Christian Masculinity

Christian Masculinity: Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries

YVONNE MARIA WERNER ED.
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 324
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qdxtn
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    Christian Masculinity
    Book Description:

    In the mid-nineteenth century, when the idea of religion as a private matter connected to the home and the female sphere won acceptance among the bourgeois elite, Christian religious practices began to be associated with femininity and soft values. Contemporary critics claimed that religion was incompatible with true manhood, and today's scholars talk about a feminisation of religion. But was this really the case? What expression did male religious faith take at a time when Christianity was losing its status as the foundation of society? This is the starting point for the research presented in Christian Masculinity. Here we meet Catholic and Protestant men struggling with and for their Christian faith as priests, missionaries, and laymen, as well as ideas and reflections on Christian masculinity in media, fiction, and correspondence of various kinds. Some men engaged in social and missionary work, or strove to harness the masculine combative spirit to Christian ends, while others were eager to show the male character of Christian virtues. This book not only illustrates the importance of religion for the understanding of gender construction, but also the need to take into consideration confessional and institutional aspects of religious identity.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-106-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. STUDYING CHRISTIAN MASCULINITY. AN INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 7-18)
    YVONNE MARIA WERNER

    Christianity has markedly patriarchal traits, and by tradition men have played the dominant role in the affairs of all churches. Yet from the middle of the nineteenth century, when the idea that religion was a private matter won acceptance in liberal, middle-class circles, and belief in science and social progress gradually replaced Christianity as a normative guideline, Christian faith and religious practice became increasingly associated with womanliness and docility. If religion was to have any place in modern society, then it was in the private home sphere, not in (male) public life.¹ The feminisation of Christianity went hand in hand...

  4. PART I KEY CONCEPTS AND THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES
    • THE UNRECOGNISED PIETY OF MEN. STRATEGIES AND SUCCESS OF THE RE-MASCULINISATION CAMPAIGN AROUND 1900
      (pp. 21-46)
      OLAF BLASCHKE

      When Willibald and Franz Beyschlag were children, services at their local Protestant church were not in the least interesting. The services were too sober; the sermon, boring. Yet when he wrote his memoirs in 1858, Willibald Beyschlag was evidently appreciative of his religious upbringing, especially by his father, a bank clerk in Frankfurt. Born in 1823, the young Beyschlag studied Protestant theology in the 1840s, and in 1851 became a pastor in Trier; later he would be a professor of theology in Halle, and one of the leading figures of German Protestantism.

      If we accept that Beyschlag’s memories of his...

    • MASCULINITY AND SECULARISATION IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRITAIN
      (pp. 47-60)
      CALLUM G. BROWN

      There is growing evidence that secularisation has been accompanied by a shift in the gender of Christian adherents and practitioners from female to male. For example, in France during the twentieth century there was a major decline in the proportion of women who were religiously active, leading to a significant narrowing of the traditional gender gap which had made for higher churchgoing by women.¹ In Scotland between 1984 and 2002, there was a net loss of 168,560 churchgoers over 15 years-of-age, of whom 129,040 (or 77 per cent) were female.² Equally, there is evidence that the growth between 1945 and...

  5. PART II VISIONS AND IDEALS OF CHRISTIAN MANHOOD
    • HEROIC MEN AND CHRISTIAN IDEALS
      (pp. 63-94)
      TINE VAN OSSELAER and ALEXANDER MAURITS

      Heroes have been defined in various terms, be it as men of extraordinary bravery or superhuman strength, or as the chief male characters in an epic. In recent decades the definition has shifted towards a hero who is ‘any man or woman’, ‘endowed by others’ with special ‘symbolic significance’.¹ Accordingly, the central focus of the latest studies is no longer a character study of male warrior heroes, but an analysis of the social construction of a heroic reputation. Heroic individuals are analysed as instruments of propaganda, and as “a site on which a range of cultural attitudes and social practices...

    • MASCULINITY, MEMORY, AND OBLIVION IN THE DUTCH DOMINICAN PROVINCE, 1930-1950
      (pp. 95-114)
      MARIT MONTEIRO

      This is what the Dominican Pius de Winter (1914-1944) wrote to his fellow brother Lucas Grollenberg (1916-1997) in December 1943, in the thick of the Second World War. De Winter had been stationed in Teutonia, the Dominicans’ German province, since 1941, more specifically the Thomas Convent in Venlo, a town just over the German border in north of the county of Limburg. Here, he was supposed to become more proficient in the German language that he was meant to teach at Saint Dominic’s College, the minor seminary of the Dutch province, located in Neerbosch, a village in the vicinity of...

    • THE MAN IN THE CLERGYMAN. SWEDISH PRIEST OBITUARIES, 1905-1937
      (pp. 115-126)
      ANNA PRESTJAN

      Apriest is the personification of a Christian man, or at least in Sweden he was until 1958, when female ordination was introduced to the Church of Sweden, and women were allowed to serve God and his flock in the same way as men.¹ Yet in the first decades of the twentieth century, Christian manliness was seen as subordinate to other masculinities, which makes it an ideal starting point for the work presented in this chapter. Changes in conceptions of masculinity and concurrent changes in the position, role, and function of church and religion in Swedish society conspired to make the...

    • CRISES OF FAITH AND THE MAKING OF CHRISTIAN MASCULINITIES AT THE TURN OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
      (pp. 127-146)
      DAVID TJEDER

      In the 1920s, Nathan Söderblom’s position as the leader of the Church of Sweden was unquestionable. Indeed, his influence reached far beyond Sweden’s borders. Not only was he the Archbishop of the Church of Sweden; his struggle for peace during the First World War and his efforts to bring together the European churches in an ecumenical understanding were widely acclaimed and had already brought him international renown in the 1910s.¹ The gigantic international ecumenical conference in Stockholm in 1925 can be said to have been his crowning achievement.² True, some still regarded his theology as dangerously radical, and many within...

  6. PART III MISSIONARY MASCULINITY
    • PROTESTANT MISSION IN CHINA. A PROLETARIAN PERSPECTIVE
      (pp. 149-164)
      ERIK SIDENVALL

      It is one of the overarching hypotheses of the Lund-based research project, of which some findings are given here, that a ‘masculinisation’ was an integral part of what the German historian Olaf Blaschke has termed a ‘second confessional age’. In this anthology we find examples of how the renewed Christian enthusiasm of the nineteenth century coincided with conscious attempts to make Christianity more manly, sometimes even muscular.¹ Yet, this was not the only trend that can be observed at this time; to create a Christian ‘hyper-masculinity’ was not always seen as necessary by those who struggled for a Christian extension...

    • ALTERNATIVE MASCULINITY? CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES IN SCANDINAVIA
      (pp. 165-188)
      YVONNE MARIA WERNER

      In a report from July 1935, the superior of the Jesuit residence in Stockholm, Ansgar Meyer, reflected on the role of Catholic priests as leaders and counsellors of the faithful in Scandinavia. Using the terminology current at the time, he stressed the need to havePriesterführer, mentally strong, intelligent, and experienced men who could represent the authority and splendour of the Catholic Church in the Northern countries in a way that was worthy of the Church. This was especially important in Scandinavia, where the Church was more or less synonymous with its priesthood.¹ Fifty years earlier, in April 1884, another...

  7. PART IV FOSTERING CHRISTIAN MEN
    • THE MAKING OF CHRISTIAN MEN. AN EVANGELICAL MISSION TO THE SWEDISH ARMY, c. 1900-1920
      (pp. 191-212)
      ELIN MALMER

      Asalvation industry sprang up in Northern Europe in the nineteenth century. Revivalist literature was produced in a never-ending flow, preachers accosted people in the streets and in their homes, and several new denominations and missionary organisations came into being.¹ In Sweden growing numbers were attracted by the evangelical battle cry of Christ’s advancing Kingdom. By 1920 revivalist denominations and organisations had as many adult members as the emerging socialist trade unions.² These multi-faceted revivalist bodies were united in their belief in the necessity of religious conversion. Their aim was to lead man to salvation and to support the converts in...

    • DANISH FOLK HIGH SCHOOL AND THE CREATION OF A NEW DANISH MAN
      (pp. 213-232)
      NANNA DAMSHOLT

      In the middle of the nineteenth century a completely new institution, namely the Danishfolkehøjskoleor “folk high school” came into being.¹ The first of these schools was at Rødding, founded in 1844, and more and more folk high schools sprang up all over the country, especially in the period after 1864.² As a result of the great influence these schools had on Danish society and cultural life in the latter part of the nineteenth century, it seems self-evident to try to establish whether the form of masculinity they fostered was something new and uniquely Danish. Was a new Danish...

  8. PART V TRANSGRESSING GENDER BOUNDARIES
    • LITERARY TRANSGRESSIONS OF MASCULINITY AND RELIGION
      (pp. 235-256)
      INGER LITTBERGER CAISOU-ROUSSEAU

      An unbaptised heathen whose sex is vague, but whom critics, even those who are usually alert to gender issues, invariably call a woman; a programmatic atheist, certainly a man, but more feminine than masculine; and a clergyman from a “monumental work on the breakdown of faith and patriarchy”¹, to quote one critic: these are the three protagonists - drawn from classical Swedish novels - whom I wish to consider in this chapter. And while my point of departure does not seem the best given, since the task here is to highlight aspects of masculinity and religion in Swedish fiction in...

    • A MANLY QUEEN WITH FEMININE CHARM. INTERSECTIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON GENDER
      (pp. 257-274)
      ANDERS JARLERT

      Many have said that she is the manliest man in the Royal family.” This description of Queen Victoria of Sweden (1862-1930), noted down in 1912 by Bishop Gottfrid Billing of Lund (1841-1925) and subsequently published in his memoirs in 1975, has often been taken as the bishop’s own and complete opinion of the queen. However, on the very same page Billing writes that “no one can exceed her in feminine charm”.¹ Here ‘manliness’ is not primarily defined by biological sex or sexuality, nor does it exclude feminine charm, while both manliness and femininity are used as positive labels.

      Queen Victoria...

    • THE NEW CATHOLIC FEMINISM. TRADITION AND RENEWAL IN CATHOLIC GENDER THEOLOGY
      (pp. 275-292)
      GÖSTA HALLONSTEN

      The Male Woman - A Feminine Ideal in the Early Churchis the title of a posthumous study by the late Kerstin Aspegren.¹ The title conveys accurately the main device used by patristic authors to solve the problem of how women, being inferior in the social sphere, yet are able to attain equal dignity with men in spiritual life. Research on this so-called androcentric anthropology of the Church Fathers and its impact upon women has flourished during the past few decades. Amongst the pioneers of this type of patristic women’s studies, the Norwegian scholar Kari Elisabeth Børresen stands out as...

  9. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 293-316)
  10. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 317-318)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 319-322)
  12. COLOPHON
    (pp. 323-323)