Responding to Secularization

The Deaconess Movement in Nineteenth-Century Sweden


The causal link between modernization and secularization constitutes the core of secularization theories, but what these theories often overlook are the ways in which modernity can benefit religion. Focusing on the female diaconate’s contributions to education, health care, and poor relief in nineteenth-century Sweden, this book argues that modernization created new possibilities and opportunities for religious communities to wield public influence. The rise, growth, and social significance of the deaconess movement remain incomprehensible apart from the very modernizing forces that secularization theories claim are detrimental to religion.

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Todd H. Green, Ph.D. (2007) in Religion, Vanderbilt University, is Assistant Professor of Religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. His research and publications focus on secularization in early modern and modern European history.
“This book will be required reading for students of nineteenth-century religious life in Europe as interest in the topic broadens beyond the Anglo-Saxon world.”
Susan Mumm, Massey University. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 64, No. 2 (April 2013), pp. 431-432.

‘'A fuller and more nuanced study of the degree of continuing influence enjoyed by the churches in secular Europe’’.
David Carter, Princeton University. In: Revue D’Histoire Ecclésiastique.

All those interested in secularization, gender and religion, modern history, the history of Christianity, and the sociology of religion.
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