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Henrik JohnsénForskare

Om mig

Docent i Religionshistoria.


Jag undervisar på kurserna "Abrahamitiska religioner" (RHG506, RKVG11/RHG001), "Kristendomens historia" (RKVG13), "Religionshistoriska perspektiv på epidemier och sjukdomar" (RHG510) och "Religiös fromhet och asketism" (RHG512). Jag handleder även uppsatser om kristendom i allmänhet. 


Min forskning är inriktad mot kristendom, och då främst det tidiga klosterväsendet och dess relation till senantik grekisk-romersk filosofi och litterär kultur, men även syrisk ortodox kristendom i Sverige idag. Min avhandling behandlar litterära frågeställningar och frågor om traditionsförändring i Johannes Klimakos Den gudomliga stegen, en tidigbysantinsk monastisk text. Min forskning kring det tidiga klosterväsende och senantik filosofi var en del av sjuårigt projekt ”Det tidiga klosterväsendet och den antika bildningen”, finansierat av Riksbankens jubileumsfond.

Sedan 2018 arbetar jag som forskare inom forskningsprojektet “Integration och tradition: framväxten av en Syrisk-ortodox kyrka i Sverige”, finansierat av Vetenskapsrådet, men även i ett mindre forskningsprojekt om sentenslitteratur och litterär kultur i tidigbysantinsk klostertradition. 

Från och med januari 2022 är jag del i ett nytt forskningsprojekt kring framväxten av det tidiga västliga klosterväsendet, "Auktoritet, samhälle och individuell frihet – det latinska klosterväsendet och rötterna till Europas utbildningsideal," finansierat av Riksbankens jubileumsfond.

2022-fortf Post-doc, "Auktoritet, samhälle och individuell frihet – det latinska klosterväsendet och rötterna till Europas utbildningsideal", Lunds universitet.   

2018-fortf Post-doc, ”Integration och tradition: framväxten av en Syrisk-ortodox kyrka i Sverige”, Stockholms universitet

2017-2018 Skandinavisk gästprofessor, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

2017 Gästforskare, Yale University

2009-2016 Post-doc, ”Det tidiga klosterväsendet och den antika bildningen”, Lunds universitet 


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Reading kephalaia

    2020. Henrik Rydell Johnsén. Vigiliae christianae (Print), 1-24


    How Evagrius Ponticus (d. 399) composed his highly influential treatises of short and succinct chapters (kepahalaia) is bewildering and has been discussed by many scholars. In this essay the literary composition of Evagrius’ To monks in monasteries and communities, or Ad monachos, a typical text of short chapters, is examined from a literary perspective by relating the text to literary conventions, common in late antique literature and in rhetorical handbooks and exercises (progymnasmata). It is demonstrated how the teaching develops gradually in accordance with a pattern for a so-called amplified argument (epicheireme) codified in Pseudo-Hermogenes Progymnasmata. By this arrangement of the teaching, the reader is offered, not just a random taste of various aspects of the monastic life, but a set of specific conclusions to implement or to be aware of practically in the life as monk; conclusions that are perceptible not at just a cursory glance, but at a careful and repeated reading.

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  • Wisdom on the Move: Late Antique Traditions in Multicultural Conversation

    2020. Susan Ashbrook Harvey (et al.).

    Bok (red)

    Wisdom on the Move explores the complexity and flexibility of wisdom traditions in Late Antiquity and beyond. This book studies how sayings, maxims and expressions of spiritual insight travelled across linguistic and cultural borders, between different religions and milieus, and how this multicultural process reshaped these sayings and anecdotes. Wisdom on the Move takes the reader on a journey through late antique religious traditions, from manuscript fragments and folios via the monastic cradle of Egypt, across linguistic and cultural barriers, through Jewish and Biblical wisdom, monastic sayings, and Muslim interpretations. Particular attention is paid to the monastic Apophthegmata Patrum, arguably the most important genre of wisdom literature in the early Christian world.

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  • Wisdom on the Move

    2020. Henrik Rydell Johnsén, Thomas Arentzen, Andreas Westergren. Wisdom on the Move: Late Antique Traditions in Multicultural Conversation, 1-10

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  • Repentance and confession

    2019. Henrik Rydell Johnsén. Pratiche didattiche tra centro e periferia nel Mediterraneo tardoantico, 141-170


    It is well known that monasticism was crucial to the development of repentance in early Christianity. With monasticism followed a renewal of the earlier practice with great importance for later Christian traditions. But were these changes just an internal development of earlier Christian teaching adjusted to new circumstances? Or were there also new impulses from external sources? In this paper, the teaching on repentance and confession in the Institutes and the Conferences by John Cassian (d. 435) and the Apophthegmata Patrum (from 5th/6th century), is compared with teachings related to the tendency towards the “care of the self” in late antique philosophy. In contrast to scholars who often have underscored the difference between the two traditions, this essay argues that the new monastic contribution to the earlier Christian practice of repentance can to a large extent be explained as adaptions of well-known practices or “technologies of the self” within late antique philosophy. Clement of Alexandria and Origen seems to have been crucial pioneers in this adaption, but traditions of philosophy were also filtered directly into the monastic tradition independently from these earlier Christian authors. 

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