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date: 21 August 2017

Martin Luther in Denmark

Summary and Keywords

In Denmark, Martin Luther was initially seen as a humanist reformer on a par with other humanists, but during the 1520s he increasingly became a divisive figure separating those wanting only to reform the Roman Catholic church from within, and those working for a break with Rome. Ways of understanding Luther differed widely within the evangelical camp too. Early “Lutherans” in Denmark, such as Hans Tausen and the drafters of the Confessio Hafniensis of 1530, presented legalistic and spiritualistic elements. In 1536, however, King Christian III announced the Reformation of Denmark, using robust Wittenberg theologians such as Johann Bugenhagen and Peder Palladius to reform the church, the university, and the society at large. Since then Denmark has been an unusually homogeneous Lutheran country, compared to Lutheran areas of Germany in the 17th and 18th centuries, including Luther’s own Sachsen. Yet Danish views of Luther have changed significantly over the centuries, especially after the national awakening in the 19th century. Thereafter, Luther was seen as a church father, though also as a somewhat remote figure. In 20th-century theology, N. F. S. Grundtvig and Søren Kierkegaard served as mediating figures between premodern Lutheranism and contemporary theology. After World War II, the Reformation is still widely regarded as formative for Danish history, albeit in combination with other inspirations. A secular mindset grew stronger both within and outside the Evangelical-Lutheran Church, with some promoting a liberalist interpretation of Luther’s two-kingdoms doctrine, and others challenging the Evangelical-Lutheran Church’s status as the “People’s Church.” By January 1, 2016, 76.9 percent of the Danish population were tax-paying members of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark.

Keywords: Martin Luther, Bible humanism, Hans Tausen, Peder Palladius, N. F. S. Grundtvig, Søren Kierkegaard, Scandinavian creation theology

After the Lutheran Reformation in 1536, King Christian III made Norway a province of Denmark. Then the kingdom of Denmark comprised Norway; Skåne, Halland, and Blekinge in southern Sweden; the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein in northern Germany; Iceland; the Faroe Islands; and Greenland. Many languages were spoken in the kingdom, but with the loss of southern Sweden in 1658, the independence of Norway in 1814, the loss of Schleswig and Holstein to Germany in 1864, and the independence of Iceland in 1944, Denmark became a small and largely monolingual nation, ruled under a democratic constitution since 1849. During these changes, Luther’s German nationality increasingly came to be seen as problematic, especially after the German occupation of Denmark 1940–1945.

Luther in Denmark 1519–1536

The first reference to Martin Luther in Denmark is found in a letter dated December 5, 1519. There Petrus Parvus Rosæfontanus, a Roman Catholic humanist, praises Wittenberg as a center of humanist learning, referring to “the highly learned Philip Melanchthon and the profound theologian Martin Luther,” while also highlighting Erasmus of Rotterdam as “the great ruler in the realm of spirit, the leader that the whole Christendom has been longing for.”1 This early witness shows how Luther was initially seen as a professor and reformer of the church on a par with other European Bible humanists.

During the early 1520s, the radical nature of Luther’s reform of church and theology became evident to the reformist Catholics who followed Erasmus and increasingly came to see Luther as both a heretic and a politically dangerous figure. Luther’s 1520 treatises On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church and To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation especially contributed to the divide between Luther and Danish reformist Catholics. Luther’s harsh criticism of the pope as Antichrist, his doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, and his appeal that a general council be assembled by temporal authorities as “fellow-members of the spiritual estate”2 implied a decisive farewell to the papal leadership of the church.

In the Danish reformation process, the call for a religious reform, the popular criticism of the Roman Catholic bishops and clerics, and the dynastic interests of the Danish kings were deeply intertwined. Even before his infamous Stockholm bloodbath in 1520, King Christian II (r. 1513–1523) received Martin Reinhard, a royal chaplain from Wittenberg. This was followed the next year by no less than Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt, Luther’s colleague at Wittenberg University, who stayed in Copenhagen (May–June 1521), but fled home fearing for his life. Nonetheless, Christian II continued to work for a bible-humanistic reform of the University of Copenhagen. Expelled from Denmark in 1523, the exiled king went to the Netherlands, sponsored by Charles V (his queen, Elizabeth, was the beloved sister of Charles). Christian II actually visited Martin Luther in Wittenberg and even gained his support as the rightful king of Denmark.3 During his exile, Christian II also arranged for the first full Danish translation of the New Testament. Thet nøye Testamenth (1524) was both a confessional and a political statement. Printed therein were Luther’s prefaces, and a significant preface to the Pauline letters by the Malmø reformer Hans Mikkelsen, in which he criticized the Roman Catholic Church for fraud, and for having kept people in a “Babylonian captivity.”4 Many copies of this work were smuggled into Denmark and Sweden.

Christian II’s opponent and successor was his uncle, Frederik I (r. 1523–1533). At his coronation in 1523, he was made to pledge “not to allow any heretics, disciples of Luther, or others, to preach secretly or openly against the heavenly God, the church, the holiest father, the Pope, or the Catholic Church.” Frederik I wanted, however, to establish a reformed national church. Even though he could not openly go against the Roman-oriented National Council (Rigsrådet), he gave letters of protection to evangelical preachers across the country, first in Husum (1525) and later in Viborg (1526), as well as elsewhere (at least eleven are known). During two important Diets of Odense (1526 and 1527), Frederik I seems to have argued for reciprocal tolerance between the evangelical and Roman parties. Nonetheless, he took significant steps toward a gradual reformation of the kingdom. New bishops were to be approved by the archbishop of Lund, not by Rome, and several monasteries were closed. The king declared that he was not “the ruler of souls,” but would defend anyone preaching what is godlike and Christian (though without tolerating rebellion). Earlier scholars have hypothesized that, after the Odense Diet, Frederik I issued a sort of “tolerance edict.” If this is so, then the Reformation had already legally begun by 1527. No such document has been found, however, and recent scholarship points to the fact that Frederik I had to proceed carefully and reactively for political reasons.5

Town Reformations from Below

The single most learned reformist Catholic in Denmark was Paulus Helie (Povl Helgesen, ca. 1485–ca. 1535). Though initially he had expressed much sympathy for Luther’s critique of the church (particularly with respect to indulgences), Helie soon reversed in his view. In his chronicle of Denmark, Skibykrøniken (discovered much later), he painted an uncompromising portrait of the brutality of the exiled Christian II and consistently referred to Frederik I as “the church robber.” Referring to events around 1526, Helie observed that “the poison of Lutheranism was sneaking through the whole of Jutland.”6

Luther’s ideas came from the south and were naturally transported through the duchies of Holstein and Schleswig to the north. The earliest witness of evangelical preaching took place in Husum in western Schleswig. Hermann Tast (ca. 1490–1551) had studied in Wittenberg (1511–1514), and we know of twelve students from Husum who matriculated at Wittenberg University between 1517 and 1520.7 In 1522 Tast was dismissed by the church authorities, but he continued to preach in a local merchant’s house and also in the open air right next to the church. In 1540 he was made the evangelical superintendent of Husum.

Husum is an example of early evangelical preaching “from below,” protected by King Frederik (who ruled Denmark from nearby Gottorp). Between 1525 and 1526 we find similar town reformations in cities such as Viborg, Aalborg, Aarhus, Horsens, and Malmø in Skåne (now Sweden). Frederik I interceded on behalf of the evangelical preachers who were supported by local citizens. In 1526 he even appointed Hans Tausen (ca. 1494–1561) in Viborg as his royal chaplain. Originally a student of Paulus Helie, and the first monk known to marry in Denmark, Tausen was expelled from his order in 1526. Like Tast, he began to preach in the open air and in a small church, until the citizens broke into the larger Franciscan church. As early as 1529, Viborg was effectively reformed, followed soon after by Copenhagen (1529), Malmø (1530), and Odense (1532).

The exact theology of the evangelical preachers is still a matter of scholarly discussion. Even though Tausen (hailed as “the Danish Luther” since the era of Pietism) had actually studied briefly in Wittenberg, his theology has a rather simple biblicist profile inasmuch as it draws, for example, on the Old Testament (rather than lex naturalis) when judging ethical and societal issues. Moreover, his views on the sacraments had Spiritualist leanings.8 On Christmas Day, 1530, some evangelical groups stormed Copenhagen Cathedral, destroying some of its altars and images. Even though this development was stopped, the incident shows that the early evangelical movements built on different reformation impulses, including those of Zwingli and Karlstadt. By comparison, the forty-three articles of the Confessio Hafniensis (1530) reveal a Bible humanism (for example, highlighting the internal witness of faith).9 This inner diversity within the evangelical movement might explain why Christian III imported Wittenberg theologians to reform the Danish church in 1536, rather than using Danish preacher-theologians such as Hans Tausen (bishop of Ribe only after 1542).

Reformations from Above: Haderslev 1526–1528 and Copenhagen 1536–1537

As a young man, the later King Christian III (r. 1534–1559) had witnessed the Diet of Worms in 1521. After that he became a devoted follower of Luther. In 1525 his father, Frederik I, gave him a fief (or dukedom) around Haderslev in the northern part of Schleswig (Sønderjylland), containing sixty parishes. In 1526, Duke Christian took over leadership of the church, fired the Catholic provost Johann Wulff, and invited the Lutheran theologian Eberhard Weidensee to replace him. Johann Wendt, a student of Melanchthon, was also called in as a reader in the cathedral school. All pastors had to be reschooled if they wanted to stay, and the twenty-two Haderslev Articles (1528) embody a very practical approach to the reform of the church, including catechism and supervision, and also an emphasis on baptism, and on bearing the cross of Christ in daily life. The gospel was to be preached following Luther’s postils (collections of Luther’s sermons). Pastors were even obliged to marry, unless they had good reasons for not doing so.10

The Reformation of Haderslev (1526–1528) might be seen as a “dress rehearsal” of the Reformation of the whole kingdom of Denmark, declared by Christian III on October 30, 1536, soon after he had conquered the troops of Christian II in the Count’s Feud (1534–1536).11 Christian III imprisoned the Catholic bishops, thereby removing them from the National Council, and took over the land owned by the church (estimated to be one-third of the Danish territory). No ordinary pastors were dismissed.

In July 1537, Luther’s close colleague Johann Bugenhagen (Pomeranus) arrived from Wittenberg. In that year alone he achieved four remarkable results. First, he drafted the Church Ordinance for the entire Danish kingdom (Ordinatio Ecclesiastica Regnorum Daniæ et Norwegiæ et Ducatuum Sleswicensis Holtsatiæ, etc.), signed by the king on September 2. Apart from theological issues, the Church Ordinance of 1537 (printed in 1539) concerned a broad range of societal matters, such as schooling, marriage, birth and death, and care of the poor and sick. Second, Bugenhagen installed new superintendents to replace the Roman bishops, first and foremost Peder Palladius. With that the apostolic succession was broken in Denmark, Norway, and Iceland (in contrast to Sweden and Finland). Third, on September 9 Bugenhagen reopened the University of Copenhagen, reformed after the Wittenberg model. Fourth, before anything else (August 12), he crowned Christian III in the cathedral, acting as a bishop.

It has been argued that Bugenhagen’s coronation violated Luther’s principle of the two kingdoms, taking instead Melanchthon’s view of the cura religionis as the divine task of the temporal ruler. Melanchthon’s influence is unquestionable, but Luther had already emphasized the particular task of kings and dukes as fellow priests under such circumstances. In a letter to Martin Bucer in Strasbourg (December 6, 1537), Luther expressed his full satisfaction with Bugenhagen’s undertakings: “Pomeranus is still in Denmark, and all things flourish which the Lord does through him. He has crowned the king and the queen as a true bishop, and restored the University.”12

Principal supervision of the Danish church was then handed over to the superintendent of Zealand, Peder Palladius (1503–1560), who was also a professor of theology.13 Palladius had studied in Wittenberg (1531–1537) and received the rarely granted degree of doctor of theology after a successful defense of Luther’s theses on “The Works of Law and Grace” (June 1, 1537).14 This disputation was an issue of immense importance for the new Lutheran church. If justification is by faith alone without works, why then do anything at all for the poor and sick? Here, the evangelical concept of works of love, primed by the presence of the Holy Spirit, became central. Thus, the Reformation was also a highly practical affair. With the Reformation, for example, work became a general obligation for all citizens. The mendicant orders were closed, and begging was allowed only for those who could not work. Such persons were to be taken care of by the local parishes, or by the town authorities.

Palladius was a prolific writer in Danish as well as in Latin, and he also managed a wealth of practical matters.15 His Book of Visitations (Visitatsbogen) shows his unrelenting commitment to secure Lutheran doctrine among the pastors, and in catechizing lay people. He tended to take a pragmatic approach in settling conflicts, though. Often he was more lenient than the king, who always had the final word. In any case, Palladius was installed by the king not as an archbishop but as the superintendent of Zealand.

As such, the Reformation in 1536–1537 constituted a new settlement for the Danish church and all other social sectors. The practical problems were numerous, and many could only be solved on an ad hoc basis. Even though the Church Ordinance (1537/1539) was designated for the whole kingdom, it was not in effect everywhere. Bugenhagen made a special church ordinance for Schleswig and Holstein (adopted 1542). The situation was more difficult in Norway and Iceland, where there had been no reformation movements from below, and where Roman Catholic traditions remained stronger among both clerics and lay people. In Norway and Iceland, the reformation processes took almost a century to be accomplished. Neither Palladius nor Christian III ever visited Norway and Iceland, and they would hardly have been welcomed.

The Consolidation of a Lutheran Society

The consolidation of Lutheranism in Denmark combined an unapologetic Lutheranism with a doctrinal minimalism. The son of Christian III, King Frederik II (r. 1559–1588), did not want to import the Lutheran internal disputes between Philippists and Gnesiolutherans. In the summer of 1580, his sister Anna sent him two nicely bound copies of the Book of Concord from Sachsen. In a royal letter to the bishops and professors, however, Frederik II resolutely banned such literature from the kingdom. In a letter sent on February 8, 1581 to Wilhelm of Hessen, he wrote that he had “immediately” thrown the two copies into the stove. The sense was that a so-called concord with new and strange doctrines would only provoke discord within the kingdom.16 Already in 1579, the king had suspended Niels Hemmingsen (1513–1600), an internationally renowned professor of theology at Copenhagen University, for his “crypto-Calvinistic” view of the Eucharist. An affectionate student of Melanchthon, Hemmingsen also took a Philippist view of human free will. Likewise, no strangers were allowed to stay in Frederik II’s kingdom unless they subscribed to twenty-five articles of Lutheran doctrine (Articuli pro peregrinis, 1569).

Such hard doctrinal minimalism remained a characteristic trait of the Danish Reformation in the following century. In the Ordinance of the Church (1537/1539), several books are mentioned as being required for pastors. Next to the Bible are mentioned Luther’s postils, Melanchthon’s Apology and Loci communes, and Luther’s Small Catechism. At the end of the 16th century, only the Small Catechism and the unaltered version of the Augsburg Confession remained as normative.

In the period of Lutheran Orthodoxy, flourishing under Christian IV (r. 1588–1648), the bishop Hans Poulsen Resen (1561–1638) fought against crypto-Calvinists of all kinds, and viewed Calvinism as a “Babylonic whore” on a par with the Roman Catholic Church. Luther’s Small Catechism and the early writings of Melanchthon were prioritized, and Resen retranslated the Small Catechism (already translated by Peder Palladius, 1537) for use in all primary schools throughout the kingdom. Bishops and university professors produced theological summas (most notably Jesper Rasmussen Brochmann’s Universae theologiae systema, 1633), but a sense of the core of Lutheranism was highlighted alongside the practice of good preaching (as in Brochmann’s postil Sabbati sanctificatio, 1638).

Lutheran theology may have been refined, but only with friendly amendments. Daily penitence, in accordance with sound Lutheran doctrine, was held to be important. Doctrine and penitence were seen as a precondition for the flourishing of society. The general assumption was that God would punish the kingdom if it deviated from true Christian doctrine. “Piety strengthens the kingdoms” (Regna firmat pietas) was Christian IV’s official motto.

With the introduction of absolutism in 1660, the king was no longer chosen by the lords; instead the succession was inherited. The king was now the absolute monarch “by the grace of God.” Accordingly, no distinction was recognized between the ordinance of the church and that of the worldly regime of the king (a distinction still presupposed in the Ordinance of 1537/1539). A milestone of this development was the comprehensive Danish Code of Christian V (1683), in which Book 2 (out of six books) laid out all regulations “Concerning Religion and Clergy.” Confessional documents were limited to three ancient creeds (the Apostolic Creed, the Nicene Creed of 381, and the Athanasian Creed), plus the two Lutheran creeds: the unaltered version of Confessio Augustana (1530), and Luther’s Small Catechism. The Danish Code was followed up by a detailed Book of Rituals for the Danish and Norwegian Church (1685). No one could be confused as to what he or she should believe, nor about how to behave. “By piety and justice” (Pietate and iustitia) was the official motto of Christian V.

Absolutism also led to changes in the celebration of the Reformation Jubilees. In 1617, bishop Resen was in charge of the three-day celebrations, including Eucharist services for the king, council members, and administrators. In 1717, King Frederik III carefully planned eight days of celebration with all the pomp of a Baroque-age king, walking through the public squares of Copenhagen with his entourage and attending a service in the Trinity Church. In 1717 an impressive Reformation medal was minted, carrying the inscription “Blessed be God in the High for having liberated the true faith from the tyranny of the pope two hundred years ago.” The penitential Luther had thus given way to the triumphant Luther.17

Luther in Pietism and Enlightenment

In the late 1700s, leading theologians, as well as the royal house, promoted a Halle-inspired Pietism in Denmark. The overarching figure of state Pietism was the royal chaplain, extraordinary professor at the University, and later bishop Erich Pontoppidan (1698–1764). He was instrumental in introducing the confirmation rite in 1736, exactly 200 years after the Danish Reformation. Confirmation was mandatory for all citizens, and a requirement for being employed and married. Prior to confirmation, all citizens had to undergo a thorough introduction to true Christian piety. The king demanded that Pontoppidan’s explanation of Luther’s catechism, Into True Piety (Sandhed til Gudfrygtighed, 1738), should be used in schools throughout Denmark and Norway, and it went through no fewer than forty printings by 1800.

In his Collegium Pastorale Practicum 1757, written for theological students, Pontoppidan bemoans that mere orthodoxy “comforts itself by the rich grace in Christ Jesus, but the order of grace, the regeneration and renewal, is set aside. One hears that faith alone makes justified and saves, but the nature, life and power of this faith to change the heart one does not discern, thus succumbing to the delusion that a memorization of the articles of faith is the same as the faith in the heart.”18 Luther, it appears, had done necessary work, but the mission was not complete. According to Pontoppidan, the Danish Reformation had taken three forms. First, we have its legal institution by Christian III; then its outward manifestations of penitence under Christian IV; but now the “Reformation of the heart” was to be instilled. Implicitly, Luther was seen as a church father of the past, and not as the primary resource for the renewal of piety. Any open critique of Luther, however, was unthinkable.

In the era of mercantilism, the inherited divide between Lutherans and Calvinists began to loosen. Huguenots received special royal privileges in 1685 (Copenhagen) and 1720 (Fredericia). Pietism cultivated more open ecumenical attitudes. In line with Halle Pietism and Calvinist tradition, Pontoppidan speaks of an order of salvation and sanctification. He also engaged with practical matters, such as the royal orphan house, the Vajsenhuset (established 1727). Later, the Vajsenhuset received the royal privilege of Bible printing (1740) and the printing of hymnbooks (1778). By November 9, 1705, the world’s first Lutheran mission had begun, when Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Plütschau sailed out of the port of Copenhagen as royal missionaries to reach the small colony in Tranquebar, landing in India in July 1706.19 For a short period, Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf (1700–1760) stood in good relations with the king, and during the 1730s he was sent as a missionary to the Danish colonies in the West Indies, and to Greenland. In 1771 the Danish king even invited a group of Moravian Brethren to settle in Christiansfeld (Sønderjylland), an active community even today that was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2015.

The world was opening up, transcending the territorial constraints of the older Lutheranism. Certainly, Luther’s emphasis on the external Word of God could be used to motivate mission. To Enlightenment thinkers, however, such externalist understanding of the gospel was too parochial. The Norwegian-Danish professor of history and law Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754), famous for his comedies (still performed in theaters), is a voice typical of the Danish Enlightenment: he respects the biblical and Lutheran traditions; he occasionally goes to church in the summer (not risking his health in winter!); he also believes in God as the great architect of the universe, and prays “moderately.” In his Church History from 1738, he highlights Luther’s courage at the Diet of Worms, and notes that his conscience was tied to the Word of God. Nonetheless, as he states in his Moral Thoughts, “All hot-tempered orthodoxy is heresy.” In particular, Holberg took exception to the view that eternal salvation depends on holding particular beliefs: “Condemning a Chinese or a Muslim based alone on their false beliefs means condemning them for being born in Beijing or in Constantinople. In my view, no one could have a worse idea of the divine economy, and no view is therefore less convincing.”20 Here, questions were being raised for which the older Lutheran theology had no answer, apart from resorting to a hidden divine council beyond human knowledge.

In a homogeneous country, however, a state-regulated Lutheranism, increasingly giving privileges to religious minorities (e.g., to Jews in 1814), worked quite well, even after the constitutional freedom of religion was ratified in 1849. Many generations had already been taught Luther’s Small Catechism in school, in which Luther’s doctrine of the three estates plays a significant role. We have the kingdom of the church (ecclesia), the worldly kingdom (politia), and the third estate, the family (oeconomia). The so-called Household Chart (Haustafel) and the “Marriage Booklet” at the end of the Small Catechism were especially significant in pointing to the obligations between superiors and subordinates in the household, and to the reciprocal tasks of men and women within marriage. Thus, family and school constituted a third zone of daily life between the estates of the church and the government. Lutheranism, then, was not only about theology but also was concerned with the “vocations” of everyday life. For more than 300 years, Luther’s doctrine of the three estates has probably been more formative for Danish culture than his doctrine of the two kingdoms. However, when bishop C. F. Balslev wrote a brief explanation of Luther’s catechism in 1849 (with no fewer than 351 printings/editions), Luther’s Haustafel was left out. Increasingly, Luther was now a name associated with the church rather than with the ordinary life of shoemakers, schoolteachers, and households.

Luther in Golden Age Denmark

By 1800 various forms of rationalism had become widespread among the intellectual elite, not least among pastors. Soon a national awakening took place, however, especially after the devastating wars with England (1801–1814). The rationalist search for universality was counterbalanced by a new emphasis on the particular contexts of history, lived traditions, and nationhood, as in the philosophy of Herder and in German post-Kantian philosophy.

In Golden Age Denmark, amalgams of Pietism and Enlightenment, nationalism and Romanticism, were widespread. Between 1810 and 1870, Copenhagen hosted important scientific names, such as H.C. Ørsted, who discovered electromagneticism; writers such as Hans Christian Andersen and Bernhard Ingemann; artists such as C. W. Eckersberg and Bertel Thorvaldsen; bishops such as I. P. Mynster and H. L. Martensen; and theologians of the caliber of N. F. S. Grundtvig and Søren Kierkegaard. All these figures knew one another from the streets of Copenhagen, all having their likes and dislikes of one another, and they often addressed one another publicly in polemical writings.

The 1817 celebrations of the Reformation took place in the shadows of a Copenhagen left in ruins in 1807, followed by the Danish bankruptcy in 1813, and the loss of Norway in 1814. Now it was once more the bishop of Zealand, Frederik Münther, taking the initiative for the Jubilee Days, once again three. This time the celebrations were decentralized to parishes all over the country. In contrast to the 1717 celebrations, the popular orientation was prioritized.

In 1817 Calvinist communities were invited, for the first time, to participate in the celebrations for the 300-year Jubilee. Earlier divisions between Lutherans and Calvinists appeared to be obsolete, and even an expression of bad taste. In 1836 the leading theologian at Copenhagen University, H. N. Clausen (1793–1877), chose to give his lectures over two weeks in the Reformed Church in Copenhagen. As he noted in his later Memoires: “A Lutheran Reformation feast in a capital city of Lutheran Confession, given by a Lutheran theologian in a Reformed church! Obviously, this was a progress from the first and second celebration to the third.”21 Clausen was a student of Friedrich Schleiermacher, the theological architect behind the United Evangelical Church, fusing the Lutheran and Reformed churches in Prussia (1817).

In Kiel (Schleswig), the pastor Claus Harms used the 1817 Jubilee to express his profound disagreement. He republished Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses of 1517 with ninety-five new theses of his own. In Thesis 75, he warned against marrying the poor Lutheran maiden with the rich Reformed church “over the legs of Luther,” and in Thesis 82 he stated unreservedly: “If the body and blood of Christ really was in the bread and wine at the dispute in Marburg 1529, the same is still the case in 1817.”22 N. F. S. Grundtvig (1783–1872) also turned strongly against Clausen. In The Church’s Retort to Dr. H. N. Clausen (1825), he demanded that Clausen resign from his positions as professor and pastor of the Danish church. Clausen subsequently brought, and won, a libel case against Grundtvig. Now working under censorship, Grundtvig chose to resign from his office as pastor.

In 1826, at the 1,000-year celebration of the first missionary, Ansgar, coming to Denmark in 826, well-known writers like Grundtvig used the occasion to celebrate Hans Tausen as the Danish reformer, seeing Viborg in 1526 as the point of departure of the Danish Reformation. Apparently, a Danish signature on the Lutheran Reformation was much needed.

Grundtvig’s own views of Luther changed significantly over time. In 1810 he tried to go back to the older Lutheranism, but soon gave it up. In 1825 he developed his “church view”: the oral words of the living Christ in baptism and Eucharist in the local community are foundational for the Christian church. Grundtvig held that the Apostolic Creed was given by Christ himself alongside the mission statement (Matt. 28:16–20), the Eucharistic invitation, the Lord’s Prayer, and Christ’s words of peace. On this basis he strongly supported Luther’s focus on the elementary expressions of the gospel in the sacraments, just as he praised Luther’s Small Catechism. Yet he also criticized several central aspects of Lutheran theology. The sola scriptura principle had overshadowed the living voice of Christ in the living community, leading to an “exegetical tyranny” not unlike the popish yoke. Moreover, Grundtvig criticized Lutheranism for not giving a proper role to the traditions of the ancient church. Finally, Lutheranism had grown into a state church without offering religious freedom to all citizens, without securing the freedom of the local Christian communities, and without allowing individual freedom of thought. Even though Grundtvig answered a resounding “Yes” to the question “Should the Lutheran Reformation really be continued,”23 he portrayed Luther as the Moses who looked into the promised land without reaching it himself.24

In 1832 Grundtvig established the principle “human first, then Christian” as transcending Luther’s principle simul justus et peccator. Grundtvig argued that all human beings retain the image of God, even after the Fall: the robber on the cross had exactly the same humanity as Jesus Christ. Accordingly, elements of faith, hope, and love are found also among heathens. Eventually Grundtvig developed a theology on two tracks, human and Christian. The question of the baptismal rite, “Will you be baptized?” addresses the human being, who is not yet reborn but seeks a deeper union with God by responding “Yes.” Only on the basis of free assent can the baptismal candidate subsequently be regenerated by water and the Holy Spirit. Grundtvig continued to wrestle with Luther, partly seeing the Reformation as not yet fulfilled, and partly reverting to Irenaeus in an emphasis on the rule of faith, and on the universal aspects of creation theology.25

Grundtvigianism was only one of many popular awakening movements within the Danish church in the first half of the 1800s. Unlike in Sweden and Norway, the Danish awakening movements stayed mostly within the Evangelical-Lutheran Church—since the 1849 Constitution referred to as “the People’s Church” (Folkekirken). The Inner Mission movement (organized in 1861) also stayed within the Evangelical-Lutheran Church, wanting to be its ferment. In contrast to the Grundtvigians, this influential movement shared Luther’s view of the depravity of human nature. Much like the Grundtvigians, however, Inner Mission put a strong emphasis on the sacraments. In 1891 its leader, Vilhelm Beck (1829–1901), painted Lutheranism as standing between the mysteriousness of Catholicism and the rationalism of Calvinism: “The Lutheran Church has both, a sacramental Christianity, and a Christianity of the Word.”26

Overall, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark has retained a sacramental emphasis on baptism and the Eucharist. Even today, Sunday services usually include the Eucharist. In his elegant Christian Dogmatics (1849), the “speculative theologian” H. L. Martensen (1808–1884) supported the doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, arguing that “Calvin’s doctrine presupposes a dualism between the realms of grace and nature, heaven and earth, spirit and bodiliness.”27 Grundtvig, too, criticized the Reformed tradition for divorcing divine and human, even arguing that Luther was closer to Catholicism than to Calvinism. Apart from H. N. Clausen, few Danish theologians supported the idea of a generalized Protestantism.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) was a dissenting voice, having no interest whatsoever in sacramental thinking. In his “church struggle” (Kirkekamp, 1854–1855), he ridiculed infant baptism as a sign of an establishment church which does not require anything else from its members than a few splashes of water. Kierkegaard highlights Luther’s pro me principle but finds him “undialectical” in his emphasis on the objectivity of historical Christianity.28 His references to Luther are scarce, but Kierkegaard was a theologian trained at the University of Copenhagen, and he regularly sat under the pulpit of I. P. Mynster (bishop 1834–1854), even occasionally participating in the Eucharist (on Thursdays, not on Sundays!). In The Concept of Anxiety (1844), Kierkegaard reinterpreted the doctrine of original sin, arguing that any human being is placed, essentially, in the same situation as Adam and Eve. Rather than seeing concupiscence as “necessitating” sin, as the Lutheran tradition does, Kierkegaard points to anxiety as a psychological “predisposition” for sin. Anxiety is ambivalent, at once an expression of spirit, or selfhood, yet also bringing with it the unbearable experience of “sheer possibility,” in which the “leap of sin” happens to occur for the sake of human self-preservation. However, the annihilating experience of anxiety can also be “edifying” in the direction of faith. Correspondingly, in Philosophical Fragments (1844), Kierkegaard speaks of a “leap of faith.” These descriptions are structurally similar to aspects of Luther’s humilitas theology, in which the humiliation into nothingness is the basis for the conformitas Christi. In Kierkegaard, however, there is no reference to an external Word of God, bringing the human person out of himself or herself.29 Kierkegaard’s focus is on the inner transformation of the self. Christ invites faith but does not create faith by external means of grace.

Luther in 20th-Century Danish Theology

In his Commentary to the Romans (2d ed., 1922), Karl Barth praised Kierkegaard for pointing to the “infinite qualitative difference between God and humanity.”30 The Tidehverv movement, a Danish variety of dialectical theology, also emphasized this difference in its journal Tidehverv (“Changing Tides”), published since 1926. Here, Luther and Kierkegaard are portrayed as anti-speculative theologians speaking against the established church, but also against bourgeois attempts to secure existence by adopting a disengaged attitude. A Lutheran church is to be defined by the gospel, not by religious feelings.

In its first years, the group was dubbed “the Barthians,” but soon it became clear that they were more in line with Rudolf Bultmann and Friedrich Gogarten. The Danish writer and essayist Jakob Knudsen (1858–1917), who published a widely read two-volume novel on Luther in 1912 and 1914 under the titles Angst (Anxiety) and Mod (Courage), was particularly important for Tidehverv.31 In the first decades of Tidehverv, Luther became a model for the honest individual Christian, confronting chaos and living beyond safe grounds, while having the courage to attack a much too talkative church with all its slick religiosity.32

From Tidehverv’s perspective, Luther, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche are allies. Initially the movement showed no interest in Luther’s social ethics, but after the “antinomian controversy” in the 1970s, Luther’s views on law and order began to feature centrally in the journal. A decisively conservative turn occurred around 1980. In 1999, Tidehverv even translated and published three pamphlets of Luther against the Turks (1529 and 1530) and the Jews (1543), containing some of Luther’s most infamous views on other believers. Luther was now being used to fuel a self-protective nationalism.

Among the Grundtvigians of the 20th century, Luther was usually seen as an epochal historical figure, praised for all he did in the 16th century.33 Yet they could not overlook that Luther was German, and was used by some German Nazis. The Gundtvigian Anders Nørgaard even argued that the Reformation legacy was no longer beneficial to the Danish church: “At the Reformation we became part and parcel of a German understanding of Christianity. This was natural, and probably this was the best for us at that time. But this membership is no longer of any luck for us.”34

Nørgaard was not followed by many in his complete disavowal of Luther. During World War II, however, a national awakening took place that placed Luther in a twilight state. At the same time, the public perception of Grundtvig changed; he went from being the leader of a minor Christian awakening movement into being identified as a national figure. After 1945, it was the creation-oriented Grundtvig of 1832 (rather than the church-oriented Grundtvig of 1825) who took the foreground both in popular awareness and among theologians.

This situation opened space for a new alliance between Luther’s doctrine of the two kingdoms and Grundtvig’s distinction between the universal aspects of the Mosaic-Christian creation faith and the particular nature of the Christian message. A so-called Tidehverv-Grundtvigian circle began to take shape after 1937, flourishing after World War II. Among pastors and leaders of the Grundtvigian high school movement, secular mindsets were seen as part of the Reformation legacy (much like Bultmann and the late Gogarten). The influential church historian Hal Koch at Copenhagen University had become a public figure owing to his famous Grundtvig lectures during the occupation.35 He knew well that Luther did not have a modern secular view of worldly government, but suggested that the significance and validity Luther gave to daily life in vocations, and his view of the priesthood of all believers, based in the local community, led “in the direction of Grundtvig.”36

At Aarhus University, the professor of ethics and philosophy of religion K. E. Løgstrup (1905–1981) presented Luther as a proponent of the natural law tradition. In The Ethical Demand (1956), Løgstrup argued that ethics is rooted in the fact of the prior interdependence of human coexistence. Løgstrup reformulated Luther’s ethics of vocation in a secular phenomenological language, well aware that Luther’s social ethics was loaded with medieval concepts of divinely preordered estates.37 For Løgstrup, however, On the Bondage of Will (1525) and Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper (1528) were important, not least for developing a creation theology based on a comprehensive metaphysics of divine ubiquity. Around 1970, Løgstrup began to develop a philosophy of creation. In tandem with Gustaf Wingren (1910–2000) at Lund University, and supported by his Aarhus colleague Regin Prenter (1907–1990), Løgstrup inaugurated so-called Scandinavian creation theology.38

After World War II, Grundtvigianism grew into a majority position among Danish pastors, and also among a number of Danish intellectuals. Compared to Luther, Grundtvig was seen as the theologian with the larger compass, reaching back to the Greek and medieval traditions, while also being a better guide for interpreting the Lutheran heritage in a secular age. It is widely held that Luther is mostly of interest for historians, theologians, and lay people in the awakening movements, whereas Grundtvig is seen as speaking to ordinary people too (and moreover as relevant for scholars of education and political science, and for tackling global questions).

In 1983, the celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of Grundtvig’s birth coincided with the fifth centenary of Luther’s birth. The Grundtvig celebrations overshadowed Luther significantly, not only in newspapers and public discussions but also in terms of academic publications. A substantial book on Grundtvig appeared in Danish, English, French, and German, while the Danish bishops commissioned Leif Grane to write a booklet on Luther’s history, sent out free to all parish council members.39 In 1983, Grane also published a major book under the title The Gospel for the People: Dream and Reality in Martin Luther’s Life. In its very first sentence, Grane notes: “Martin Luther cannot be said to be fashionable for the time being.”40

It remains to be seen what will happen in the 2017 celebrations. There has been more public interest in Luther recently than in 1983, but stronger criticism has also been voiced of Luther’s political judgments relating to the Peasants’ War, and in particular of his views on Jews and Muslims. Denmark is no longer a culturally homogeneous society. A recent hypothesis developed by political scientists, historians, and economists, that long-term Lutheran societies are a contributing factor in the emergence of the “universalistic welfare state” in the Nordic countries is the subject of much public discussion.41

Luther’s strongest influence, however, is filtered through the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark. In 1908, 98.5 percent, and in 2016 76.9 percent of the Danish population were tax-paying members of the “People’s Church” (Folkekirken). In 1948, the first three women were ordained as pastors in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark. As early as 1919, the Faculty of Theology at Copenhagen University made the official statement that “neither from a general Christian view nor from a particular Lutheran view, can reasonable objections be raised against the access of women to the ministry of a pastor, as long as they satisfy the conditions for this ministry.”42 By 2010, 50.6 percent of pastors in Denmark were female.

Review of the Literature

Research literature up to 1992 is listed in Trygve R. Skarsten, “Scandinavia” (1992). Excellent and updated overviews of the Scandinavian Reformations up to about 1700 are presented in Ole Peter Grell’s The Scandinavian Reformation (2010). Overall, the scholarship of Martin Schwarz Lausten is outstanding and covers most aspects of the early Danish Reformation, combining written sources and new archival material with careful historical judgments; see his overview in Die Reformation in Dänemark (2008).

In Reforming the North: The Kingdoms and Churches of Scandinavia, 1520–1545 (2005), James L. Larson rightly criticizes the tendency to reduce the European-wide Reformation events to narratives of autonomous nationalism.43 Another trend, almost in the opposite direction, is to focus on micro-historical cases, as Charlotte Appel and Morten Fink-Jensen do in Når det regner på præsten: En kulturhistorie om sognepræster og sognefolk 1550–1750 (2009), which investigates the lives of eight pastors in relation to daily life in their parishes.44

Leif Grane’s Det teologiske fakultet 1479–1979 (1980) offers the most extensive treatment available of developments in Danish theology over 500 years. Interpretations of Luther within Danish theology are analyzed in more detail in Niels Henrik Gregersen’s Lutherbilleder i dansk teologi 1800–2000 (2012).45 Multidisciplinary analyses of the interplay among Lutheran theology, state building, church regulations, religious practices, marriage, the school system, music, and art is offered in Reformationen i dansk kirke og kultur 1517–2017, three volumes edited by Niels Henrik Gregersen and Carsten Bach-Nielsen (2017).

Regarding 20th-century Luther research, Bo Kristian Holm offers an evenhanded overview of recent scholarship, including Finnish scholarship, in “Nordic Luther Research in Motion.”46 The two overarching Danish Luther scholars have been the systematic theologian Regin Prenter (1907–1990) at Aarhus University, whose Spiritus Creator (1944) 47 has been translated into German, English, and Japanese, and the church historian Leif Grane (1928–2000) at the University of Copenhagen. Grane consistently used a combination of textual analysis and historical contextualization, eschewing systematizing approaches to Luther, for example in Modus loquendi theologicus (1975).48 This program is followed by Steffen Kjeldgaard-Pedersen at Copenhagen University. In the younger generation, we see two approaches to Luther. Anna Vind (University of Copenhagen) pursues rhetorical analysis of Luther’s texts,49 while Bo Kristian Holm (Aarhus University) uses socio-anthropological perspectives in reconstructing Luther’s doctrine of justification, arguing that reciprocal aspects are implicitly present in Luther, from thanksgiving to neighborly love.50

Further Reading

Bach-Nielsen, Carsten. Fra jubelfest til kulturår: Danske reformationsfejringer gennem 400 år. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Grane, Leif, ed. Det teologiske fakultet 1479–1979. Københavns Universitet 1479–1979, vol. 5. Copenhagen: Gad, 1980.Find this resource:

Gregersen, Niels Henrik, and Carsten Bach-Nielsen, eds. Reformationen i dansk kirke og kultur 1517–2017, 3 vols. Odense: Southern Danish University Press, 2017.Find this resource:

Grell, Ole Peter, ed. The Scandinavian Reformation: From Evangelical Movement to Institutionalization of Reform. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2010.Find this resource:

Høiris, Ole, and Ingesman, Per, eds. Reformationen: 1500-tallets kulturrevolution, 2 vols. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2017.Find this resource:

Schwarz Lausten, Martin. Die Reformation in Dänemark. Translated by Lise Miller Tönnies. Schriften des Vereins für Reformationsgeschichte 208. Heidelberg, Germany: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2008.Find this resource:

Skarsten, Trygve R. “Scandinavia.” In Reformation in Europe: A Guide to Research. Edited by William S. Maltby, 215–234. Saint Louis, MO: Center for Reformation Research, 1992.Find this resource:


(1.) Cited in P. G. Lindhardt, “Reformationstiden 1513–1536,” in Den danske kirkes historie III, eds. Niels Knud Andersen and P. G. Lindhardt (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1965), 105–430, here 261. Here, and in what follows, all translations are the author’s.

(2.) LW 44:137.

(3.) Confirmed in letters and table talks; see also Ob Kriegsleute auch im seligen Stande sein können, 1526 (WA 19:635).

(4.) Martin Schwarz Lausten, Christian 2. mellem paven og Luther: Tro og politik omkring ’den røde konge i eksilet og i fangenskabet (1523–1559) (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1995), 109–137.

(5.) Thorkild C. Lyby, Vi Evangeliske: Studier over samspillet mellem udenrigspolitik og kirkepolitik på Frederik I’s tid (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 1993), 433–440.

(6.) Povl Helgesen, Skibykrøniken, trans. and ed. A. Heise (Copenhagen: Karl Schønberg, 1890), 111.

(7.) H. V. Gregersen, Reformationen i Sønderjylland (Aabenraa: Historisk Samfund for Sønderjylland, 1986), 49–53.

(8.) Rasmus H. C. Dreyer, “An Apologia for Luther: The Myth of the Danish Luther: Danish Reformer Hans Tausen and ‘A Short Answer’ (1528–29),” in The Myth of the Reformation, ed. Peter Opitz (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013), 211–232.

(9.) Niels Knud Andersen, Confessio hafniensis: Den københavnske Bekendelse af 1530; Studier i den begyndende reformation (Copenhagen: Gad, 1954). This study has been norm-setting for subsequent studies of the early Danish reformers.

(10.) Gregersen, Reformationen i Sønderjylland, 122–135.

(11.) A detailed overview and analysis appears in Martin Schwarz Lausten, Christian den 3. og kirken 1537–1559 (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1987).

(12.) WA BR 8:158, “Pomeranus adhuc in Dania, & prosperantur omnia, quae facit Dominus per eum. Regem coronauit & reginam quasi verum Episcopus, Scholam instituit, etc.”

(13.) Until 1830, the bishop of Zealand also served as professor of theology at the University.

(14.) Die Promotionsdisputation von Palladius and Tilemann, WA 39/I:198–257.

(15.) Martin Schwarz Lausten, Biskop Peder Palladius og kirken 1537–1560 (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1987).

(16.) Carsten Bach-Nielsen,“En rigtig pinlig historie: Frederik II og Konkordiebogen – endnu engang,” in Ordet og livet: Festskrift til Christian Thodberg, eds. Carsten Bach-Nielsen, Troels Nørager and Peter Thyssen (Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetesforlag, 1999), 104–120.

(17.) Carsten Bach-Nielsen, Fra Jubelfest til kulturår: Danske reformationsfejringer gennem 400 år (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2015), 22–37, 50–79.

(18.) Erich Pontoppidan, Collegium Pastorale Practicum (Copenhagen, 1757), 17.

(19.) George Oomen and Hans Raun Iversen, eds., It Began in Copenhagen: Junctions in 300 Years of Indian Danish Relations in Christian Mission (Delhi: ISPCK, 2005).

(20.) Ludvig Holberg, Almindelig Kirke-Historie fra Christendommens første Begyndelse til LUTHERI REFORMATION (Copenhagen, 1738), 996–997. I owe this reference to my colleague, Tine Reeh. Citations from “Moral Thoughts” (Moralske Tanker) in Ludvig Holberg, Værker i tolv bind, vol. 10, ed. F. J. Billeskov Hansen (Copenhagen: Rosenkilde og Bagger, 1970), 84, 193.

(21.) Cited in Bach-Nielsen, Fra Jubelfest til kulturår, 205.

(22.) Cited in Bach-Nielsen, Fra Jubelfest til kulturår, 127–128.

(23.) N. F. S. Grundtvig, “Skal den Lutherske Reformation virkelig fortsættes?” (1830), in N. F. S. Grundtvig, Udvalgte Skrifter, vol. 5, ed. Holger Begtrup (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1907), 278–354, here 326. See also Anders Holm, “Kunsten at fortsætte reformationen: Grundtvig og Luther,” in Lutherbilleder i dansk teologi 1800–2000, ed. N. H. Gregersen (Copenhagen: Anis, 2012), 73–88.

(24.) N. F. S. Grundtvig, “Om Christendommens Sandhed (1826–27)”, in Grundtvig, Udvalgte Skrifter, vol. 4, 519–733, here 546.

(25.) See A. M. Allchin, N.F.S. Grundtvig: An Introduction to his Life and Work (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 1997).

(26.) Reprinted in Den indre Missions Tidende (1930), 418.

(27.) H. L. Martensen, Den christelige Dogmatik (5th ed.; Copenhagen: Gad, 1904), 426, §263.

(28.) Claudia Welz, “Gudbilledlighed, synd og relationel ontologi: Kierkegaard og Luther,” in Lutherbilleder i dansk teologi 1800–2000, ed. N. H. Gregersen (Copenhagen: Anis, 2012), 105–122.

(29.) Niels Henrik Gregersen, Den generøse ortodoksi: Konflikt og kontinuitet i kristendommen (Copenhagen: Anis, 2015), 294–304.

(30.) Karl Barth, Der Römerbrief (Munich: Christian Kaiser, 1926), 73.

(31.) Jakob Knudsen, Angst-Mod (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1915). On Tidehverv and Luther, see Steffen Kjeldgaard-Pedersen, “Virkelighed, der standser, taler og kræver: Tidehverv og Luther,” in Lutherbilleder i dansk teologi, ed. N. H. Gregersen (Copenhagen: Anis, 2012), 181–202. On Jakob Knudsen, see Henrik Wigh-Poulsen, “Faderen, kvinden, Gud: Jakob Knudsen og Luther,” in Lutherbilleder i dansk teologi, ed. N. H. Gregersen (Copenhagen: Anis, 2012), 163–179.

(32.) Tidehverv’s best interpreter of Luther was N. O. Jensen, Luthers gudstro: En indførelse i Luthers tankeverden (Copenhagen: Gad, 1959).

(33.) Examples are the left-Grundtvigian Morten Pontoppidan, Morten Luther: En Skildring af hans Liv og Gerning (Copenhagen: Frem, 1902), and the right-Grundtvigian Ludvig Schrøder, Martin Luthers Liv og Gerning til 1521 (Copenhagen: Lehmann & Stage, 1903).

(34.) Anders Nørgaard, Grundtvig og Folket (Copenhagen: Gad, 1941), 47.

(35.) Tine Reeh, Kristendom, historie, demokrati: Hal Koch 1932–1945 (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanums Forlag, 2012), 339–438.

(36.) Hal Koch, Martin Luther (Copenhagen: Gad, 1966), 67.

(37.) K. E. Løgstrup, Den etiske fordring (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1956), 125. This book received no fewer than seventeen printings in Denmark, and has been translated into both German and English. In the same tradition, see Svend Andersen, Macht aus Liebe: Zur Rekonstruktion einer lutherischen politischen Ethik (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2010).

(38.) Niels Henrik Gregersen, Bengt Kristensson Uggla, and Trygve Wyller, eds., Reformation Theology in a Post-Secular World: Løgstrup, Prenter, Wingren and the Future of Scandinavian Creation Theology (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017).

(39.) Christian Thodberg and Anders Pontoppidan Thyssen, eds., N. F. S. Grundtvig—Tradition and Renewal: Grundtvig’s Vision of Man and People, Education and the Church, in Relation to World Issues Today (Copenhagen: Gad, 1983).

(40.) Leif Grane, Evangeliet for folket: Drøm og virkelighed i Martin Luthers liv (Copenhagen: Gad, 1983), 11.

(41.) Foundational for the discussion is Tim Knudsen, ed., Den nordiske protestantisme og velfærdsstaten (Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag, 2000). See also Jørn Henrik Petersen, Fra Luther til konkurrencestaten (Odense: Syddansk Universitetsforlag, 2016).

(42.) Cited in Else Marie Wiberg Pedersen, ed., Se min kjole: De første kvindelige præsters historie (Copenhagen: Samleren, 1998), 158.

(43.) James L. Larson, Reforming the North: The Kingdoms and Churches of Scandinavia, 1520–1545 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

(44.) Charlotte Appel and Morten Fink-Jensen, Når det regner på præsten: En kulturhistorie om sognepræster og sognefolk 1550–1750 (Aarhus: Hovedland, 2009).

(45.) Niels Henrik Gregersen, ed., Lutherbilleder i dansk teologi 1800–2000 (Copenhagen: Anis, 2012).

(46.) Bo Kristian Holm, “Nordic Luther Research in Motion,” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 47.2 (2008): 93–103.

(47.) Regin Prenter, Spiritus Creator (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg, 1953).

(48.) Leif Grane, Modus loquendi theologicus: Luthers Kampf um die Erneuerung der Theologie, 1515–1518 (Leiden: Brill, 1975).

(49.) Anna Vind, Latomus and Luther, the Debate: Is Every Good Deed a Sin? (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016).

(50.) Bo Kristian Holm, Gabe und Geben bei Luther: Das Verhältnis zwischen Reziprozität und reformatorischer Rechtfertigungslehre (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2006).