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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

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


1
N.F.S. GrundtvigTheologian, 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 1830s
    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
    Grundtvigs 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
Grundtvigs 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
Grundtvigs 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
Grundtvigs concept of Enlightenment
  • Is light just for the learned to debate and to
    control?
  • No! Light is heavens gift, and
  • heavn 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 peoples deeds
  • and grows through constant tender care,
  • It shines in the peoples counsel till
  • stars turn to suns 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
Grundtvigs 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 didnt care for to begin with.

12
Grundtvigs 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 humans 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 Fathers, 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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