Chapter 2 Latin, Protestantism and Moral Conduct

Textbooks in Sweden in the Era of Reformation

In: Exploring Textbooks and Cultural Change in Nordic Education 1536–2020
Author: Axel Hörstedt

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This chapter is concerned with the curriculum reading in the so-called learned school in Sweden from the mid sixteenth to the early seventeenth century. During the Reformation process, Swedish education was reshaped according to the new faith. The first official school regulations were issued as part of the Church Law of 1571. In these regulations, humanist education was combined with schoolbooks emphasising Protestantism. Latin was studied through Classical authors such as Cicero, while fundamental protestant books such as the catechism, the Bible and theological compendia implemented the Lutheran faith. The school regulations of 1611 were a means to establish Swedish education further. In the 1620s the first gymnasia were founded for which there were initially no national regulations. Local regulations were issued in which the preferences of each bishop are visible in prescribed books. The schoolbooks and the overall curriculum content used in Swedish education mirror the fact that the forces behind Swedish education Reformation reforms were leading theologians. The chapter shows that three features are discernible in curricula: the importance of knowledge of Latin, the implementation of Protestant faith and the emphasis on moral conduct.


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