En obegripelig Religions-ifver - Värderingar rörande religion i svenska reseskildringar om osmanska riket 1657-1780
Sammanfattning: In the 17th and 18th century, travel and exploration outside Europe became more frequent, as did written accounts of travellers´ exploits. Travel writing was an immensely popular literary genre at the time, since it was one of few ways of gaining knowledge about peoples and cultures outside of Europe. In this paper, five such pieces of travel writing – written by Swedes who had travelled in the Ottoman Empire between 1657 and 1779 – are examined, with the aim of gaining insight into attitudes towards the religions native to the region: Islam, Judaism and different Christian denominations. During this period, Lutheranism was the only accepted religion in Sweden (with a few exceptions), while the Ottoman Empire, even if its Turkish elite was Muslim, by contrast was religiously very heterogenous. By analysing what five different Swedish travellers – the diplomat Claes Brorsson Rålamb (1622-1698), the ministers Sven Agrell (1685-1713) and Michael Eneman (1676-1714), the botanist Fredric Hasselquist (1722-1752), and the travel writer Jacob Jonas Björnståhl (1731-1779) – wrote about the various, non-Lutheran religions they came into contact with, knowledge might be gained about the world views of Swedes at the time; how their common Lutheran background – as well as the new ideas of the Enlightenment – made them react towards religious rituals and ideas alien to them. The conclusion of the paper shows how criticism based on Lutheran ideas is discernible throughout the period, even though it become less frequent towards the end of the 18th century. Ideas of the Enlightenment and Lutheran ideas are evenly matched in the travel account of Hasselquist, while the former kind of ideas are in majority in that of Björnståhl. Another conclusion is that the critical remarks in the travel accounts undergo a significant change during the period, from being mainly directed against external religion – mostly different kinds of rituals – towards being directed against religious ideas – such as fatalism; a process that, most likely, corresponds with the historical change from a world view based solely on Lutheranism towards one based mainly (though not exclusively) on ideas of the Enlightenment.
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