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A Homosocial Priesthood of All Believers : Laity and Gender in Inter-War Sweden

Nykvist, Martin LU (2019) In Church History 88(2). p.440-464
Abstract
Around the turn of the twentieth century, there was a growing concern within the Church of Sweden that the church was, to a too large extent, managed by the clergy alone. In an attempt to give the laity a more active and influential role in the Church of Sweden, the Brethren of the Church was established in 1918. Since it was only possible for men to become members, the organization simultaneously addressed a different issue: the view that women had become a much too salient group in church life. This process was described by the Brethren and similar groups as a “feminization” of the church, a phrasing which later came to be used by historians and theologians to explain changes in Western Christianity in the nineteenth century. In other... (More)
Around the turn of the twentieth century, there was a growing concern within the Church of Sweden that the church was, to a too large extent, managed by the clergy alone. In an attempt to give the laity a more active and influential role in the Church of Sweden, the Brethren of the Church was established in 1918. Since it was only possible for men to become members, the organization simultaneously addressed a different issue: the view that women had become a much too salient group in church life. This process was described by the Brethren and similar groups as a “feminization” of the church, a phrasing which later came to be used by historians and theologians to explain changes in Western Christianity in the nineteenth century. In other words, the Brethren considered questions of gender vital to their endeavor to create a church in which the laity held a more prominent position. This article analyzes how the perceived feminization and its assumed connection to secularization caused enhanced attempts to uphold and strengthen gender differentiation in the Church of Sweden in the early twentieth century. By analyzing an all-male lay organization, the importance of homosociality in the construction of Christian masculinities will also be discussed. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Church History
volume
88
issue
2
pages
25 pages
publisher
American Society of Church History
external identifiers
  • scopus:85070404674
ISSN
0009-6407
DOI
10.1017/S0009640719001185
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2704f101-a2fd-4829-80b5-1439d028dfdd
date added to LUP
2018-05-08 13:04:10
date last changed
2019-09-11 03:56:39
@article{2704f101-a2fd-4829-80b5-1439d028dfdd,
  abstract     = {Around the turn of the twentieth century, there was a growing concern within the Church of Sweden that the church was, to a too large extent, managed by the clergy alone. In an attempt to give the laity a more active and influential role in the Church of Sweden, the Brethren of the Church was established in 1918. Since it was only possible for men to become members, the organization simultaneously addressed a different issue: the view that women had become a much too salient group in church life. This process was described by the Brethren and similar groups as a “feminization” of the church, a phrasing which later came to be used by historians and theologians to explain changes in Western Christianity in the nineteenth century. In other words, the Brethren considered questions of gender vital to their endeavor to create a church in which the laity held a more prominent position. This article analyzes how the perceived feminization and its assumed connection to secularization caused enhanced attempts to uphold and strengthen gender differentiation in the Church of Sweden in the early twentieth century. By analyzing an all-male lay organization, the importance of homosociality in the construction of Christian masculinities will also be discussed.},
  author       = {Nykvist, Martin},
  issn         = {0009-6407},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {440--464},
  publisher    = {American Society of Church History},
  series       = {Church History},
  title        = {A Homosocial Priesthood of All Believers : Laity and Gender in Inter-War Sweden},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0009640719001185},
  volume       = {88},
  year         = {2019},
}