Languages in the Lutheran Reformation
The cross-lingual conference charts the influence of the Lutheran Reformation on various European languages and texts written in them. It is motivated by the fact that while there are many studies on the internal developments of individual languages during the Reformation, very little has been written about influences between these languages. Mobility, networks of texts, knowledge and authors, traces of textual influences, change and continuity of textual traditions, dissemination of texts, loanwords, the exchange of ideas and the spread of reformatory thought belong to the topics of the conference. The speakers look into language use, language culture and translation activities during the Reformation, but also leading to the Reformation as well as following from it later on in the Early Modern period. The speakers are experts in their respective field of linguistic study, including Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, High German, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Low German, Polish and Swedish. The primary texts explored by the speakers include Bible translations, hymns and other printed or handwritten materials such as pamphlets, catechisms, sermon books and biblical summaries. After the conference, each speaker will contribute an article to a collected volume under the working title Languages in the Lutheran Reformation: Textual Networks and the Spread of Ideas which is being prepared for publication by the linguistics working committee of TUCEMEMS.

We would like to welcome everyone interested in the influence of the Lutheran Reformation on various European languages to follow the presentations in the conference.

Languages in the Lutheran Reformation

Date: 23–24 October 2015


    On Friday: University of Turku, Janus Auditorium (address: Kaivokatu 12)

    On Saturday: University of Turku, Fennicum, Lecture hall 100 (address:     Henrikinkatu 3, ground floor, left wing)

Organised by the linguistics working committee of Turku Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (TUCEMEMS), University of Turku, with support of TUCEMEMS



Friday, 23 October 2015

14.15     Opening

14.30     Mikko Bentlin (Greifswald): Traces of Low German influence in the Finnish texts of Michael Agricola?

15.00     Robert Dittmann (Prague): Czech language in confessional clashes of the 16th century

15.30     John L. Flood (London): ‘Quae pestis unquam tam perniciosa invasit gregem Christi?’ The reception of Lutheranism in England

16.00     Coffee

16.30     Jonatan Pettersson (Stockholm): In search of a language: Biblical texts on the brink of a New Time

17.00     Elise Kleivane (Oslo): The infant Jesus and his mother in Late Medieval and Early Modern Scandinavian book culture

17.30     Break

17.45     Dainora Pociūtė (Vilnius): The Concept of medicine and the representation of diseases in the oldest Lithuanian Lutheran texts (16th Century)

18.15     Kristiina Ross (Tallinn): About the fate of some linguistic ideas of the Reformation and the 17th century in the genesis of literary Estonian

Saturday, 24 October 2015

09.30     Sebastian Seyferth (Görlitz): Frühneuzeitliche Summarien – erbauliche, laienexegetische Bibelberichte als narrative reformatorische Plattform? Ein Vergleich Stephan Rodts Übertragung der neutestamentlichen Summarien Johannes Bugenhagens mit denen Veit Dietrichs

10.00    Merlijn de Smit (Stockholm): Tradition and reform in Dutch Bible translations of the 1520s

10.30    Tanja Toropainen (Turku): Early Finnish translations of the hymn Te Deum laudamus

11.00    Coffee

11.30    Pēteris Vanags (Stockholm): German influence on the Christian discourse of (early written) Latvian

12.00     Izabela Winiarska-Górska (Warsaw): The spread of Lutheran thought in Prussia and Poland in the 16th and 17th centuries from the perspective of history of Polish language

12.30     Closing discussion​

The abstracts of the presentations can be read here:Abstracts_Languages.pdfAbstracts_Languages.pdf 

For any questions, please contact Dr Tuomo Fonsén, tuofon(at)


Members of the TUCEMEMS linguistics working committee:

Dr. Tuomo Fonsén, German Language (head of the commitee)

Professor Kaisa Häkkinen, Finnish Language

Professor emer. Irmeli Helin, German Language

MA Ruut Kataisto, Latin Language

MA Mikko Kauko, Swedish Language

Professor Kari Keinästö, German Language

Professor Matti Peikola, English Language

MA Miika Norro (research assistant)