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Press Release

Press Release

Doctoral thesis on conceptions of household, children, and marriage in postils in the Swedish Empire 1686–1770

Niklas Antonsson.
Niklas Antonsson

M.Theol. Niklas Antonsson’s doctoral thesis in church history will be put forth for public defence at the Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology at Åbo Akademi University.

The thesis is entitled För samhällets bestånd och Guds rikes förkovran: Prästerskapets undervisning kring hushåll, barn och äktenskap i svenska postillor 1686–1770.

The public defence of the doctoral thesis takes place on 8 March 2024 at 1.15 PM in the XXII lecture hall, Agora, Vesilinnantie 3, Turku. You can also follow the defence online. Docent David Gudmundsson, Lund University, will serve as opponent and Professor Emeritus Ingvar Dahlbacka, Åbo Akademi University, as custos.


In the early modern period (c. 1500–1800), sermons were one of the most important means of communication between priests and their audiences. Sermons contained ideas and assertions on both small and large issues of life, ranging from teaching on central topics of the Christian faith to concrete exhortations on everyday matters. In printed form, sermons were published in postils that made the homiletic teaching of the clergy available both to preachers as model sermons and to a growing number of literate lay people during the 18th century.

In his dissertation Niklas Antonsson examines the conceptions of household, children, and marriage that were conveyed through printed postils in the Swedish Empire 1686–1770. The tripartite theme emanates from the understanding of the concept of household (oekonomia) as consisting of three relationships: husband–wife, parents–children and master–servant. The thesis is based on qualitative analyses of a voluminous source material, which is contextualized by the homiletic literary conventions, the world of ideas of the clergy, and contemporary social conditions.

The study demonstrates how changing conditions, ideals, and ideas influenced the way priests shaped their teaching in the context of an ongoing endeavour to both communicate the Christian faith to their audiences and to bring about a more Christian society.

Niklas Antonsson was born in 1987, in Solberga, Sweden. Han can be reached by phone +358 40 038 7268 or email niklas.antonsson@abo.fi.

The doctoral thesis can be read online through the Doria publication archive.

Click here for a press photo of the doctoral student.

Instructions for following the doctoral defence remotely:

To follow the defence, you need the Zoom software or the Google Chrome browser. You do not need to create a Zoom account to follow the defence. If you install the application, you participate by clicking on the meeting link, after which you should allow the link to open in the Zoom app.