Guds stat och maktens villkor Politiska ideal i Vadstena kloster, ca 1370-1470
Sammanfattning: Vadstena abbey was one of the most powerful religious institutions of Sweden in the Middle Ages. This thesis analyses two specific aspects of this position: the position of Vadstena abbey as an agent in the political space of the late Middle Ages, and the political ideals propagated by that institution.Sermons written for the feast days of Nordic saints constitute the central source material for this study. Sermons were the most efficient mass media of the medieval world and at an institution like Vadstena, preachers could hope to reach thousands of people from all social groups. Using the sermons I have analysed the political ideals propagated by the abbey. In the beginning of the period, the abbey taught an ideal close to that of Bernard of Clairvaux, an ideology of the supremacy of religious institutions over temporal ones, the priests as the lights of society and the unique authority of saint Birgitta. They berated the temporal powers for not following the dictates of the church and maintained that such behaviour would lead to ruin. Towards the middle of the 15th century a significant change occurred. The brothers began to teach that an evil king and tyrant was still legitimate, since his misrule was part of God’s plan.This change in the political ideals is related to a change in the position of the abbey in relation to temporal powers. After being relatively autonomous the abbey gradually became less so. This, I argue, is due to the strengthening of the institution of monarchy during a period otherwise seen as simply chaotic.
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