”Jeg skriver for tænkende Mænd, der selv maae kunne prøve Aanderne”: Nikolai Lorenz Fallesens tidsskrift for religionslærere (1793–1808)

  • Merethe Roos Østfold University College
Keywords: media history, periodicals, Denmark-Norway, theology, religious universalism


“I am writing for intellectuals who are able to judge the spirits”: N. F. Fallesen’s Periodical for Teachers in Religion 1793–1808

This article thematises the first periodical for members of the clergy in Denmark-Norway, Nikolai Lorenz Fallesen’s Magazin for Religionslærere, med hensyn til vore Tider (Copenhagen, 1793–1802) (cont. as Theologisk Maanedsskrivt for Fædrelandets Religionslærere [Copenhagen, 1803–1808]), and sheds light on how Fallesen uses this periodical to present ideas typical for late eighteenth-century theology and the philosophy of religion for a new target group of readers. These readers were rural clergymen and pastors who did not normally participate in academic and intellectual discussions. Among what Fallesen enlightened was the idea that moral behaviour could be seen as the true content of Christianity and the consequence of Christian revelation. This, in turn, leads to a religious universalism in which other institutional religions might also be included as legitimate and ”right”. By presenting different institutional religions and emphasising openness as typical for biblical texts, Fallesens periodical addressed the autonome citizen characteristic of the turn of the nineteenth century. This citizen, here: the rural pastor, was expected to use his own intellectual abilities to judge whether or not the religion under consideration could be regarded as good. This judgement was based upon practical matters rather than norms and dogmas.