Reimagining the Nordic Bible: Bible Reception in Contemporary Nordic Identity Formation
Workshop on the use of the Bible in contemporary cultural and political debates in the Nordic countries at Aarhus University 31 October - 1 November 2019.

In the Nordic countries, the Bible continues to play a significant role as container of cultural values. This workshop at Aarhus University is a platform for new critical reflection on the use of the Bible in contemporary cultural and political debates in the Nordic countries. In Nordic Lutheran societies, the Bible has traditionally been perceived as a basis of religion and social cohesion. Whereas such religious and Lutheran factors in the historical genesis of the Nordic welfare states are well-researched, the focus of the present workshop is on public use of the Bible in present debates. The interdisciplinary workshop consists of a series of case studies that discuss how Nordic bibles (translations, Children’s bibles, rewritings, reenactments in art and politics) and Nordic bible use (the Bible as argument and icon in the public sphere) legitimize and criticize common cultural codes and values of Nordic welfare societies (gender equality, individualism, national identities, religion as private phenomenon, division of religion and politics, secularized Protestant ideas, etc.). Without essentializing the idea of a ‘Nordic Bible,’ it is the purpose to discuss common—and opposing—trends in biblical discourse across the Nordic countries. Whether there is such thing as a ‘Nordic Bible,’ i.e., a particular understanding and use of the Bible in the Nordic welfare states, remains an open question, but the workshop and its subsequent publication aims to demonstrate that the reception of the Bible is an excellent showcase of contemporary Nordic identity formation in an evolving world.

The workshop is organized by Aarhus University, University of Oslo, University of Helsinki, and University of Iceland in conjunction. Workshop papers will be published in a joint volume. A second workshop is planned to take place at University of Oslo in 2020.

See the workshop program on the Aarhus University websitse.

Participation by regstration only (by 25 October 2019), contact: Kasper Bro Larsen, e-mail: kbl@cas.au.dk.