the Conservative Laestadian revivalist movement. The explanations of the sermons’ biblical texts were upheld with religious and non-religious metaphors as well as imagery. The recurring themes of the sermons, such as descriptions of sin, mercy, God’s kingdom, the Gospel, the End Times, and eternity, formed into the core metaphor of the research. One of the most meaningful topics regarding the core metaphors of the Conservative Laestadian revivalist movement was the Gospel’s declaration of absolution that, according to research, seems to have been included in every sermon.  Mentions of the internal crises of the revivalist movement remained minimal in the sermons. The 1961 dispersion is only mentioned in a few speeches. However, the dispersion was doctrinally more extensive and eventually culminated into congregational teaching. Sermons regarding congregational teaching gave an impression of an exclusive congregational perception. When moving to the 1970s topics of television, ale, child restraint and so-called treatment convent topics like “Canon law”, sports and culture as well as “spiritual teaching” and “room governing teaching” (fin. huoneenhallitusoppi). From single topics the television gained significant attention in the 1970s sermons. The sermons also talked about righteousness and confession.  The authorities’ relationship of the Conservative Laestadian movement is a respectful allegiance. Politics weren’t discussed in the sermons, but the topic does get recognized in the CL-movement. Religion and politics wanted to be kept separate, but the obscurity of the resources put into anti-leftist work and the effects on the sermon activities eventually became harmful. The relations to the Evangelical Lutheran church are seen as ambivalent because the movement wanted to be a part of the church, but the exclusive congregational perception caused tension between the church and the CL-movement. Ecumenism, the principles of which weren’t accepted in the movement, was also talked about in the sermons.  Sermons and their language have been under constant modification. The research gave an idea of this change even though the transition time from the 1960s to the 1970s is short in this analysis. The change of generations in preachers seems to have influenced the linguistic expressions of the sermons. The language became more mundane and factual instead of the poetic imagery that were seen especially in the transcendent description of 1960s sermons. In conclusion and as a result we can note: the main focus of the sermons was declaration of the Gospel as well as encouragement for bettering oneself, which was meant as an invitation for those outside the movement. This focus stayed consistent to the Conservative Laestadian teachings from one sermon to another. Not the CL-movement’s internal crises nor the harmful societal influences from the movements point of view seemed to sideline this declaration of the sermons’ main focus.
  • Korpela, Sampsa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Contemporary research on God’s relationship to time is centered around a dichotomy between God’s timelessness and temporality. In this dissertation, I argue that the ways in which both God’s timelessness and temporality are formulated in contemporary theology have their own shortcomings. A serious problem with God’s timelessness is the failure to incorporate the existence of the real flow of time and alternative possible futures. This is due to the theory of time associated with God’s timelessness: the block universe theory, which is the mainstream interpretation of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. According to the block universe theory, time is one of the four dimensions of spacetime, and thus all moments of time, from the beginning to the end of the universe, are equally real. Since there are no alternative possible futures, incorporating human free will into the concept of spacetime is difficult. Lack of free will precludes moral responsibility, and thus the block universe theory is theologically problematic. On the other hand, a serious problem with God’s temporality is the difficulty of reconciling it with the concept of spacetime. The problem follows from the theory of time associated with God’s temporality: presentism, according to which only the present moment is real, and thus spacetime cannot be real. Since the concept of spacetime is central in contemporary physics, any theory that precludes spacetime is in conflict with physics. Thus, there are good reasons to look for an alternative formulation of God’s relationship to time. The central insight of my dissertation is that the problems caused by the block universe theory and presentism are resolved but their central strengths are retained when an alternative theory of time—the implicate order theory—is applied. The implicate order theory unifies the ontologies of quantum physics and the theory of relativity in the framework of quantum field theory, which is the most advanced theory in contemporary physics. The concept of potentiality, which is central in the implicate order theory, enables the unification of the concept of spacetime with the real flow of time and the existence of alternative futures. The future pre-exists as quantum potentialities in the implicate orders, from which spacetime emerges. Thus, the future of spacetime is in a branching state. Theories of branching spacetime are well-known in philosophy of time, but in theological research they have not received the attention they deserve. In the two last chapters of the dissertation, I analyze how the implicate order theory enables resolution of the problems of contemporary research on God’s relationship to time. By applying branching spacetime, the most central problems of the research—the lack of spacetime associated with God’s temporality and the lack of human free will associated with God’s timelessness—are resolved. I also briefly analyze the possibilities that the implicate order theory opens up for defining four key theological concepts that are closely related to God’s relationship to time: divine foreknowledge, divine action, divine providence, and creatio ex nihilo. Another central conclusion is that by applying the implicate order theory, a new kind of synthesis of theology and science can be constructed, based on the most advanced scientific theories.
  • Rantala, Hannu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This study examines sociality in the boundary areas of communities. A boundary area is an area where individuals and communities meet or separate. The research assignment is to study how communal and individual affiliation and disaffiliation manifest in individual experiences in the boundary areas of three communities that have disaffiliated from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The research assignment is examined through two questions. First, how have the communal disaffiliation and formation of a community occurred in three communities developed on the outskirts of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland? Second, how has the individual’s disaffiliation from a community and affiliation to a community happened as described and experienced by individual interviewees? The communality of late modernity is diverse, and the boundary areas of communities have become porous. A porous boundary area signifies an area where an individual’s social affiliation to the community is easy. The objects of this research are three communities that have formed during the crumble of the religious monopoly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The communities are Markus-yhteisö (nowadays Pyhän Markuksen luterilainen seurakunta) in Helsinki, Satamaseurakunta in Jyväskylä, and Toivon portti -seurakunta of Uuden toivon seurakuntien uskonnollinen yhdyskunta (former Nokia Missio Church) in Tampere. The research material consists of documents from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office and theme interviews of 20 people. The documents from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office are used as a source for the formation of the communities. Secondly the study focuses on the religious language used by the interviewees and their descriptions of affiliation, disaffiliation, and commitment. The research shows, that the community’s boundary area is a concept that can be used to explain the social phenomena of the encounter between an individual and the community. The situations in the community formation have generated mythical stories about the birth of the community. In this study, these stories are called the communities’ genesis narratives. The genesis narratives describe and shape the boundary areas after the community has been formed. In the research analysis, a moment is found across all studied communities which in this study is called the community’s we-ness moment. The we-ness moment is a special area in the community’s boundary area, where, for individuals, the justification for the existence of the community becomes a reality and the community exists for the individual in real and imaginary terms. This study questions the idea that religious conversion is a one-off border crossing to a new religious community. In a late modern society, individuals move in different boundary areas of communities, whereupon a conversion is a continuous process and continuous building of religious identity. For an individual, affiliation to a community, disaffiliation from a community, and commitment to a community can occur simultaneously. In the current situation, a discussion about the decline in the number of members in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is a discussion beside the point. People’s religious identity is not built in an either-or situation but in a both-and situation. This is connected to the question of the moral responsibility of the leadership of religious communities to the people involved in the community.
  • Tyynelä-Haapamäki, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The doctoral dissertation Constructing Episcopal Sainthood in Late Medieval Sweden: The Cases of Brynolphus Algoti and Nicolaus Hermanni examines the canonization process cases of two medieval Swedish bishops, Brynolphus Algoti of Skara (ca. 1240–1317) and Nicolaus Hermanni of Linköping (1325/26–1391). The research asks how their sainthood was constructed – how on one hand traditional saintly features were applied to them, and on the other hand how the memories of their contemporaries and historical events were interpreted and employed to affirm the holiness of the late bishops. Both Brynolphus’s and Nicolaus’s cases were opened at the Council of Constance in 1416, a century after Brynolphus’s death but only a quarter of a century after Nicolaus’s demise. Preliminary hearings were carried out in their home dioceses the following year. This research compares the cases of Brynolphus and Nicolaus with each other and includes a close reading of their canonization process texts, the earlier hagiography of Nicolaus, and historical documents and letters. Earlier research has mainly focused on the miracle collections and what they reveal about medieval lived religion and the formation of the cults of saints. This study examines how the saints’ lives were transformed into hagiographic lives, how historical and personal incidents intertwined with the literary conventions of the hagiographic genre and traditional saintly features, and what was emphasized and what was concealed. Both cases share similar attributes and features connected to the bishops, such as asceticism and defending the rights of the Church against the rulers of the realm, but the comparison between Brynolphus and Nicolaus shows the different natures of their sainthood. Nicolaus is an example of a contemporary saint, whose hagiographers were not free to portray him only through conventional saintly features, as the memories of contemporary witnesses had to be considered as well. Brynolphus’s case lacks contemporary witnesses and therefore his saintly image is more conventional and without many details in the depositions. In Nicolaus’s case, many witnesses are eager to share their own memories or what they had heard from someone close, but the witnesses of Brynolphus’s case rely mostly on general knowledge, miraculous tales, and Brynolphus’s administrative legacy. The research shows the multifaceted nature of sainthood, with the life and deeds of a putative saint being only one aspect. The community around the saint was crucial in the success of the new cult. The chapters of Skara and Linköping were the foremost promoters of Brynolphus’s and Nicolaus’s cults, and the hagiographies had not only the aim to canonize their holy bishop but also didactic elements towards the clergy and laypeople. In both cases, the Vadstena Abbey and the Birgittines played a part, and in Nicolaus’s case yet another cluster of memory among the witnesses included his relatives, who could add another level of personal memories to their depositions. This study contributes to the research on sainthood, hagiographies, and medieval masculinities. It offers new perspectives and conclusions on how communities behind the cult constructed the sainthood of their bishops, but also how the hagiographies contain details and memories of the saint’s actual life.
  • Myllys, Riikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Since the beginning of the 21st century, crafts have attracted an increasing number of women around the world. It has moved from the private space of the home to the public space for all to see. That is talked about as the second coming of craft-making or the craft boom of the 21st century. In this dissertation, I study Finnish women's craft-making from the point of view of everyday religion. The study is sparked by two craft-related phenomena: handicrafts as yoga or meditation, and the traditional ecclesiastical craft activity. Reflecting the religiosity of women in their respective directions – and the social change of religion more broadly – together it is possible to reach many dimensions of religious activity and thinking of this time. The theoretical framework of the study is lived religion and everyday religion, which enables to study the religious dimensions of everyday activity. The data consists of the year-long observation of four craft groups and the interviews of 16 women who participated in the groups. The dissertation consists of three separate publications and the summary article. The first publication focuses on the agency involved in craft-making and its possible obstacles. The second separate publication deals with the religious and non-religious spiritual dimensions of making crafts. The third separate publication examines the intergenerational transmission of craft-making. In this summary article I answer the question of what Finnish women's craft-making is like from the point of view of everyday religion. The dissertation shows that by distinguishing between their activities and the religious and spiritual meanings they give to craft-making in their speech, women build their own religious identity. It is based on the distinction between religious and non-religious spirituality. At the same time, the relation of religion to everyday life is ambivalent: on the one hand, the craft-making locating in everyday life does not represent religion, on the other hand, religion is precisely located in everyday life and is determined through its tolerance. The same ambivalence also applies to the relationship between crafts and everyday life. Craft-making is a part of everyday life and at the same time it detaches from and lifts above it. The relationship of women to Finnish culture and the practices and perceptions of craft-making and Finnish religiosity it represents is also twofold: partly restrictive cultural models influence women's thinking and activities related to crafts, while they challenge and renew these models through their own activities. That is the core of everyday religiosity related to the Finnish women making crafts: it is both getting along in everyday life and challenging the boundaries of everyday life, culture, and religion.
  • Launonen, Lari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Cognitive science of religion (CSR) seeks to explain the recurrent aspects of religious belief and behavior with reference to human cognitive dispositions and their evolutionary roots. The field presents challenges and opportunities for the Christian worldview. This article-based dissertation studies the implications of CSR for theology and philosophy of religion. The first article analyses the claim that religion is cognitively natural. According to this idea, our mental architecture reinforces and constrains which types of beliefs humans tend to adopt. Supernatural agents and other folk religious concepts are “catchier” than, for example, many scientific theories (e.g., quantum mechanics) or even some theological ideas (e.g., the Trinity). The second article considers the compatibility of CSR and Christian theology regarding the origins of belief in the God of monotheism. It has been suggested that God may have guided human cognitive evolution so as to give rise to a “god-faculty” that would bring about awareness of God. However, humans are more prone to believe in finite, anthropomorphic deities than in a monotheistic God. Also, our tendency to divide people into ingroups and outgroups – the root cause of much moral evil – is likewise cognitively natural. The idea that God would also have given rise to these cognitive biases is theologically problematic. A response referring to the cognitive consequences of sin, it is argued, cannot solve the problem. The third article asks whether CSR shows god belief to be irrational or epistemically unjustified. It is argued that CSR does not offer new, substantial reasons to think so. No CSR theory provides strong evidence that the belief-forming processes underpinning god belief are unreliable. Recent arguments against reliability are usually more dependent on facts about religious diversity and evolutionary epistemology, for instance, than on CSR. The fourth article brings CSR to bear on the theological debate on the nature of hell. According to the Big Gods cultural evolutionary account, the fear of divine punishment made civilization possible. By weeding out free riding, it helped maintain cooperation in big groups of people. The fear of hell, it is argued, may likewise have fostered the rapid growth of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The Big Gods account could explain why the idea of hell as eternal conscious torment eventually overshadowed “softer” views proposing temporary afterlife punishment.
  • Kilpeläinen, Aino-Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This study examines the educational activities directed towards families with young children within the Evangelical Lutheran churches in Finland and Denmark. The research question is: how is spirituality nurtured and the Christian tradition transmitted in the context of these educational activities, especially musical activities for infants in the church space? The theoretical framework of the study consists of theories of spirituality and religiosity of the young child and an examination of early religion learning, especially from a sociocultural perspective. The qualitative data were collected through observing, video recording and interviewing in Denmark in 2012 and in Finland in 2016. Interaction analysis and content analysis were applied in the analysis of the data. The title of the dissertation is a quote from Lisa Sandell-Berg’s hymn “Children of Heavenly Father”. The hymn was sung in the researched musical activities in both Finland and Denmark. In this article-based dissertation, the perspectives of the original publications create a theory of early childhood religious education in the context of a religious community. Early childhood religious education includes: 1) ritual education, 2) spiritual education, and 3) cultural heritage education. These three overlap and often occur simultaneously. Spirituality is considered innate, while religion is learned from the surrounding culture. Interaction is important both between people and in relation to the material and cultural environment. Interaction nurtures spirituality and introduces religious language to infants and their parents. Enculturation into music, language and culture begins already in the womb. Previous research literature has highlighted the early interaction between mother and child in terms of religious and spiritual development. This study shows that in addition, guided interaction activities with other people and with religious space and music can be established from an early age. The rituals of infancy can also be seen more holistically – not just as routines that bring security, but as an opportunity to offer the baby participation in religious cultural heritage appropriate to his or her age. The study of the musical activities for infants in the church space revealed dimensions that can be applied more broadly as a starting point for early childhood education activities in the church context. Dimensions are interactivity, musicality, experientiality and embodiment, materiality, participation and holism. The musical activities for infants in the church space are holistic religious education from the point of view of both transmitting tradition and supporting well-being. The musical activities for infants offer new, shared experiences for the child and the child’s parent. Keywords: early childhood education, early childhood music education, religion education, spirituality, Evangelical Lutheran Church, hymns
  • Ojalammi, Jonna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This is a qualitative study of meaning making, its existential elements, and relationship commitment in the narratives of the spouses and partners of people with mental illness. Previous researchers have discovered that relatives of people with mental illness attempt to make existential meaning out of their experiences, but scant research exists about the topic, particularly regarding the spouses. Although divorce rates in these marriages are higher than average, qualitative research about commitment in spouses of people with mental illness is nearly absent. In Finnish caregiving research, this is the most comprehensive study to focus on spouses of people with mental illness as a group separately from the other relatives. The data consists of sixteen semi-structured narrative interviews conducted with spouses and partners of people with mental illness. Most of the participants’ spouses had bipolar disorder or depression. The interviews were analysed with a narrative approach. The findings are presented in four articles, preceded by an introductory meta-analysis. The results show how meaning making from experiences narrated in relation to a spouse’s mental illness proceeded to the existential domain. At the core, participants had the experience of alternating connection and disconnection in the relationship, resulting in sense of continuous unpredictability. Through their meaning making, the spouses of people with mental illness regulated their personal boundaries in the relationship. Religious, spiritual, and secular existential elements were employed both to draw personal boundaries for self-protection and to deconstruct them to aid relationship reciprocity. This alternation was reflected within the existential domain as ambivalence, creating flexibility that was important for coping. For the flexibility in meaning making to contribute to sense of meaning in life, it was crucial that reciprocity was retained in some valued areas of the relationship. In the long term, lack of reciprocity and one-sided sacrifices led to negotiating between commitment, self-worth, and the inherent goodness of the personhood of the spouse with mental illness. By searching for meaning in life, the narrators transcended the immediate by mental escape such as envisioning life for themselves, exclusive of the spouse with mental illness. The option to end the relationship played an important role. Christian religion was distinct from spiritual and secular elements. It was intertwined with expectations of reciprocity toward the spouse with mental illness. If the spouse responded to these expectations, religion had an important role in connecting the couple but when these expectations were not fulfilled, religion separated the couple further, which posed a risk of rumination. The case for both staying in the relationship and leaving it was based on the Christian tradition. Sanctification of marriage increased commitment but in hardships, sanctity of marriage was deconstructed. However, it had intrinsic value and was not abandoned. This study contributes to understanding of meaning making as an ongoing process instead of just in coping with stressful events. The spouses of people with mental illness lived with a sense of continuous threat, suggesting chronic stress. Another insight gained is that relational commitment should be more strongly included in pastoral theology of relationality. The findings have practical implications for supporting spouses of people with mental illness.
  • Kylliäinen, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The subjects of this doctoral dissertation are the concepts of virtue and value. Both concepts have substantial roles in the history of moral philosophy, and they still belong to the core concepts of ethics. Despite this their meanings and purposes in modern societies have become obscure and their roles in the lives of both individuals and communities smaller than they would deserve. The aim of this study is to enable the return of virtues and values to the roles and parts they belong to in the lives of both the society and its members. This requires answering questions like what virtues and values are, what is their connection to good, how they function, to whom they belong and what is their mutual connection. The method of the study is concept and argument analysis. However, the purpose of the study is not to create a new theory of virtues and values but to find practical ethical instruments for individuals, communities, and society by sketching plausible and useful concepts of virtue and value. The purposes of the study are thereby strongly connected to applied ethics and social philosophy. The study on virtues starts from the virtue theory formulated by Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics. Answers to open questions concerning Aristotelean ethics are searched for in recent moral philosophical discussions on virtues. The study results in sketching a neo-Aristotelian notion of virtues based on idea of human being as a social animal. Virtues are characteristics that make human beings good human beings and benefit both the individual herself and the surrounding community when acting correctly in correct situations. They are contextual which among other things means that in the end only the community itself has the right to name and to define the virtues that are regarded essential in its realm. Values are studied mostly through the texts of Finnish 20th century philosophers. The discussion on values is concentrated on the questions of separating values from means and the ownership of values. The study results in accepting as values only intrinsic values set by society as its objectives and thereby separating values both from means and preferences concerning values of individuals and communities. Values and virtues are pointed out to have a clear conceptual and when functioning well also practical connection. In the last section of the study the discussion on virtues and values is applied to education and organizational life. In moral education the objectives of socialization and individualization are achieved when both values and virtues are understood as aims in educating children. The prerequisites of operation in an organization are ideally fulfilled when the organization can lean on values of the society and virtues of the personnel.
  • Hannikainen, Pietari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This study examines the worship community movement in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, by using the methods of quantitative participant research. The movement consists of about 40 worship communities that build alternative, communal congregational life and worship in and around local parishes. It connects to a broader paradigm shift in Protestant churches that have faced the challenges of pluralistic and secularized societies. As the movement is growing and attracts participants of all ages, the research focused on determining what factors of the movement explain its expansion at a time when the cultural position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland is breaking down and its membership is sharply declining. This question was addressed, first, by determining what the religiosity of the worship community participants is like. In addition, efforts were made to find out how the cultural changes associated with modernization are reflected in the values, communality and religiosity of community participants. The data was collected by two-level cluster sampling from ten communities representing the community movement. The result was 529 acceptably completed forms. The results of the data analysis were published in three scientific articles that make up the material of the summary article of this dissertation. Three types of participants were discovered with regard to patterns of participation, which were termed as traditional, community-oriented, and experiential. The traditional type represented culturally declining models of collective cultural forms, while other types appeared more culturally modern. The values and participation of the community-oriented type were characterized by openness to change, a desire to learn new things and a commitment to the opportunities of active participation offered by the communities. Consequently, they experienced the strongest sense of belonging to the community. The experiential type of participation was the least committed and appeared to be the most self-centered in terms of values. These traits were explained in some measure by difficulties in their personal and social lives. According to the study, the new communities of worship have emerged as a culturally innovative movement whose religiosity emphasizes the transcendent core of Christianity. Also the study indicates that they are theologically inclusive and do not place particular emphasis on the doctrinal and normative aspects of Christianity. Thus, they can be seen to represent a broader shift in religiosity that reflects a response to the broad “subjective turn” in values that is taking place in the postindustrial West. On the other hand, the movement can also be seen as a reaction to the secularization of the church and of society as well as to individualism, which tends to exclude individuals from social safety nets. Communities for the New Generation provides comparable and generalizable empirical information on a little-studied, emerging phenomenon that reflects wider developments within protestant churches as well as people’s changing expectations of parish-life, church, and spiritual life in our time.
  • Hakala, Anna-Riina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This study analyzes the structure and meaning of gendered imagery in Bernard of Clairvaux’s letter collection through a selection of letters that have been dated to the first decade of his career as an abbot. The main question is how Bernard talks about the monastic man living in a monastic community, using gendered imagery in his letters to abbots and monks, and which meanings are given to manhood and womanhood in the context of the collection of letters. During his first decade as an abbot, Bernard had a growing network of influence, which among other things was kept up and expanded through the writing of letters. These letters and their role as an instrument of constructing and promoting a monastic ideal are the point of interest of this dissertation. The focus is on the gendered theology presented in the text and the cultural and historical context in which it was produced. Medieval reality was pronouncedly tied to images: faith and images were indistinguishable from each other, with salvation being directly linked to the symbolic system of iconography. Bernard exemplifies the blurred lines of image, material reality, text and thought in his letters. The gendered imagery of the letters is built around the situation that the letter concerns. In his usage of gendered imagery, he focuses on influencing the reader in a way that would result in the desired interior sensual experience, which then would convert the reader on the path desired by Bernard. In previous research on Bernard’s other texts, it has been proposed that he envisions salvation as participation in divine masculinized transcendence. Based on the gendered theology in the letters, this is only half of the picture. The road to salvation that the letters propose equally involves participation in the divinized feminine flesh of the incarnated Christ. Masculinized transcendence and divinized feminine flesh both need to be present simultaneously in the right order and without mixing in the ideal monk aiming at eternity with God. At times, Bernard transmits gendered theological views that seem undecided but have been chosen for him by the earlier authors he relies on. This results in self-contradicting views in the letters. Womanhood does not solely stand for worldliness or fleshliness in the negative sense and manhood does not signify only goodness of spiritual heights: womanhood and manhood frequently alternate places between these positions without any definite outcome or fixed position in the reversals of the gender binary. Human gendered reality is inherently behind the rhetorical use of gendered imagery. Belief in the incarnation and the resurrection changes the meaning of imperfect and mutable corporality in relation to the supernatural and immutable perfect God into a redemptive affirmation of fleshliness and womanhood. This results in the figures used to express the monastic ideal simultaneously having both masculinity and femininity, forming a differentiated unity of the two. These figures make visible the mystery of the marital union of humanity and divinity in Christ, the unity of the Christ-head and Church-body, which the monk should realize in his life as a monastic man.

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