Tracing the Jerusalem Code
Tracing the Jerusalem Code: Christian Cultures in Scandinavia. NFR-funded research project, 2015-2018
Reconstruction of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. From a map of Judea and Gallilee for classroom use in Norway (C. Monsens skolekart), 1937
Kristin B. Aavitsland
Throughout the entirety of Christian history, the idea of Jerusalem, earthly and celestial, has been formative to the Christian Church and European culture. The interpretations of this idea, however, are unstable. In this project, our aim is to tell the story of Christian cultures in Scandinavia, through the lens of the changing idea of Jerusalem. By entering formative periods and asking how the idea of Jerusalem functioned, and was transformed in the historical and local expressions of Christianity, we pursue a twofold target. We seek to shed new light on the establishment and transformation of historical religious cultures in the Scandinavian countries. Furthermore, we want to develop new theoretical perspectives on the history of Christianity and on identity constructions and legitimization strategies in diverse religious and political traditions.
The idea of Jerusalem can be studied through literature, religious practices, material artifacts, and visual culture. The changing interpretation of Jerusalem is expressed in theological and literary texts, religious practices, material artifacts, architecture and visual culture. By interdisciplinary and diachronic investigation, we will trace a vast variety of Jerusalem representations and interpretations, and investigate the diverse ways in which the idea of Jerusalem, and its significations, have been in use and have been transformed in different historical contexts.
The special relevance of the project lies in the constant challenge of conflicting religious and historical identities, also in modern society. By tracing the role of Jerusalem in the Christian cultures of Scandinavia, we aim to develop historical understanding as an important resource, both in a national and international context.