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N.F.S. Grundtvig Theologian, Historian, Educator, Madman - Why a 19th Century Scholar isn't completely irrelevant to 21st Century Adult Education Jes Fabricius.

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Presentation on theme: "N.F.S. Grundtvig Theologian, Historian, Educator, Madman - Why a 19th Century Scholar isn't completely irrelevant to 21st Century Adult Education Jes Fabricius."— Presentation transcript:

1 N.F.S. Grundtvig Theologian, Historian, Educator, Madman - Why a 19th Century Scholar isn't completely irrelevant to 21st Century Adult Education Jes Fabricius Møller Lektor, phd, SAXO-instituttet, Københavns Universitet

2 N.F.S. Grundtvig – a short chronology Born 1783 in rural Sealand Became a pastor in 1811 Developed his educational ideas in the 1830’s after trips to England Was a driving force in the nationalist and Scandinavist movement from 1840 First Grundtvigian Folk High School founded 1844 Was a member of the Constitutional Assembly 1848-49 that ende absolutism Died 1872

3 ”The Old Testament Prophet” ”For a man of ninety, [Grundtvig] could not be called infirm; his gestures were rapid and his step ready. But the attention was rivetted on his appearance of excessive age. He looked like a troll from som cave in Norway; he might have been centuries old.”

4 Grundtvig and Finland He never went to Finland or even wrote about Finland 1835 he became ”Utrikes Corresponderande Ledamot” of Finska Litteratursällskapet 1868 K.G. Leinberg and W. Grefberg presented Grundtvig’s educational ideas to a Finnish audience. Folk high school pioneers Sofia Hagman, Johannes Klockar, Robert Rostedt had close contacts with the Grundtvigian movement in Denmark. 1906 all 24 Finnish folk high schools were considered Grundtvigian. 1968 38 of 68 Finnish folk high schools were considered Grundtvigian.

5 Grundtvig’s concept of man Man is a unique part of the Creation, since God gave man the ability to speak The spirit is in the breath of God and word of man. Man is the only animal who can transfer and accumulate knowledge and experience over generations. Man is thus a historic creature who can only be understood in an historic context.

6 Grundtvig’s concept of the Church The fundament of faith is neither the church nor the Scripture Jesus Christ did not build a church, nor did he write a book He formed a congregation His spoken word (”The living word”) has been handed down uncorrupted through history from generation to generation.

7 The problem of ”Bildung” (Education) in the 19th Century generally Neither family nor tradition provides identity automatically The proces of achieving identity is called ”Bildung” (bildning, dannelse, education) An element of this proces is learning, knowledge and skills (utbildning/Ausbildung) The most important task is for man to acquire guardianship of his own life, Mündigkeit, to be able to be a good citizen. ”Aufklärung ist der Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbst verschuldeten Unmündigkeit.”

8 What is enlightement? Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self- imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another. … Sapere Aude! [dare to know] "Have courage to use your own understanding!"--that is the motto of enlightenment. (Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung? Immanuel Kant 1784)

9 Grundtvig’s concept of Enlightenment Is light just for the learned to debate and to control? No! Light is heaven’s gift, and heav’n shines its light on all. Not with the scholar but the farmer does the sun rise up, Enlightens best those most immersed in life from toe to top. Enlightenment is our treasure, although it slowly seeps in. But over time the living word brings life-enlightenment. Light springs from people’s deeds and grows through constant tender care, It shines in the people’s counsel till stars turn to sun’s glare.

10 Grundtvig as educator ”Grundtvig was not a theoretical educationalist in the sense that he was interested in developing an educational system or programme. On the contrary, his educational thinking was not very systematic at all. The ideas are not put together in any particular order or developed logically.” K.E. Bugge

11 Grundtvig’s concept of learning ”Just as man is outwardly dead when his heart stops beating, so is he inwardly dead when his heart does not beat for anything, when nothing is dear to him; and it is impossible for a man who loves nothing to be able to take the trouble to understand anything.” There are two kinds of light: the lightning that kills and the sun that provides warmth and life. Freedom is the best enviroment for learning No man has ever achieved true knowledge of thing he didn’t care for to begin with.

12 Grundtvig’s concept of school The living word is spoken in the mother tongue and not in ”dead languages” Literature and history are the most important subjects Education is not just for privileged classes The purpose of education is to enable the student to achieve dignity and take responsibility in society School and church are not to be confused. Faith cannot be learned or taught.

13 ”A Letter for my Children” 1839

14 Alternative translation: A simple, joyful, active life on earth Is one which I would not with royalty exchange. We walk in our ancestors’ wise footsteps, With equal worth in castle and in cottage. With eyes turned heavenward as God creates, Awake to beauty and greatness still here on earth, Yet knowing deep longings that stay unfilled Until eternity in glory gives them birth.

15 Alternative translation: A plain and active, joyful life on earth, A treasure never for power or gold to barter, A guided life, the nobleness of birth, And equal dignity each human’s charter, A life created, tuned to that above, Alert to mans God granted gift for living, Profoundly mindful of the need for love, Which God, the Father’s, grace alone is giving.

16 ”A Letter for my Children” 1839

17 The many faces of Grundtvigianism Grundtvig is giving the dying school a wakeup call. ”The establishment” buries him next to the school 100 years later he resurfaces in China where his ideas on education have come to life in 1972

18 New publication Schriften in Auswahl Knud Eyvin Bugge, Flemming Lundgreen Nielsen, & Theodor Jørgensen (Hrsg.) Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2010

19 Thank you for your attention ”You cannot be both illuminated and transparent at the same time.” attributed to N.F.S. Grundtvig


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