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Bringing Light to Finland: The Clerical Estate and Enlightenment Literature in Eighteenth-Century Finland

Bringing Light to Finland: The Clerical Estate and Enlightenment Literature in Eighteenth-Century... AbstractIn eighteenth-century Finland, the clergy was one of the dominant, elite groups that took part in all the forums of the early public sphere. In the Lutheran realm of Sweden, the history of reading is inseparable from the Lutheran Church's persistent teaching of the Catechism. Besides their role as preachers and teachers, several Finnish churchmen took an active role in the Finnish book trade as well. When, by the end of the eighteenth century, book production increased and secular literature challenged religious literature, the works of philosophers linked to Enlightenment were among the new literature that found its way into Finnish book collections so far dominated by religious books. Both preventive and post-publication censorship was used to prevent the import of dangerous literature, and the writings of French philosophers were repeatedly banned. Despite the censorship, Enlightenment literature remained accessible to the Finnish audience. The ideas of the Enlightenment aroused enthusiasm as well as suspicion in the clerical estate. Seen from a comparative perspective, the Enlightenment in Finland was never distinctively anticlerical. The book collections of the Finnish clergymen and professors of theology provide proof that their interests besides theology lay in different fields of natural science, philosophy, and secular literature. Among the religious literature, authors of the Enlightenment are frequently listed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Library History Edinburgh University Press

Bringing Light to Finland: The Clerical Estate and Enlightenment Literature in Eighteenth-Century Finland

Library History , Volume 24 (4): 11 – Dec 1, 2008

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
0024-2306
eISSN
1758-3497
DOI
10.1179/174581608X381567
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractIn eighteenth-century Finland, the clergy was one of the dominant, elite groups that took part in all the forums of the early public sphere. In the Lutheran realm of Sweden, the history of reading is inseparable from the Lutheran Church's persistent teaching of the Catechism. Besides their role as preachers and teachers, several Finnish churchmen took an active role in the Finnish book trade as well. When, by the end of the eighteenth century, book production increased and secular literature challenged religious literature, the works of philosophers linked to Enlightenment were among the new literature that found its way into Finnish book collections so far dominated by religious books. Both preventive and post-publication censorship was used to prevent the import of dangerous literature, and the writings of French philosophers were repeatedly banned. Despite the censorship, Enlightenment literature remained accessible to the Finnish audience. The ideas of the Enlightenment aroused enthusiasm as well as suspicion in the clerical estate. Seen from a comparative perspective, the Enlightenment in Finland was never distinctively anticlerical. The book collections of the Finnish clergymen and professors of theology provide proof that their interests besides theology lay in different fields of natural science, philosophy, and secular literature. Among the religious literature, authors of the Enlightenment are frequently listed.

Journal

Library HistoryEdinburgh University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2008

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