Book Series Acta Scandinavica, vol. 1

Medieval Christianity in the North

New Studies

Kirsi Salonen, Kurt Villads Jensen, Torstein Jørgensen (eds)

  • Pages: xii + 276 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:15 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2013

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54048-1
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54053-5
  • E-book
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Investigates, from a fresh viewpoint, important aspects of Nordic Christianity in the Middle Ages and discusses to what extent ideas and institutions were adapted to local circumstances.


"For the editors of this study, the growth of Christian Europe has to be seen as a reciprocal process, in which the peoples of the North not only received the culture of the Latin West but also reshaped it in their own image and likenesses. For this insight alone, this book is seminal and invites further studies." (Brian Patrick McGuire, in: Sehepunkte 14 (2014), Nr.2, 15.02.2014)

"All articles included in the book are worth reading by anyone with an interest in Scandinavian history from the Viking era through to the Reformation, and equally by readers interested in the more general process of Christianisation and the history of European Christianity. The contributions definitely succeed in their intention to present Scandinavia as an area that was as Christian as any other region in Europe. At the same time, they also show that the region possessed uniquely Nordic characteristics after its adoption of the Christian religion." (Jane-Anne Denison, in: Parergon, 31.2, 2014, p. 233-234)


All those barbarious peoples who in far-distant islands frequent the ice-bound Ocean, living as they do like beasts — who could call them Christians?

--Pope Urban II, 1095

Such condescending impressions about the peoples living at the ‘end of the world’ have been adapted by Scandinavian historians who, until recently, have stressed the isolation and the otherness of the North, and ignored the many similarities to the ‘culturally more developed’ Europe. This collection of articles by Nordic scholars is truly interdisciplinary, covering philology, history, archaeology, theology, and other approaches. It is divided into two parts, the first of which addresses conversion from a broad perspective, while the second is devoted to the consolidation of
Christianity and ecclesiastical structures. The book investigates from a fresh viewpoint important aspects of Nordic Christianity in the Middle Ages and discusses to what extent ideas and institutions were adapted to local circumstances. It includes a variety of topics, such as the remnants of paganism, medieval saints cults, law, and church, to religious warfare, and the use of beer in cult and memory.




Remnants of Old Norse Heathendom in Popular Religion in Christian Times - Else Mundal

Early Ecclesiastical Organization of Scandinavia, Especially Sweden - Stefan Brink

Canonical Observance in Norway in the Middle Ages: The Observance of Dietary Regulations - Sæbjørg Walaker Nordeide and Jennifer R. McDonald

Wine and Beer in Medieval Scandinavia - Lars Bisgaard

Martyrs, Total War, and Heavenly Horses: Scandinavia as Centre and Periphery in the Expansion of Medieval Christendom - Kurt Villads Jensen

The Making of New Cultural Landscapes in the Medieval Baltic - Torben Kjersgaard Nielsen

The Emerging Birgittine Movement and the First Steps towards the Canonization of Saint Birgitta of Sweden - Claes Gejrot

Forbidden Marital Strategies: Papal Marriage Dispensations for Scandinavian Couples in the Later Middle Ages - Kirsi Salonen

‘He Grabbed his Axe and Gave Thore a Blow to his Head’: Late Medieval Clerical Violence in Norway as Treated according to Canon and Civil Laws - Torstein Jørgensen

The Lars Vit Case: A Fragmentary Example of Swedish Ecclesiastical Legal Practice and Sexual Mentality at the Beginning of the Fifteenth Century - Bertil Nilsson

Concluding Remarks - Patrick Geary

Index of Persons

Index of Places