Grundtvig, N.F.S.


Grundtvig, N.F.S.

▪ Danish bishop and poet
in full  Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig  
born September 8, 1783, Udby, Denmark
died September 2, 1872, Copenhagen
 Danish bishop and poet, founder of Grundtvigianism, a theological movement that revitalized the Danish Lutheran church. He was also an outstanding hymn writer, historian, and educator and a pioneer of studies on early Scandinavian literature.

      After taking a degree in theology (1803) from the University of Copenhagen, Grundtvig studied the Eddas and Icelandic sagas. His Nordens mythologi (1808; “Northern Mythology”) marked a turning point in this research; like his early poems, it was inspired by Romanticism.

      In 1811, after a spiritual and emotional conflict that ended in a “Christian awakening,” Grundtvig became his father's curate. His first attempt to write history from a Christian standpoint, Verdens krønike (1812; “World Chronicle”), attracted much attention. From 1813 until 1821, his criticism of the rationalist tendencies that were then predominant in Denmark's Lutheran church made it impossible for him to find a pastorate. In poems such as those in Roskilde-riim (1814; “The Roskilde Rhymes”) and other collections and in Bibelske prædikener (1816; “Biblical Sermons”), he called for a renewal of the spirit of Martin Luther (Luther, Martin), and in his opposition to the Romantic philosophers he foreshadowed Søren Kierkegaard (Kierkegaard, Søren). During these years he also opened the way for research into Anglo-Saxon literature with his version of Beowulf (1820).

      In 1825 he was the central figure in a church controversy when in his Kirkens gienmæle (“The Church's Reply”) he accused the theologian H.N. Clausen of treating Christianity as merely a philosophical idea. Grundtvig maintained that Christianity was a historical revelation, handed down by the unbroken chain of a living sacramental tradition at baptism and communion. His writings were placed under censorship, and in 1826 he resigned his pastorate but continued to develop his view of the Christian church in theological writings and in Christelige prædikener (1827–30; “Christian Sermons”). He expounded his philosophy in a new and inspired Nordens mythologi (1832; “Northern Mythology”) and in his Haandbog i verdenshistorien (1833–43; “Handbook of World History”). As an educator—e.g., in Skolen for livet (1838; “Schools for Life”)—he stressed the need for the thorough knowledge of the Danish language and of Danish and biblical history, in opposition to those who favoured the study of the classics in Latin. His criticism of classical schools as elitist inspired the founding, after 1844, of voluntary residential folk high schools, in which young people of every class were encouraged to be educated. These schools spread throughout Scandinavia and inspired adult education in several other countries.

      In 1839 Grundtvig was given the position of preacher at Vartov Hospital in Copenhagen, and in 1861 he was given the rank of bishop. His liberal outlook found political expression in his active part in the movement leading to the introduction of parliamentary government in Denmark in 1849.

      Particularly lasting is Grundtvig's position as the greatest Scandinavian hymn writer. His Sang-værk til den danske kirke (1837–81; “Song Collection for the Danish Church”) contains new versions of traditional Christian hymns, as well as numerous original hymns, many of them well known in Norwegian, Swedish, German, and English translations.

      N.F. Grundtvig: Selected Writings, in English translation, was published in 1976.

Additional Reading
Christian Thodberg and Anders Pontoppidan Thyssen (eds.), N.F.S. Grundtvig, Tradition and Renewal (1983).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • GRUNDTVIG (N. F. S.) — Pasteur, écrivain et savant danois, Nicolai Grundtvig a dit de lui même qu’il était mi poète, mi rat de bibliothèque. Chez lui vont remarquablement de pair la création poétique et une érudition qui embrasse la théologie, l’histoire et les langues …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Grundtvig — [ˈgʀondviːʔ] ist der Name folgender Personen: Julie Grundtvig Wester (* 1991), dänische Schauspielerin Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783–1872), dänischer interdisziplinärer Philologe, Theologe und Patriot Svend Grundtvig (1824–1883),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Grundtvig — (du nom de Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig) est un ensemble d actions mené par la Commission européenne dans le domaine de l éducation et de la formation, dans le cadre du vaste programme Socrates. Présenté comme « le troisième maillon… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Grundtvig —   [ grondvi],    1) Nikolaj Frederik Severin, dänischer Theologe, Historiker, Volkserzieher und Dichter, * Udby (Seeland) 8. 9. 1783, ✝ Kopenhagen 2. 9. 1872, Vater von 2); zuletzt Hospitalpfarrer in Kopenhagen mit Bischofsrang (1861 zum Bischof… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Grundtvig — Grundtvig, Nikolai Frederik Severin, geb. 8. Sept. 1783 in Udby auf Seeland, studirte seit 1800 in Kopenhagen Theologie, vicarirte 1811–13 bei seinem Vater in Udby, wurde 1821 Prediger in Prästöe (Seeland), 1822 zweiter Prediger an der… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Grundtvig — Grundtvig, 1) Nikolai Frederik Severin, dän. Theolog, Historiker und Dichter, geb. 8. Sept. 1783 in Udby auf Seeland, gest. 2. Sept. 1872 in Kopenhagen, studierte gleichzeitig mit Öhlenschläger in Kopenhagen und machte sich schon früh durch… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Grundtvig — Grundtvig, Nikolai Frederik Severin, dän. Dichter, Geschichtschreiber und Theolog, geb. 8. Sept. 1783 zu Udby auf Seeland, seit 1839 Pastor in Kopenhagen, gest. das. 2. Sept. 1872. Begründer des Grundtvigianismus, der bes. eine freie nationale… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Grundtvig — Grundtvig, Nicolai Frederik Severin, geb. 1783 zu Udby auf Seeland, seit 1839 Prediger in Kopenhagen, war heftiger orthodox protestant. Eiferer gegen die rationalistische Richtung Dr. Clausens und seit 1848 in die polit. Bewegungen Dänemarks… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Grundtvig — Grundtvig, Nicolai Frederik Severin …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Grundtvig — (Nikolai) (1783 1872) pasteur et écrivain romantique danois; il a réveillé l intérêt pour la culture scandinave …   Encyclopédie Universelle


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.