What did the protestant reformations look like in the north of Europe in comparison with other parts of Europe? How did the cultural, political and economic consequences of the religious change affect the relationship between Scandinavia, the British Isles and continental Europe? Various questions related to these main themes will be discussed at the conference “Northern Reformations” in Tromsø, September 21–22, 2017.
Although still highly interesting for further scrutiny, the way in which England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland came out in the seventeenth century as fairly different results of the turbulent fifteen hundreds has been subject to much research. Looking at international reformation research today, however, we know far less about the reformation paths undertaken by the areas that today constitute the five Nordic countries and how they differ from those in the rest of Europe. These differences are not merely due to chronology; the Nordic reformations are not only later stages of the German reformations. The different northern reformations took their own, independent courses.
Within these northern European areas and today’s nation states, some highly interesting regional differences can also be traced. In the sixteenth century, the state borders of Northern Fennoscandia were not yet drawn, and Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Kvens, Karelians, Russians – and the indigenous Sámi people inhabited these vast areas. The Russians were Orthodox Christians – and so were many of the Karelians and Eastern Sámi groups. Many of the Sámi further west were well acquainted with western forms of Christianity, while still practicing traditions from their indigenous religion. These factors provided further challenges for the ruling kings and protestant theologians who set out to reform their subjects in the north.
This borderless area, with a distinct ethnic dimension, has been the main area of interest for the research project “The Protracted Reformation in Northern Norway” (PRiNN) – since 2014 one of the main concerns of the multi-disciplinary research group Creating the New North (CNN). The third and last book publication from this project will be launched at the conference. In addition, there will be sessions exploring other northern dimensions of the European reformations, as well as an account of the status of current Nordic reformation research.