Konfessionell krigsmakt. Predikan och bön i den svenska armén 1611-1721

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The broad aim of this thesis is to explain the fundamental themes and function of Swedish field sermons and field prayers, and so to re-examine the view in earlier research that field sermons were primarily ‘Old Testamentary’ in nature. Inspired by more recent international research, I hold that the sermons’ basic functions were twofold: discipline and comfort. What matters, is to understand the disciplinary aspects in terms of the fundamental Lutheran view of the social order, which was expressed in the doctrines of the three estates and of vocation. The army needed disciplined soldiers, and this the sermons answered for, but not primarily in response to the needs of the army, but as a reflection of Lutheranism’s worldview and self-understanding. The main expression of the sermons’ comforting function was the Gospel of Christ. This meant that the soldiers should not fear death, because if they were to die, it would be the will of God, and after death awaited eternal life. The basic themes seen in the sermons cannot be described as being ‘Old Testamentary’. The sermons were not primarily based on passages from the Old Testament, nor did martial themes and the Decalogue dominate at the expense of the Gospel.

The more specific aim of the thesis is to understand the ways in which preaching might have helped shape the self-image and worldview of both officers and men in the Swedish Army. A key analytical perspective is provided by Thomas Kaufmann’s thesis on ‘Lutheran confessional culture’. Kaufmann emphasizes Lutheranism’s outward boundaries–towards other confessions–but also its internal pluralisation. I have coined the methodological term ‘offered identification’ in order to study the self-image presented to Swedish soldiery. The premise here is that a person’s self-image consists of multiple identifications, while the word ‘offered’ signals the fact that I examine ideals, but not their eventual appropriation by the soldiers. In my analysis I examine three offered identifications. A confessional Lutheran identification as the correct sort of Christian was set against those I term ‘the confessional others’, most important being the Roman Catholic Church or ‘the papists’. An important part of a national identification as a Swedish subject was the belief that they were the chosen people–that Swedes were the new Israel. A professional identification as a Christian soldier was based on the Lutheran doctrines of vocation and of the three estates, which meant it was legitimate for a Christian to be a soldier. The soldierly ideal was fundamentally a Christian ideal.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Church and Mission Studies
  • Jarlert, Anders, Supervisor
  • Ericson Wolke, Lars, Supervisor, External person
Award date2014 May 14
Print ISBNs978-91-87439-06-3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2014-05-14
Time: 10:15
Place: Sal 118, Centrum för teologi och religionsvetenskap, Allhelgona kyrkogata 8, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Nordbäck, Carola
Title: TD, FD, docent
Affiliation: Umeå universitet


The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion


  • field sermons
  • military sermons
  • prayers
  • divine services
  • chaplains
  • Lutheran confessional culture
  • identifications
  • confessional identity
  • national identity
  • Swedish army
  • 17th century

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