Death In Early Protestant Tradition (completed)

The project investigates the complicated religious and cultural interaction between the old and the new in dealing with death and the dead – with the starting point in Norwegian and Danish source material, and with emphasis on a European contextualization.

The epitaph of M. Balthasar Cademann  (Dead 1607), Marienkirche, Pirna

The project in short

Concentrating on two main groups of sources, epitaphs and funeral sermons, the project sets out to investigate the cultural changes of death in the Lutheran Kingdom of Denmark-Norway in the 16th and early 17th century. The European context is constituted primarily by the homeland of Lutheranism, Germany/Saxony.

Our research into the epitaphs intends to shed light on their place and function in religious, social, and aesthetic terms in the Lutheran church interior in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In what way did they present the Lutheran heroes to be remembered by these monuments?

The Funeral sermons offered the occasion to develop a narrative about the dead person. Here, Late Medieval traditions not only from the Legends of the saints but also from the Ars Moriendi contribute to the profile and content of this genre in the Protestant context.

The interdisciplinary profile and the comparative perspectives are both essential to the project. Some new answers to the overall question about new ways of negotiating between the living and the dead in Reformation Culture are supposed to be presented at the end of our work.


The project was initiated in 2010, as a collaboration between The Faculty of Theology and Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Oslo. The head of the project is Professor dr. theol Tarald Rasmussen at the Faculty of Theology


The project is funded by The Research Council of Norway (FRIHUM) and runs  through 2013.

More about the project

The first part of the application provides a wider presentation of the project. (doc)

Published Mar. 14, 2011 12:45 PM - Last modified June 19, 2020 12:56 PM