Karin Sennefelt and Anton Runesson: "The Word made Flesh: The Body in Protestant Culture, 1600–1750"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Engelska parken - Rausing Room
  • Website
  • Organiser: Department of History of Science and Ideas, and the research programme "Medicine at the Borders of Life"
  • Contact person: Solveig Jülich
  • Seminarium

The History of Medicine Seminar

Karin Sennefelt and Anton Runesson, Stockholm University, present the research project "The Word made Flesh: The Body in Protestant Culture, 1600–1750"

The project challenges current international research that suggests that the bodies of early modern Protestants were somehow secular although society was not. The main thesis is that corporeal and material experience was an essential part of early modern Lutheran religious culture in the Swedish realm. From this follows our purpose: to study the connection between religion and the lived-in-body between 1600 and 1750. We intend to examine how early modern religious world-view influenced the body, and how the body in turn shaped religious experience. The body was involved in all kinds of existential conflicts in religious life: between good and evil, life and death, the body could be fallen or redeemed. Through three separate case studies on the influence of the word of God on the body, on the somatic and emotional reactions to sin, and on the body as the teller of truth, it will be possible to reach an understanding of a lay embodiment of Protestantism. Our focus on the living body leads to an investigation of sources of power, as they were utilized by ordinary people: bodies laid claims to truth, spiritual connectedness and transcendence in a way that words did not. In so doing, corporeal experience shaped not only religious and emotional practice, but understanding of the world and how it worked.