The Churches

The Churches: The Dynamics of Religious Reform in Northern Europe, 1780-1920

Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    The Churches
    Book Description:

    Developments in church-state relationships in north-western Europe between 1780 and 1920 had a substantial impact on reformist ideas, projects and movements within the churches. Conversely, the dynamics of ecclesiastical reform prompted the state itself to react in various ways, through direct intervention or by adapting its policies and/or promulgating laws. To which extent did church and state mutually influence each other in matters concerning ecclesiastical reform? How and why did they do so? These are the central questions posed in The Churches, the second volume in the series ‘Dynamics of Religious Reform'. The volume concentrates on the reforms generated by the churches themselves and on their response to the political and legal reforms initiated by the state. It shows how processes of church reform evolved differently in different countries. The position and role of organised religion in the modern state is a matter of continual debate. This volume offers historical insight into the enduring but sometimes uneasy relationship between church and secular authority.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-031-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 7-26)
    Joris van Eijnatten and Paula Yates

    “Reform is the conscious pursuit of renewal with the aim of adapting organised religion to the changing relations between church, state and society.” The definition of reform used by this series seems quite straightforward, and all contributors to this volume have judged it to be relevant to the various national contexts they have examined. But every age is, of course, an age of reform. The conscious pursuit of change is not limited to Norway or Prussia or Ireland, nor did it occur only between 1780 and 1920. Clearly, this volume is not the first to apply the concept of ‘reform’...

  4. Bibliography
    (pp. 27-28)
  5. The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland

    • Internal Church Reform, 1780-1850. Establishment under Fire
      (pp. 31-52)
      Nigel Yates

      The work of scholars such as Arthur Burns, Jeremy Gregory, W.M. Jacob, Frances Knight, F.C. Mather, Mark Smith and myself, has largely discredited the traditional view of the nineteenth century, that reform had to be forced on an unwilling church by parliament, and has shown, I hope convincingly, that the Anglican churches of England, Ireland and Wales had been committed to reforming themselves well before the government took a hand.¹ Unfortunately there has been little equivalent research on the Presbyterian established church in Scotland and it has been assumed, perhaps not entirely accurately, that reform was supported by Evangelicals in...

    • The Oxford Movement and the Legacy of Anglican Evangelicalism
      (pp. 53-66)
      Peter Nockles

      The previous chapter referred to the contribution of the Evangelical Revival to reform in the nineteenth century. The literature on ‘evangelical revival’, especially in regard to its origins and genesis, is vast. It is matched by a no less substantial literature on the subject of organic and institutional church reform in the long eighteenth century. However, the treatment of church reform has been primarily in institutional or structural rather than theological or spiritual terms. This essay will focus on the Oxford Movement, the High Church religious movement within the Church of England that emerged in the 1830s.

      The Oxford Movement...

    • Internal Church Reform, 1850-1920. An Age of Innovation in Ecclesiastical Reform
      (pp. 67-94)
      Frances Knight

      The previous two chapters have examined reform in Britain in the first half of the nineteenth century. In this chapter we shall examine how reform developed in the second half of the century.

      For as long as historians of British Christianity have been studying the nineteenth century, they have been talking about church reform. In part, this is because the participants in nineteenth-century British Christianity, and particularly the Anglican ones, became obsessed with it. As Geoffrey Best put it, “Untold dozens of churchmen buckled down to the self-imposed task of communicating to the world their views, and their views on...

    • Bibliography
      (pp. 95-98)
  6. The Low Countries

    • Church Reform and Modernity in Belgium
      (pp. 101-122)
      Jan Art, Jan De Maeyer, Ward De Pril and Leo Kenis

      Belgium lies on the southernmost border of Northern Europe, but it could also be described as being the most northerly part of Southern Europe. The country has therefore somewhat Latin characteristics which are hardly, if at all, to be found elsewhere in the North. In the sixteenth to seventeenth century the Southern Netherlands was considered to be a bridgehead of the Counter-Reformation, from which the British, Dutch and Germans, who had ‘fallen away’ from the Catholic faith, would be brought back on the right path. That ‘baroque’ stamp would last for a long time, especially in Flanders, the northern part...

    • Contested Unity. Church, Nation and Reform in the Netherlands
      (pp. 123-152)
      Joris van Eijnatten

      On 6 August 1863, Alexander Ver Huell (1822-1897) spent a rainy day in the Wolfhezer Woods near Arnhem in the east of the Netherlands. “I’ve just come from a General Evangelical National Mission Feast”, he wrote that evening in the diary he kept: “a renewal of the Old Hedgerow Sermons”. He felt that he had been witness to a revival of the open-air meetings that long ago had sparked off the iconoclastic storms of the Dutch Reformation. Ver Huell was much impressed by the event. The day had begun quietly. Rustic pulpits and benches had been placed here and there...

    • Bibliography
      (pp. 153-156)
  7. Germany

    • Internal Church Reform in Catholic Germany
      (pp. 159-184)
      Claus Arnold

      During the last decades of the Holy Roman Empire the Catholic Church with its 23 prince bishops and its 44 imperial abbeys constituted not only a political force of cohesion and a career market where the younger sons of the nobility could live in style, but showed remarkable efforts in the field of internal ecclesiastical reform. The absolutism of the prince bishops was combined with a renewed sense of their episcopal dignity and relative independence from Rome.¹ These episcopal ideas, which were in part similar to French Gallicanism, went in Germany under the label of ‘Febronianism’, named after the pseudonymous...

    • The Protestant Churches in Germany and Ecclesiastical Reform
      (pp. 185-214)
      Klaus Fitschen

      Within Protestantism, Enlightenment and Pietism shared certain essential points. Both movements aimed at intensification of individual piety as well as at new forms of social contextualization of religion. The middle-class appetite for reading was used by both Pietists and Enlightenment thinkers to spread their particular concerns. Enlightened societies, such as theLesegesellschaften(reading clubs) promoted literature and culture as a sophisticated surrogate for religion. Reading in Pietist conventicles, havens for people seeking a more intense form of Christianity, was concentrated on the Bible and pious tracts. In addition, both movements shared a critical stance towards the tradition of state churches...

    • Bibliography
      (pp. 215-226)
  8. The Nordic Countries

    • Church, State and Reform in Denmark
      (pp. 229-246)
      Jes Fabricius Møller

      Remarkably little happened to the fundamental structure of the Danish church¹ between 1780 and 1920. The church carried out crucial reforms only towards the end of the period, in response to extensive social change. Around 1780 the Danish church was not an independent organisation; in fact, it was barely an organisation at all since it functioned virtually as part of the absolutist Danish state. For example, the Danish church had no synod. The bishop of Sealand, who resided in Copenhagen, acted asprimus inter pareswhenever the church had to be represented externally, but did so only to a limited...

    • Self-Reform and Swedish Christianity
      (pp. 247-260)
      Erik Sidenvall

      More than in many other European nations the concept of religious homogeneity had become a tangible reality in Sweden.¹ In 1780, at a time when a limited religious liberty had manifested itself in many regions, church and nationhood were still intertwined at every level, from the national Diet to the rural household. In such a context the issue of the ‘self-reform’ of the church poses particular problems. When the church was made visible at every level of society, and comprised virtually every individual, what could be the meaning of self-reform? Or, perhaps better, what was not self-reform? What actions, that...

    • The Limits of Ecclesiastical Reform in Norway
      (pp. 261-276)
      Øyvind Norderval, Dag Thorkildsen and Hallgeir Elstad

      From the Reformation to the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Norway was a part of the composite Danish state which included Iceland, the Faeroe Islands and the duchy of Schleswig-Holstein. The church was organised as a state church with a Lutheran confession. Since the sixteenth century, the government of the church had been an integrated part of the government of the state. This church order was strengthened during the age of absolutism (from 1660). For this reason religious confession and church order were an important part of legislation. The church not only had a religious, but also a political aim....

    • Bibliography
      (pp. 277-279)
  9. Index
    (pp. 280-284)
  10. Map of Northern Europe c.1870
    (pp. 285-285)
  11. Authors
    (pp. 286-287)
  12. Colophon
    (pp. 288-288)