Theological origins of the Scandinavian welfare state: religious and secular interpretations
Stepanova Elena (2021)
"Theological origins of the Scandinavian welfare state: religious and secular interpretations ",
Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta.
Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie
pp. 45-63 (in Russian).
DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202195.45-63
The article analyses the research interpretations, both religious and secular, of the provisions of Martin Luther’s doctrine of “two kingdoms”, as well as his views on the sinfulness of human nature, the universal priesthood, etc., which infl uenced the formation and development of the Scandinavian model of the welfare state (mainly using the example of Denmark). The article raises the following questions: How these theological ideas and principles are embodied in traditions, values, behavioural strategies, social trends, formal and informal rules and norms that has led to the emergence of the welfare state? What is common in the institutional design of the welfare state with the Evangelical Lutheran preaching, which for centuries has proclaimed the individual and collective responsibility for the care about others? How the impact of these ideas on social attitudes and beliefs of people may be analysed? The article draws on the results of recent research on this issue that arose within the framework of the “cultural turn” in the humanities and social sciences, which has gradually led to a change in the emphasis in research logic and brought almost to the fore the historical, cultural and religious characteristics of the Scandinavian countries. The article analyses in detail Martin Luther’s doctrine of “two kingdoms” and its contemporary interpretations, including their infl uence on the ideology of Scandinavian social democracy. The conclusion is made that the Scandinavian model of the welfare state is the result of a unique combination of Lutheran piety, the activities of social democratic parties, historical circumstances that has led to the formation of rather homogeneous ethnoconfessional national states, as well as the activities of many people who desired and were able to create decent living conditions for themselves. This topic requires further research, taking into account the socio-cultural context of a particular country.
Lutheranism, secularity, “two kingdoms” doctrine, welfare state, Scandinavian model, social democracy, universalism
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Information about the author
Stepanova Elena Academic Degree:
Doctor of Sciences*
in Philosophy; Academic Rank:
Associate Professor; Place of work:
Ural Institute for Humanities; of Ural Federal University 51 Prospekt Lenina, Ekaterinburg; Post:
assistant professor; ORCID: 0000-0002-2559-3573
*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.