AKH and PRIVACY Seminar: Ordering Private Life on Reformer Niels Hemmingsen

AKH and PRIVACY seminar with PhD Fellow Mattias Skat Sommer on the life and works of Niels Hemmingsen


Section for Church History and Centre for Privacy Studies have invited PhD Fellow Matthias Skat Sommer from School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University to give a seminar on the Danish reformer, Niels Hemmingsen (1513-1600).

Skat Sommer gives an introduction to his seminar here:

Niels Hemmingsen (1513–1600), Danish second-generation reformer, resided at Wittenberg as a student during the late 1530s and early 1540s and graduated with an arts degree. He may have heard Luther’s exposition of the Book of Genesis, and he was particularly close to Melanchthon. Upon his return to native Denmark around 1542, he immediately became a professor in the University of Copenhagen. A few years prior to that, in the course of the reformation in the Danish realm, the university was reformed and in fact turned into a vocational school for future pastors and civil servants. As it was customary, Hemmingsen began his career as a professor of arts. After he has awarded the theological bachelor’s degree in 1553, and the doctoral degree in 1557, he became the primus theologicus, the primary professor of theology.

Probably best known for his suspension from that chair in 1579, my talk, however, focuses on social concepts in Hemmingsen’s writings. From Luther he adapted the so-called teachings of the three estates, but he had an eclectic way of constructing theological arguments. Drawing heavily not only on Melanchthon, but also on Calvin and classical philosophy, Hemmingsen delivered a robust theological underpinning of the new central power emerging in Denmark after the reformation which was centred on the king. A key concept in Hemmingsen’s social thought is that of oeconomia (household, home, house regiment). I will concentrate on the ways in which Hemmingsen’s writings frames this concept, and I will show how it affects his ideas of basic traits in society such as hierarchy, gender roles, vocaction, and money.

The seminar will take place on 29 april from 15-17 and is open to all.

Niels Hemmingsen, painted in 1595