Olaus Petri, Gustav Vasa and the early Swedish Reformation

by Satterlee, Joel Frederic, Ph.D., ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY, 2007, 209 pages; 3270618


This dissertation examines the early phases of the Swedish Reformation, approximately 1520 to 1540, focusing on two main themes: the establishment of the Swedish state; and the work of Olaus Petri, the nation's leading reformer. Gustav Vasa crushed the power of Rome in Sweden, but more than any other, Olaus Petri brought the Gospel and evangelical doctrine to the Swedish population. Through his sermons, publications and translations, as well as his prodding of King Gustav, he shepherded his people toward accepting the Protestant message, and always kept an eye to the unique needs and circumstances of the Swedish populace. He always carefully tailored his message to what he knew was best for his countrymen; not just what they wanted to hear, but what he knew would best help them to accept the evangelical message and apply it to their own lives. While Gustav is recognized as the father of the country and the founder of the modern Swedish state, scholars have failed to recognize the implications of Olaus Petri's work on the emergence of the Swedish state. This dissertation shows that Olaus was just as much a nationalist as Gustav, and just as critical to the formation of Sweden's national identity.

Study of the Reformation in Sweden has long been considered to be peripheral to the understanding of the Protestant Reformation as a whole. Scholars have performed extensive studies of developments at the 'center' of Europe, while relatively little has been written in English on events in Scandinavia, particularly Sweden. However, this dissertation advances the argument that Sweden presented a unique set of circumstances, with unique solutions, and on its own merits is worthy of further study.

Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsBiographies; Church History; European history; Medieval history
Publication Number3270618

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