Det andliga nutidsläget och kyrkan

En ”vattendelare” i debatten om modernisering, kyrka och andlighet 1919–1920


  • Susanne Wigorts Yngvesson
  • Mia Lövheim



In April 1919, the publication of the first part of the edited collection Det andliga nutidsläget och kyrkan ("The Contemporary Spiritual Condition and the Church") caused an intense debate within the Church of Sweden and in the daily press. The editors of the book were driven by ideals of open and honest dialogue about religious and ethical reformation in a time of deep spiritual distress and invited contributions from academia and lay people as well as clergy. Some of the contributions have been analyzed in previous research, as examples of contemporary theological debates. This article presents an analysis of the contributions of the books and of the most salient themes in the debate, covering 192 newspaper articles between April 1919 and May 1920. The analysis contributes to previous research by the additional new material concerning how theological issues were connected to contemporary political and cultural debate. This concerns the implications of modernization in contemporary Sweden, such as individualization, social justice, and secularization. Furthermore, the debate in the newspapers, previously not thoroughly researched, highlights how the book became a locus for issues such as participation of the laity in theological debate, and the role of the Church as a public authority in a secular, modernized society. These themes present fruitful openings for further research on the role of Christian actors in new forms of public debate shaping modernity in Sweden.