Luther and Norwegian Nation-Building


  • Anders Aschim Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences



Reformation, Luther, Norwegian language, Nynorsk


In most Protestant countries, the Reformation was closely connected to the development of vernacular languages and literatures. In Norway under Danish rule, this was not the case. Only in the 19th century, during the nation-building period of independent Norway, a Norwegian ecclesiastical language was developed. Some authors claim that this completed the Reformation in Norway – a protracted Reformation indeed. Particularly important were the hymns of Magnus Brostrup Landstad and Elias Blix.

This study examines the role of Luther in the Norwegian 19th century national discourse, suggesting a three-phase development: Luther as text, as inspiration, and as argument. The full-blown use of Luther as argument was taken up by proponents of a nynorsk ecclesiastical language only during the final years of the Swedish-Norwegian union, just before its dissolution in 1905.

Author Biography

Anders Aschim, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Anders Aschim (f. 1958) is a professor of Religious education at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences in Hamar. He graduated in Theology from MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society (1984) and holds a dr.philos.-degree in History from UiT The Arctic University of Norway (2010). His main publications are in the fields of biblical studies and historical studies with a particular focus on Norwegian 19th century culture and religion.




How to Cite

Aschim, Anders. 2019. “Luther and Norwegian Nation-Building”. Nordlit, no. 43 (November):127–141.