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Penser l’histoire religieuse au xxie siècle

 | 
Yves Krumenacker
, 
Raymond A. Mentzer

Revivalist women in social and spiritual interaction

Anders Jarlert

Résumé

Question méthodologique : Comment rendre visible l'interaction entre les positions sociales et spirituelles, et entre le genre et la classe ? Est-il vrai que les femmes en général ont été actives à un niveau décisif lors de la première phase d'un réveil avant d'être ensuite rétrogradées à un niveau inférieur ?
Étude de cas : Le mouvement de réveil conservateur de Schartau en Suède au début du xixe siècle, au sein duquel deux femmes non mariées d'Uddevalla ont pris la parole en public lors de réunions de l'Église locale dans les années 1890, l'une d'entre elles étant la propriétaire d'une auberge locale qui était un centre de soins d'esprit clérical. Aucune d'entre elles n'a prêché, mais toutes deux ont agi publiquement dans des affaires administratives d'église avec le modèle de ménagère dans un ménage luthérien.
Le document examinera la relation entre le sexe/genre et la classe sociale en indiquant que les positions des femmes dans les mouvements de réveil doivent être examinées à la fois dans les domaines spirituel et matériel, et que leurs positions, de manière plus générale, ont été dépendantes de leur situation économique et sociale positions ainsi que sur leurs positions spirituelles.
Il est nécessaire d'observer l'interaction entre le revivalisme (la maîtresse d'un « ménage spirituel ») et les structures d'église ordinaires (la maîtresse du ménage social), en soulignant les différences dans l'importance de classe dans ces structures.

Texte intégral

  • 1 London, Lambeth Palace Library, R. T. Davidson Papers, vol. 522, 1889 28 Aug, 9 Sept.

1The division of life and society into a public and a private sphere is a self-evident prerequisite of Orthodox Lutheran teaching of the three estates as a functional order giving each member of the society her or his place in each of the estates of ecclesiastical teaching, political government and economic household. In the spiritual tradition initiated by the South-Swedish clergyman Henric Schartau (1757-1825) such Orthodox teaching in social and ecclesiastical matters was combined with a conservative Pietist teaching on spiritual items. Randall Davidson, the later Archbishop of Canterbury, who met some of Schartau’s followers in 1889, characterized this tradition as a High Church party in their emphasis on private confession and their strict rules of conduct, on the other hand preaching conversion in a quasi-Methodist way1.

Martin David Roth : Henric Schartau (1757-1825), ca 1797

Martin David Roth : Henric Schartau (1757-1825), ca 1797
  • 2 Peter Stromberg, Symbols of Community. The cultural systems of a Swedish Church, Tucson, Az, Unive (...)

2This spiritual tradition had no organisation of its own, on the contrary, Christian associations – except Bible societies – were criticised and the Church was, at least initially, regarded as its only formal framework. The concept of a shared commitment system explains how this worked : a free choice, a common revolutionary experience, the driving force for internal change, and the emphasis on social consensus, that together formed a shared identity. This commitment system is neither entirely private nor public2. In the Schartau tradition, the spiritual life is formed by the combination of public devotion, preaching and teaching with private soul-care in personal calls or letters, and a private devotional life in fellowship, for example, several people reading together each in their own book.

  • 3 Hanne Sanders, Bondevækkelse og sekularisering. En protestantisk folkelig kultur i Danmark og Sver (...)

3Historian Hanne Sanders has emphasised that the new individualism of the rural revivals in Denmark and Sweden during the first half of the nineteenth century could succeed because it did not appear as a break, but was built on social structures and ideas, where women already had a position as important as that of men3.

  • 4 Linda Alcoff, « Cultural feminism versus post-structuralism : the identity crisis in feminist theo (...)
  • 5 Teresa De Laureits, « Feminist studies/critical studies : issues, terms, contexts », in Teresa De (...)
  • 6 Anders Jarlert, « Writing Existential Biography as Ecclesiastical History », dans Anders Jarlert ( (...)
  • 7 Anders Jarlert, Drottning Victoria. Ur ett inre liv En existentiell biografi, Stockholm, Carlssons (...)

4Already thirty years ago, Linda Alcott asserted that the very identity of women I constituted by their position, and implies that woman herself « actively contributes to the context within which her position can be delineated4 ». Teresa de Lauretis added that « the identity of a woman is the product of her own interpretation and reconstruction of her history, as mediated through the cultural discursive context to which she has access5 ». In an article on writing existential biography as ecclesiastical history, I have emphasised that « historians who try to eliminate the existential dimension from biography affect the theological dimension as well6 ». In my biography on the inner life of Queen Victoria of Sweden (2012), I have developed the concept of « offered identity », i.e. the different and changeable identifications of a person form his or her identity. Together they form an offered identity. The individual may identify herself to varying degrees, but in her choice she is limited to the identities being offered, whether connecting or breaking with earlier identities7.

  • 8 Anders Jarlert, Ämbete och tro. En undersökning av den kyrkliga debatten i Göteborgs stift under s (...)

5In my dissertation 1984, I stated that Henric Schartau’s followers from a theoretical view must be distinguished on two levels, a tradition in theology and spirituality, and a formation in Church politics8. Historically, the latter formation was not established until the diocesan synod in 1846, and all clergymen who belonged to the spiritual tradition did not engage or even accept the political formation. As self-evident as it was that women should follow Schartau’s teachings in theology and spirituality, as self-evident it was that they should not mix into any political formation.

6My case persons are two women in the town of Uddevalla, situated on the Swedish West coast, north of Gothenburg. Miss Tekla Nyberg (1851-1931) was probably the very first female fire insurance agent in Sweden. Furthermore, she was one of the first women in western Sweden to occupy a public forum. She spoke at parochial church meetings as early as 1892, and from a most conservative point of view.’

  • 9 « Kvinnan i kyrkans tjänst. En interview med Dr Parker », Idun, 1895, p. 91-93.

7In Sweden, the 1890s were years of women’s liberation on different levels from silence in religious life. From 1882 until 1891, Hanna Ouchterlony built up the Salvation Army from nothing to 10 000 soldiers. In 1895, the women’s weekly Idun published an interview with the Congregationalist Joseph Parker of the City Temple in London, on woman in the service of the Church in which he emphasised female preaching, on the condition that women did not neglect their domestic duties9.

  • 10 With the author, duplicated memoirs, ms. « Signe Hellbergs memoarer », p. 37-43.
  • 11 Axel Hellman, Gället kring Bäveån. 800 års kyrkohistoria, Uddevalla pastorat, Uddevalla 1967, p. 1 (...)

8In her younger days, Miss Tekla Nyberg had been a somewhat radical woman. She was an intimate friend of the radical Miss Maya Nyman, who arrived from Paris in the 1870s, shocking Uddevalla with her short hair, her black woollen stocking, and her propagation of the radical pronoun of address, « Ni », instead of titles. The nature and date of Tekla Nyberg’s change of mind and direction is unknown, but in the 1890s she was an intimate friend of the conservative Miss Laura Hasselgren (d. 1900). Miss Hasselgren was the owner of a well-reputed inn which served as the hotel for the rural clergy visiting Uddevalla, and as the dining-rooms of the « homeless » gentlemen of the city10. Miss Hasselgren’s family had belonged to the Moravian Brethren but changed to the Schartau tradition during the revival in the 1850s. In due course all her property was bequeathed to the parish of Uddevalla and has since provided large contributions to the needy11.

Tekla Nyberg (1851-1931), © Bohusläns museum :
https://digitaltmuseum.se/011014306973/tekla-nyberg-1851-1931 ;
https://digitaltmuseum.se/​011014307746/​tekla-nyberg-1851-1931

Tekla Nyberg (1851-1931), © Bohusläns museum : https://digitaltmuseum.se/011014306973/tekla-nyberg-1851-1931 ; https://digitaltmuseum.se/​011014307746/​tekla-nyberg-1851-1931
  • 12 Anders Jarlert, Göteborgs stifts herdaminne 1620-1999. III. Fässbergs, Älvsyssels södra och norra (...)

9The uncommonly strong position of the Schartau tradition in the city of Uddevalla was first due to the great revival in the 1850s, second to the political career of Gustaf Theodor Ljunggren (1812-1900), rector from 1854. He had been a member of the clerical estate in the four-estate parliament 1856-59, 1859-60, 1862-63 and 1865-66, and a commonly elected MP in the Second Chamber 1870-83. During these years he had to keep a personal curate. Since 1872, a regular curate was placed in Uddevalla, and since 1891, Ljunggren was partially off duty. Of the more than 25 young curates during all these years, many belonged to the Schartau tradition, which fortified the spiritual power of this tradition in different social layers of the city. One could even say that the political power of Rev. Ljunggren left room for the spiritual influence of his curates, and thus, weakened his own spiritual position12.

  • 13 Ingrid Åberg, « Revivalism, philanthropy and emancipation. Women’s liberation and organization in (...)

10The positions of Laura Hasselgren and Tekla Nyberg confirm historian Ingrid Åberg’s observations that individual responsibility and personal rebirth confer a strong position, giving those affected « the means of transcending the normal berries normally imposed by sex and class ». But it must be observed that both Laura Hasselgren and Tekla Nyberg were single. A married woman could not transcend these barriers so easily. And it is obvious that our examples must be distinguished from Åberg’s evangelical women who presented an alternative to « a male culture based on inns and public houses to which women were not admitted13 ». In Uddevalla, the inn was even run by a pious, single woman, not in the spirit of temperance, but of moderation in the use of alcoholic beverages, while receiving respectful clerical visitors in her inner room.

  • 14 « Kyrkostämman med Uddevalla och Bäfve », Bohusläningen, 12 Dec. 1890.
  • 15 Göteborg, Landsarkivet i Göteborg, Uddevalla Kyrkoarkiv, Uddevalla och Bäve Kyrkostämmoprotokoll 1 (...)

11The immediate reasons for Tekla Nyberg’s appearance at a parochial church meeting in 1892 was that the church of Uddevalla, which could seat 1 200 people, had for a long time been overcrowded at the main services. It was accordingly decided, in December 1890, to duplicate main services each Sunday, as an experiment. The proposition was put forward by the Mayor, Otto Emil Sandegren (1816-1900), who had been mayor of city since 1853, and the leading merchants, with 1 585 votes in favour of the proposal and 502 against – many of the latter from otherwise silent women14. On 3 and 17 March 1892, Tekla Nyberg insisted, on behalf of herself and Miss Hasselgren, that the church meeting should express its acceptance of the new order of services on the condition that immediate preparations were made for building a new church. Miss Hasselgren was willing to donate 2 000 Swedish crowns to the building work (approximately 11 000 Euros today). About thirty persons were present, and the women’s proposal was turned down by the clerical chairman for formal reasons. Their reservation was put on the record and was therefore read aloud in the main services15.

  • 16 « Kyrkostämma med Uddevalla och Bäfve församlingar », Bohusläns Annonsblad, 17 Feb. 1893 ; « Kyrko (...)

12At another parochial church meeting, on 14 February 1893, Miss Nyberg pointed out that the new order of services had brought a reduction of twenty-three service opportunities, since the early morning preaching services had been cancelled because of the duplicated main services. The latter were to be counted as single opportunities only, as they were identical. The young clergyman Paul Berg, himself of the Schartau tradition, spoke in her support16.

  • 17 « Den ifrågasatta nya kyrkan i Uddevalla », Bohusläningen, 12 Oct. 1893 ; « Kyrkostämman i tisdags (...)

13On 10 October 1893, Miss Nyberg read a written statement before the parochial church meeting. She had found it sad to listen to the (male !) discussion. A proposition had been put forward to build a new church, not now, but in a future that does not belong to us. Instead, we should use our time, and quickly do what could be done. It had been said that there was no money, no money for a temple to the Highest One, who has said : « Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine ». Unknown « people » did not want to give back anything of the good that had been given to us. But there was enough money for other things : for railways, bridges, plantations, and, especially, for schools. How many schools are being supported, but only one church ! So it is : worldly reason and unbelief are given the ascendancy. It had been said that there was no need for a church, though this need was both known and acknowledged. Many years ago, the town had borrowed a big sum, including 80 000 crowns for a new church. Where was this money ? Finally, Miss Nyberg demanded 500 crowns for an investigation of the matter. This came as a surprise, since the parochial church council had demanded 2 000 crowns for the same purpose ! This proposed investigation was defeated by 1 928 votes from forty-four persons, against 721 votes from thirty-four17. A new church was not built until 1963.

Gunnar Åberg : Utgång från kyrkan (Exit from the church), Bohusläns museum

Gunnar Åberg : Utgång från kyrkan (Exit from the church), Bohusläns museum
  • 18 [Gustaf Åberger], Schartauanismen i lära och lefverne af en svenska kyrkans vän -BRG-, Stockholm, (...)

14It is obvious that Miss Nyberg broke an important rule of the old societal order, though doing this in support of a conservative formation may have excused her in these very circles. Supported by the Bible, she spoke publicly in a political issue. During the last years of the 1890s, women spoke at parochial church meetings in Gothenburg as well. Male liberals criticized these conservative female pioneers for being sectarian and dominating the elections of incumbents, and for speaking in violation of the apostle’s words in I Corinthians 14.34-3518. In the countryside, such meetings were almost entirely reserved for males.

  • 19 See Yngve Larsson, På marsch mot demokratin. Från hundragradig skala till allmän rösträtt (1900-19 (...)

15The right to vote in local elections was at the time connected to the payment of local taxes, so that tax-paying, unmarried women voted together with the men. Married women in Stockholm voted as well as early as in the 1880s ; but even in 1904 a married woman was denied her right to vote because she was under her husband’s guardianship. The regulations for parochial church meetings matched the regulations for local election. In some places, for example in Gothenburg, equal rights to vote were assured by local law in elections of incumbents. This was made general law in 1910, when even the wives of the voting men were allowed to vote in these elections19.

  • 20 Alcoff, « Cultural feminism », p. 434-435.

16The independent, unmarried urban woman of the Schartau tradition questions the traditional picture of a silent, serving woman, both in appearance and in action when she steps into the political field. As a Lutheran High Church laywoman, Tekla Nyberg represents a new type of emancipated woman, who was publicly active in church politics, opposing both the mayor and the rector. Her actions show – in Alcoff’s formulation – how women use their positional perspective as a point from which values are interpreted and constructed rather than as a locus of an already determined set of values20. This position is realized, limited, and directed by the emancipated woman’s experience and identity as a Christian, though it is legal only through her social position as a tax-payer. This legal aspect was often of great importance in the Schartau tradition, and since she appeared within the legal borders, Tekla Nyberg could also be accepted from a spiritual aspect.

17In this example we have observed both the voting regulations, which limited the right to vote and speak to tax-payers, and the creation of a new female identity as church politician. These women in Uddevalla belonged to an urban, middle-class culture. Revivalism provided them with a common ideology, emphasising the Lutheran doctrine of vocation, supplying its followers of different sexes and classes with common limits and positive qualities such as assurance and an alternative, religious class-consciousness.

  • 21 Magnus Fredrik Roos, Något för Sjöfolk i Samtal om det oumbärligaste till en förnöjsam och lycklig (...)

18Most interesting is that these women acted from a religious position that gave them a spiritually motivated respect from the many women of the working class, who followed the strict Schartau tradition, though it was their social position as independent, unmarried, and tax-paying women that made their actions possible. These actions could be regarded as a natural responsibility for persons who got their political authority by paying taxes. This was clearly an extension of the scheme in the Lutheran teaching of the household, though without breaking with this scheme. It is interesting to note, that during the very same years, a well-established rector in a parish nearby, Johan Victor Thuresson, belonging to the same tradition, and perhaps one of Miss Hasselgren’s clerical visitors, prepared his translation and edition of the Wurttemberg theologian Magnus Friedrich Roos’ dialogue book for seafarers (Etwas für Seefahrer). Here, a merchant’s wife is very active in two of the dialogues, giving witness of her faith and spiritual advice to a captain. This could be accepted according to the Lutheran teaching of the household, since the merchant was the owner of the captain’s ship, and his wife thus could be regarded as the captain’s mistress21.

Notes

1 London, Lambeth Palace Library, R. T. Davidson Papers, vol. 522, 1889 28 Aug, 9 Sept.

2 Peter Stromberg, Symbols of Community. The cultural systems of a Swedish Church, Tucson, Az, University of Arizona Press, 1986, p. 4-9, 90, 98.

3 Hanne Sanders, Bondevækkelse og sekularisering. En protestantisk folkelig kultur i Danmark og Sverige 1820-1850, Stockholm, Stads- och kommunhistoriska institutet, 1995, p. 185, 197.

4 Linda Alcoff, « Cultural feminism versus post-structuralism : the identity crisis in feminist theory », Signs Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 13 (190878), p. 434.

5 Teresa De Laureits, « Feminist studies/critical studies : issues, terms, contexts », in Teresa De Lauretis (éd.), Feminist Studies/Critical Studies, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1986, p. 180.

6 Anders Jarlert, « Writing Existential Biography as Ecclesiastical History », dans Anders Jarlert (éd.,) Spiritual and Ecclesiastical Biographies. Research, results, and reading, Stockholm, Kungl. Vitterhets historie och antikvitets akademien, 2017, p. 233.

7 Anders Jarlert, Drottning Victoria. Ur ett inre liv En existentiell biografi, Stockholm, Carlssons, 2012, p. 17.

8 Anders Jarlert, Ämbete och tro. En undersökning av den kyrkliga debatten i Göteborgs stift under slutet av 1800-talet, Stockholm, Almqvist & Wiksell international, 1984, p. 17f.

9 « Kvinnan i kyrkans tjänst. En interview med Dr Parker », Idun, 1895, p. 91-93.

10 With the author, duplicated memoirs, ms. « Signe Hellbergs memoarer », p. 37-43.

11 Axel Hellman, Gället kring Bäveån. 800 års kyrkohistoria, Uddevalla pastorat, Uddevalla 1967, p. 132, 227, 253.

12 Anders Jarlert, Göteborgs stifts herdaminne 1620-1999. III. Fässbergs, Älvsyssels södra och norra kontrakt, Göteborg, Tre Böcker, 2016, p. 523.

13 Ingrid Åberg, « Revivalism, philanthropy and emancipation. Women’s liberation and organization in the early nineteenth century », Scandinavian Jorunal of History, 13 (1988), p. 406-407.

14 « Kyrkostämman med Uddevalla och Bäfve », Bohusläningen, 12 Dec. 1890.

15 Göteborg, Landsarkivet i Göteborg, Uddevalla Kyrkoarkiv, Uddevalla och Bäve Kyrkostämmoprotokoll 1887-1899 (K IIaa:3) ; « Med den nya gudstjänstordningen », Bohusläningen, 5 March 1892; « Klagomålen öfver gudstjenstordningen », « Frågan om ny kyrkobygnad i Uddevalla », Bohusläningen, 19 March 1892.

16 « Kyrkostämma med Uddevalla och Bäfve församlingar », Bohusläns Annonsblad, 17 Feb. 1893 ; « Kyrkostämman », Bohusläningen, 16 Feb. 1893.

17 « Den ifrågasatta nya kyrkan i Uddevalla », Bohusläningen, 12 Oct. 1893 ; « Kyrkostämman i tisdags med Uddevalla och Bäfve församlingar », Bohusläns Annonsblad, 13 Oct. 1893.

18 [Gustaf Åberger], Schartauanismen i lära och lefverne af en svenska kyrkans vän -BRG-, Stockholm, P.A. Huldberg, 1901, p. 106-108.

19 See Yngve Larsson, På marsch mot demokratin. Från hundragradig skala till allmän rösträtt (1900-1920), Stockholm, Stadsarkivet, 1967, p. 116-117, 131-132.

20 Alcoff, « Cultural feminism », p. 434-435.

21 Magnus Fredrik Roos, Något för Sjöfolk i Samtal om det oumbärligaste till en förnöjsam och lycklig sjöresa, Lund, Gleerup, 1897, p. 45-66.

Table des illustrations

Titre Martin David Roth : Henric Schartau (1757-1825), ca 1797
URL http://books.openedition.org/larhra/docannexe/image/8123/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 286k
Titre Tekla Nyberg (1851-1931), © Bohusläns museum : https://digitaltmuseum.se/011014306973/tekla-nyberg-1851-1931 ; https://digitaltmuseum.se/​011014307746/​tekla-nyberg-1851-1931
URL http://books.openedition.org/larhra/docannexe/image/8123/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 146k
URL http://books.openedition.org/larhra/docannexe/image/8123/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 121k
Titre Gunnar Åberg : Utgång från kyrkan (Exit from the church), Bohusläns museum
URL http://books.openedition.org/larhra/docannexe/image/8123/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 245k

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Lund University, Suède

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