Hognestad at Høvik (completed)
Dr.teol Helge Hognestad was forced to resign as chaplain in the Høvik congregation in 1984 after four years of controversy with the bishop.
About the project
This was due to Hognestad’s unorthodox theological views, including his metaphorical interpretation of the dogma of the immaculate conception (virgin birth) and the dual nature of Jesus.
Hognestad’s local supporters in the congregation were very much engaged in the controversies and many of them contributed to the public debate. When Hognestad was forced to leave his position his followers continued to meet for Bible reading and prayers. After thirty years a core group still continues to meet to discuss Hognestad's books and their own faith.
These fans are the focus of this project. They were active church-goers during Hognestad’s work at Høvik, but most of them abandoned their church engagements with him. Nevertheless they have, as Hognestad himself, continued as members of the Norwegian church. The controversy centers on beliefs and Hognestad's theology may well be described as inspired by New Age beliefs. The sociologist of religion, Steven Suthcliffe claims that the ideas of new religious movements are not a new religion, but a modern form of popular religion. The story about Helge Hognestad illustrates this point.
The objective of the project is to identify the religious beliefs and longings that Hognestad managed to put in play in the early 1980s. What religious content is at stake in the struggle between popular and orthodox religious belief and practice of the Norwegian Church?