Book collections of clerics in Norway, 1650-1750 [electronic resource] /
by Gina Dahl.
Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2010.
ix, 365 p. : map ; 25 cm.
9004188991 (acid-free paper), 9789004188990 (acid-free paper)
More Details
Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2010.
9004188991 (acid-free paper)
9789004188990 (acid-free paper)
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Book collections belonging to parsons in the Bergen bishopric 1685-1714 -- Books belonging to other sections of the Bergen bishopric clergy 1685-1714 -- Clerical inventories in Trondheim 1697-1732 -- Clerical inventories in Trondheim 1732-1743 -- Clerical inventories in Jarlsberg 1704-1738 and Nedenes 1693-1740 -- Clerical inventories in Hedmark & Østerdalen, Troms & Senja and Salten.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [335]-337) and index.
A Look Inside
Introduction or Preface
AcknowledgementsThis book comes as a result of my doctoral research, conducted mainly in the years 20032006. Along the way, numerous people have been supportive of my book historical studies. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank my previous supervisors, Lisbeth Mikaelsson and Karstein Hopland, for encouraging my book historical enquiries. I would also like to thank my doctoral respondents, Charlotte Appel and Nils Gilje, whose interest in my work has encouraged me to pursue further studies in the field. I would also like to thank Ursula Phillips and Jole Shackelford for the various kinds of assistance they have given me. I would also like to express my gratitude to Mona Farstad, Ingvild Gilhus, Richard Natvig and Michael Stausberg as well as to the members of the PROAK research programme, of which I was once part, for encouraging me in various ways. Gratitude should also be expressed towards all former as well as current colleagues in Øysteinsgate 3, now Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen, which has remained a stimulating point of reference during this past decade spent on book historical research.
First Chapter
Chapter I Introduction 1.1 Book collections: Evidence of culture Much has been written recently about the role of the clergy in early modern Europe, their social and educational backgrounds, economic conditions, career networking and professional responsibilities, as well as the role of the clerical wife, conflicts between the clergy and their parishioners, and so forth. Books such as The Protestant clergy of early modern Europe highlight many of these topics within the boundaries of distinct geographical areas. Also in Scandinavia, much has been written about the role of the early modern clergy: A new study covering the multifaceted roles of the Danish clergy in the two hundred years following the Reformation appeared a year ago. The current work, however, has a purpose other than those mentioned above: In this study, I wish to trace the world of learning of the Norwegian clergy 1650–1750 by analyzing the content of their book collections. The main question I wish to answer is this; how can the flow of information among clerics in Norway during a given part of the early modern period be characterized? Why undertake such a study? First and foremost, I wish to provide evidence of the flow of books in a specific geographical area during a period generally characterized as an age of expansion: The so-called scientific revolution and the rise of tolerance, as well as long-distance travel and expanding networks of communication and education, all contributed to the interchange of various types of knowledge. This interchange, naturally, thrived on the significant rise in printed material which took place during the early modern period. In fact, the booming early modern market of print became so complex that attempts were made to restrict it, the most crucial example of such endeavours being the Catholic Index of Prohibited Books. However, whatever the official guidelines, the transmission of knowledge through books could always find ways to overcome them, as Robert Darnton notes in his now classic work The forbidden best-sellers of pre-revolutionary France. Within this early modern setting of complexity and exchange, Norway may be said to have functioned as a European periphery insofar as it was less vibrant in terms of transmitting and nurturing knowledge than certain other European countries. There are various reasons for this. First, Norway in this period was part of the twin monarchy of Denmark-Norway. In this relationship, however, Denmark soon took the political lead and centralized power in Copenhagen. As a result of this centralization, Norway became devoid of institutions that would engender learned debates and the transmission of knowledge: The first university on Norwegian soil opened its doors to the public as late as 1813, while prior to 1750, Latin schools were almost the sole institutions to offer higher education to those pursuing academic careers. Such conditions, naturally, did not necessarily encourage the establishment of learned societies or circles of debate and the associated correspondence between them that has been preserved in abundance in other parts of Europe. Second, and perhaps most important, Danish-Norwegian culture was one that was restrictive, largely due to the impact of religion: Following the Reformation one of the main aims of the government was to mould a Lutheran state, which meant that the confessionalization of the masses was placed at the top of the political agenda. As a result of this policy, the book market was scrutinized in order to ensure the spread of normative theology. Hence, the printing press was closely supervised, and privileges and monopolies were granted in order to maintain the dominance of the right religious books on the broader book market. One of the strategies for controlling the printed word was to centralize the book trade in Copenhagen. As a result, printing houses in Norway were established relatively late: The first printing house was established in Christiania in 1643, to be followed by Bergen in 1721 and Trondheim in 1739. Only during the course of the 19th century, did the number of printing houses in Norway expand dramatically. Books, at least those that reached the common man, were therefore imported from Denmark, and here, their printing and the associated bookselling business were closely supervised. One should note, however, that the purchasing of books among the learned classes, the clergy included, somehow differed from that of the common man: As opposed to the commonplace book market, the purchasing of books among the learned classes was less restricted, if supervised at all, and for two separate reasons. First, most literature printed in Denmark was primarily of the commonplace type, which, naturally, provided the printers with a more secure income. But, as a result of this situation, most of the books acquiredy by the educated classes in Norway originated in non-Scandinavian countries, and this trade was so diverse that supervision was hardly possible. Second, it is not even certain that the circulation of books among the educated classes was actively restricted, one reason for this being that educated people were perceived as less easily corrupted by the reading of distorting literature than the common man. However, open criticism of the official religious and political ideology of the day among all sections of the population could be perceived as a serious act of dissent, or even heresy, by those in authority. One specific question, perhaps, needs to be addressed here, namely; why choose clerics, and why book collections, in order to witness the flow of information in Norway during a distinct part of the early modern period? There are various reasons for this choise. First, clerics in Norway, as a result of the above mentioned centralization of powers in Copenhagen, formed one of the largest groups of educated personnel in early modern Norway. Second, clerics were also important specialists in early modern societies: They were channels of knowledge for their local communities, and were also presumably the guardians responsible for transmitting the right type of Lutheran message to their parishioners. For these reasons, looking at the world of knowledge of the clergy is particularly revealing. The reasons why I have chosen to look at private libraries in order to map the flow of information among clerics in early modern Norway are also manifold, one being the fact that such an area could not be satisfactorily explored by looking only at conventional notions such as educational institutions, learned societies and printing houses, as these were either lacking or not flourishing. For this reason in particular, I decided to approach it by analyzing book collections. Still, a serious obstacle to this way of approaching intellectual life had to be overcome, namely the low number of book collections that have been preserved from the period in question. In order to overcome this problem, I chose to approach the transmitting of knowledge through looking at the recording of books in inventories. These therefore represent the basic empirical material of my study. Despite the relatively sparse number of inventories giving detailed information about book collections remaining from the period, clerics in Norway 1650–1750 did in fact leave behind a number of descriptions of inventories in probate records. The main reason for this was, naturally, their prominent position in society: The rules for inventorial descriptions among the clergy were somewhat different from those of the common man, and clerics also had their inventories registered in protocols used by the clergy alone. The clergy therefore represents a group of educated personnel whose book culture at least could be identified to a certain degree. In order to identify how clerics in Norway partook in the booming European marketplace of ideas, I shall outline in this study the contents and overarching structures of a select number of clerical book collections. Geographically, these were registered in the southern, eastern, western and northern parts of Norway. Some of them were registered in cities, whereas others were registered in rural districts. Some of them belonged to the upper strata of the clergy, whereas others belonged to the lower, examples being those of the parish clerks. In total, about ninety book collections are examined in this study, and within these, around 10,000 book titles were registered, titles that I have identified with a greater or lesser degree of success. Five distinct questions will be discussed along the way, questions that will define more precisely the flow of information among the Norwegian clergy during a specific part of the early modern period, namely: I: Where did the books come from, or: What were the general patterns of book distribution? II: What was the general structure of the clerical book collection 1650–1750? III: Were there differences in book distribution within the various clerical classes? IV: Were there geographical differences in book occurrences? V: Were there any noticeable changes in the book mass during the period in question? In broad terms, I see the circulation of books as evidence of culture: They tell us about the types of knowledge that reached Norwegian shores, and where they came from. They also tell us about where and among whom different types of books ended up, as well as who were the bestselling authors of the period. They also tell us, albeit indirectly, to what extent official religion, educational networking areas and trade connections were influential in shaping the transmission of knowledge. In short they tell us about the flow of information in a peripheral part of Europe in a period elsewhere marked by expansion and exchange. Whereas the main corpus of this study is devoted to the examination of various clerical book collections, I shall present in this introductory chapter the religious zeitgeist of the period, the various religious epochs of the 17th and 18th centuries and the clergy’s educational background (1.2), information which is needed in order to frame the subsequent examination of book collections. I will also discuss the period’s book distribution and various restrictions put on the market, as well as possible channels of book acquisition among the clergy (1.3). In the latter part of this chapter (1.4), I shall discuss the various liabilities involved in using inventories as source material for tracking the flow of information among clerics in Norway 1650–1750. 1.2 The clergy and their world of knowledge Clerics in Norway 1650–1750 lived in a predominantly religious, non-secularized society in which adhering to the correct belief-system for various reasons were of major importance. First, remaining loyal to a specific type of Lutheranism, understood to be the only right religion, was believed to lead to a benevolent God and eventually to personal salvation and eternal life. Second, the moulding of a unified Lutheran state created a stable society of loyal subjects. It was only during the latter part of the early modern period, and after 1750 in particular, that a greater secularization of society took place, and that a more profound acceptance of other confessions, and of Christian ones in particular, may be witnessed. Legally, Lutheranism in Norway was introduced in 1536 by a stroke of the pen. Unlike in Denmark, where Lutheran beliefs had already taken root, Protestantism came to Norway with very few antecedents. Lutheranism was enforced through the rapid establishment of a carefully designed Church Ordinance, elaborated by Luther’s close collaborator Johann Bugenhagen (died 1558) in the late 1530s. This Church Ordinance, although its efficiency has been debated, laid the cornerstones for how the diffusion of Lutheranism was to be executed. Generally speaking, the 16th century is known in the Norwegian context as the Reformation century. This label points to the time span that was needed in order to implement Protestant religiosity and to replace Catholic organizations with Lutheran ones. Not least the building of a clerical stratum of Lutherans was a long-lasting process: In the early phase of the Reformation century, only those superintendents openly in favour of Catholicism were removed, while superintendents not necessarily trained in Lutheran theology were given the responsibility for converting the clerical strata. Although the New Gospel may be said to have spread slowly among clerics during the course of the 16th century, solid foundations were nevertheless laid by major Lutheran theologians who became decisive in elaborating Lutheran theology on Danish-Norwegian soil, notably Niels Hemmingsen and Peder Palladius. Palladius (died 1560), who had studied theology for five years at Wittenberg, became the natural leader of the first generation of reformers in Denmark-Norway: Through his status as a leading superintendent in Denmark-Norway and professor at the University of Copenhagen, Palladius set a standard to follow with his Catechism. Hemmingsen (died 1600), a professor of dialectics at the University of Copenhagen and a former student of Melanchthon, was also a renowned writer: He produced about one hundred works of which several were translated into German, Danish, English, Swedish and Icelandic. These works, naturally, became highly important in spreading the Lutheran gospel. A certain laxity towards the broader population may also be noted in the early phases of the Reformation: Theologians involved in converting the masses were not supposed to become too specialized and thereby confuse their new Protestant listeners. A deeper understanding of theology was supposed to penetrate the masses little by little. This stress on caution and long-term effects was the conscious result of a Realpolitik that aimed to avoid any outbursts of revolt: In an official letter concerning the introduction of Lutheranism in Norway, for instance, Christian III particularly stressed the need to carefully implement Lutheranism among the lower parts of the population in order to avoid any outbreaks of violence and dissent. In line with this Realpolitik, selected rituals such as baptism, the Eucharist and marriage, as well as feast days, were given major attention in the Church Ordinance, while preaching in particular came to be an important tool in implementing Lutheranism. However, although a cautious attitude was taken towards the implementation of Lutheran theology, lines of demarcation were established to prevent the spread of heresies threatening from abroad as well as from within: In 1539, for instance, the fundats of Copenhagen University stated that all persons creating illegal sects were to be expelled from the Danish-Norwegian crown territories. In 1553, because of the fear of Anabaptists and Sacramentarians (adherents of the Calvinist view of the Eucharist), foreigners were forbidden to settle in Denmark-Norway unless they could provide proof of religious orthodoxy. Similarly, in 1569, the Strangers’ Articles were drafted; these ordered all foreigners to subscribe to the Articles under threat of exile. Precautions were also taken against particular heterodoxies that infiltrated the learned classes, namely Crypto-Calvinism and Philippism. Allegations of these affected, for instance, Copenhagen professors including the above mentioned Niels Hemmingsen as well as Cort Aslakssøn (died 1624), the only Norwegian-born professor serving in Copenhagen at the time. The remnants of Catholicism across all layers of society likewise had to be counteracted. It was only during the 17th century that the broader Norwegian society could be characterized as Lutheran. Lutheranism, however, like all confessional systems, was not
Bowker Data Service Summary
This study of clerical book collections in Norway between 1650 and 1750 provides detailed evidence about the circulation of books among one specific layer of the educated classes in a peripheral part of Europe.
Description for Reader
All those interested in book history, religious history, ecclesiastical history, intellectual history and cultural studies in the early modern period.
Long Description
This study of clerical book collections in Norway 16501750 provides detailed evidence about the circulation of books among one specific layer of the educated classes in a peripheral part of Europe. The wide range of authors and works included in these book collections proves that the Norwegian clergy partook in the European flow of information across borders, a flow that was marked by expansion and exchange rather than narrowness and rigidity. Three core source areas stand out in terms of book acquisition, namely Germany, the Netherlands and England. This wide range of book distribution is indicative of the early modern transmission of knowledge across borders which took place in all areas of academic debate in the wake of Gutenberg.
Main Description
By examining clerical book collections in Norway 16501750, this book describes the flow of books in one of the northernmost areas of Europe, a flow dependant on three networking areas in particular, namely Germany, the Netherlands and England.
Main Description
This study of clerical book collections in Norway 1650 1750 provides detailed evidence about the circulation of books among one specific layer of the educated classes in a peripheral part of Europe. The wide range of authors and works included in these book collections proves that the Norwegian clergy partook in the European flow of information across borders, a flow that was marked by expansion and exchange rather than narrowness and rigidity. Three core source areas stand out in terms of book acquisition, namely Germany, the Netherlands and England. This wide range of book distribution is indicative of the early modern transmission of knowledge across borders which took place in all areas of academic debate in the wake of Gutenberg.

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