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Moder och modern?: Svenskkyrklig mariologi och synen på kön och kyrka 1920-2010
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2012 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Mother and Modern? : Mariology in the Church of Sweden and Ideas about the Sexes and the Church 1920-2010 (English)
Abstract [en]

This study deals with questions about male and female, power and church, related to the Mariologies of three prominent leaders in the Church of Sweden in the last century: Erling Eidem, Paulina Mariadotter and Cristina Grenholm. The mentioned topics are important for conservative High Church people as well as for radical feminists, and they are therefore necessary to address in the context of discussions about the church´s identity and the search of greater unity.

Each Mariology is related to contemporary ideas about the relations between male and female, and to the tradition of the church as the leaders themselves see it. During the years 1920-2010 the relations between the sexes changed a lot as a result of the impact of modernity, which also affected how people perceived the relationship between the individual and the tradition/authorities. The present study concludes that there is a connection between Mariology and contemporary ideas about male and female. However, the Mariologist´s attitude to the tradition of the church seems to decide which perspective is allowed to dominate. Eidem wants people to subordinate themselves to the tradition while Grenholm criticizes it and wants to change it. Paulina Mariadotter exemplifies the dialectic between a “small tradition” and the “great tradition” of the church. Mariadotter interprets her own experience in light of the tradition. This makes her capable of handling contemporary challenges in continuity with the same tradition.

The study argues, on the basis of an analysis of the three Mariologies, that the modern demand for equality between the sexes can be managed in continuity with the tradition of the church. Such an equality is not a right but a gift from God trough Jesus Christ, which means that the ideal of equality between male and female will not necessarily entail the abandonment of the idea of female subordination.

Mariological perspectives can help us to recognize voluntary subordination as important for reaching blessedness and as appropriate in the context of the perception of the church as a mother. Such a self-understanding may reconcile the hierarchical and nurturing functions of the church with reference to self-donating love and sensitivity. This means that Mariology may also provide a deepened understanding of the way to “unity in Christ” within the Church of Sweden.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 65 p.
Keyword [sv]
Mariologi, Svenska kyrkan, kön, genus, makt, ecklesiologi, kyrklig enhet.
National Category
Religious Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-67007OAI: diva2:610443
Subject / course
Educational program
Theology Programme - Master Education
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2013-03-13 Created: 2013-03-11 Last updated: 2013-03-13Bibliographically approved

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Vennberg, Gunvor
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