COLLeGIUM: Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences


COLLeGIUM is a scholarly, open-access journal published by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, a research institute for advanced study in the humanities and social sciences at the University of Helsinki. The journal consists of electronic volumes written or edited by the Fellows of the Collegium. The first volume appeared in June 2006 and the second volume in July 2007. All studies published in the series are internationally refereed.

ISSN 1796-2986


Recent Submissions

  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Korpiola, Mia; Lahtinen, Anu (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Tamm, Ditlev (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Haugland, Håkon (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    This article examines the help the medieval guilds and the early modern craft guilds in Norway could provide when their members died, and how the Reformation of 1536 changed the extent of this help. For the medieval period, the paper discusses the funeral arrangements in urban guilds and rural guilds. For the early modern period, the discussion is limited to the towns, since few, if any rural guilds survived the Reformation. The essay argues that aid to deceased members was essential both to the medieval guilds and the craft guilds that were founded after the Reformation, thus stressing a greater degree of continuity between the medieval guilds and the post-Reformation craft guilds than previous Norwegian research has claimed. The social and religious functions, exemplified by the funeral arrangements, were essential to the early modern craft guilds, as they were in the medieval guilds. Furthermore, there was a continuity in form in the various elements of which the help to the deceased consisted, including being with the dying in his last hours, waking over him, eating and drinking in his honour, following him in a procession to his grave and providing economic support for his funeral. However, the Reformation also constituted a major change, as guild chantries were confiscated, doctrine of purgatory was abolished, the masses for the deceased prohibited and intercession for the deceased made obsolete. Thus, the guilds that survived the Reformation and the new craft guilds that were founded afterward were forced to shift the focus of their help from the intercession for the dead to give them an honourable funeral. A second shift came after the craft guild reforms in the 1680s and 1690s, when attempts were made to limit the extent and the splendour of the funeral processions, and attendance at guild members’ funerals were made optional. This led to the decline of the communal funeral and the privatisation of the Lutheran funeral ritual. Still, one aspect of the help, the financial support for their members’ funerals, continued to be important right up to the dissolution of the Norwegian craft guilds in 1869.
  • Ridder, Iris (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    In the early seventeenth century, the city of Falun was among the most important cities in Sweden because of its profitable copper mine, called Stora Kopparberget (the Great Copper Mountain). Working as a miner was, particularly in this period, a dangerous profession with high risks. The lives of the miners were frequently exposed to the unpredictability of this dangerous work, and mine accidents were a constant peril. During the Middle Ages and the early modern period, both the accidents and misfortune which befell the miners as well as their successes and wealth were seen as expressions of God’s plan for salvation. People therefore often turned their faith into religious or magical strategies in their effort to protect their lives. The aim of this article is to highlight the connection between dicing and dying in early modern mining industry by analysing an oracular dice game book for miners, printed in Stockholm in 1613. A local mining clerk, Gisle Jacobson, published the text, entitled Ett litet Tidhfördriff (A small pastime), which exploits the peculiar fact that the miners at Stora Kopparberg made decisions with the help of a ritualized dice game.
  • Oftestad, Eivor Andersen (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    This article investigates continuity and change in the economic and spiritual investment in the afterlife in the religious contexts of Denmark before and after the Reformation. The transmission of the late medieval poem De Vita Hominis, first printed in 1514, and then re-edited by Anders Sørensen Vedel in 1571, provides the main material of the investigation. In the text, the main character had to die a lonely death as a consequence of his wicked life. The intensity in the pre-Reformatory version was due to the experience of lack of intercession in the transgression to afterlife. Changed theological premises meant that the Protestant principle of security of salvation undercut the very heart of the late medieval De Vita Hominis. Intercession was no longer necessary as faith was what saved. This article investigates how the message of the poem was transformed according to the theological rearrangement that followed the new certainty of salvation. One important consequence was a changed notion of memory, and a new function for memorial genres, which Vedel’s 1571 edition testifies to.
  • Aldrin, Viktor (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    This article focuses on expressions of bereavement and religious coping in medieval miracle stories from Sweden. The stories come from the collections of St. Birgitta (Bridget) of Sweden, the Blessed Bishop Nicolaus Hermanni (Sw. Nils Hermansson) of Linköping and the Blessed Katarina of Vadstena, and were recorded in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Catherine M. Sanders’s modern five stages of bereavement have been used as the theory of analysis through Kay Talbot’s adaptation of the theory for parents in grief. This theoretical foundation has provided new insights into how parental grief was expressed in medieval Sweden – and in stark contrast to Continental research on the same topic. Parents of both sexes expressed their grief outwardly through tears and crying, and a reluctance to accept that their children were dead. Throughout the miracle stories, lay people constructed their own prayers for miraculous intervention without the aid of any priests. This makes fathers and mothers in medieval Sweden agents of their own in terms of praying to God and being able to construct their own forms of religious coping.
  • Riisøy, Anne Irene (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    In Norway, an outlaw was “placed outside the law” and, after the introduction of Christianity in the eleventh century, the worst kinds of outlaws, perpetrators described in terms revolving around the vargr and the níðingr, were denied burial in the churchyard. Such people had committed their crimes in an unmanly and stealthy way. Additionally, they may have avoided taking responsibility for their actions. Such behaviour made an otherwise redeemable act irredeemable. This norm for proper conduct is firmly rooted in pre-Christian notions, and the Church used it as a platform to make it easier for the populace to understand that whereas most people belonged within the churchyard, others clearly did not. With some modifications during the high Middle Ages, typically when additional categories of criminals were excluded from Christian burial, this principle carried through well into the early modern period. Documents which can tell us how these rules worked out in practice are few and far between, but are enough to show that the Church tried to ensure that the worst outlaws remained out of the churchyard. The outlaws’ bodies may have been buried at the place of execution, typically close to the gallows, or at the shore or under heaps of stones far away from settlements.
  • Wojciechowska, Beata (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    In the Middle Ages, Polish Christian holidays remained consistent, except for minor temporary deviations. They included the basic structure of pre-Christian rituals. Yet, traces of the old Slavic ritual calendar can be clearly identified in the Polish and Czech sources from the fourteenth- and fifteenth-centuries. Those were rituals and practices of the ancient, broad context of beliefs which confirmed that certain traditional attitudes and behaviour were still very much alive. The Slavic calendar of annual rites was consistent with the crucial moments of the solar cycle. The whole year was imbued with ritual contacts with the dead, waiting for their arrival, presence, and supporting them in various established ways. Traditional beliefs and practices intertwined with the dominant Christian behaviour and attitudes associated with death and funerals, as well as the methods recommended by the Church to support the soul of the deceased. A Christian funeral, crucial for the salvation of the dead, consisted of ritual celebrations, gestures and a series of prayers recited for the deceased. The circle of beliefs and ideas about the other world was an area where religious syncretism was very clear even many centuries after the initial Christianization. The remaining fragments of the ancient Slavic conceptions of the afterlife, plucked from the once coherent systems, still coexisted with the assimilated threads of Christian teaching in the waning centuries of the Middle Ages. They were expressed in the efforts to secure well-being, supernatural care and the integration with dead ancestors.
  • Korpiola, Mia; Lahtinen, Anu (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
  • Isoaho, Mari (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)