“What is Love …?”: A Study of Thematic Constructions in 11.955 Danish Sermons




sermons, collective practice, Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark, large-scale text analysis, computational humanities


Writing sermons in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark (ELCD) is a shared practice, which means that pastors collectively produce a comprehensive text material, when they prepare their weekly sermons. This article studies a corpus of 11,955 ELCD sermons as a collective text production, as we investigate the role of theological discourses in emergent thematic fields in the corpus. With the aid of computational tools from the field of digital humanities, we investigate the following question: How can we map and interpret theological discourses in the collective production of sermons from the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Denmark (ELCD)? Based on three complementary case studies, we explore the overall thematic framework of the corpus, the construction of specific theological concepts (love and sin) and the relationship between thematic constructions in the corpus and thematic content in the liturgical texts that pastors expound in sermons.

Author Biographies

Anne Agersnap, Aarhus University

Anne Agersnap, PhD., born 1990, is currently a research assistant at the Centre for Grundtvig Studies at Aarhus University.

Kristoffer L. Nielbo, Aarhus University

Kristoffer L. Nielbo, PhD., born 1977, is associate professor and director of Centre for Humanities Computing Aarhus at Aarhus University.