Den villfarande studenten. Rättsprocessen mot Erik Molin 1734-1739

This study investigates the judicial process against Erik Molin, a clerk and former theology student at the University of Uppsala 1734-1739. The main purpose has been twofold; first to investigate the legal process through the various judicial bodies and secondly to analyze the ideas and conceptions about man and society expressed by the authorities and Erik Molin. The theoretical approach has been inspired by the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas? theories concerning the emergence of the bourgeois society and the changing concepts of private and public spheres. The study shows that the diocese of Uppsala regarded Molin's theology as heretic and found that he knowingly had tried to spread his views. The case was therefore referred to the court of appeals (Svea hovrätt) where he initially was acquitted for spreading heretical perceptions. The case was further transferred to the country?s highest judicial body, the Royal Justice Court (Justitierevisionen), who attempted to correct and amend Molin's heretical views through theological teachings and admonitions. This however did not have its intended effect and shortly after the justice court referred the case back to Svea hovrätt where it demanded a rigorous procedure. The court of appeals did not however agree with the justice court where a majority of the courts members voted for additional teaching in the hope that Molin would recant his theological position. This proved, for a second time, to be unsuccessful and the case was once again referred back to the Royal justice court. During this time the Swedish parliament was assembled in Stockholm where the clerical estate would eventually intervene, trying to influence the courts upcoming decision by arguing in front of her majesty the queen and the gathered Privy Council. The study shows that this was likely a turning point in the case where the Royal justice court reached a verdict of banishing Molin from the Swedish realm. In any matter, before this sentence could be carried out, Molin appealed to the estates in the hope that he could get access to his interrogation reports and thus prove his innocence. The estates were divided on the issue. On one hand The Burghers as well as the Nobility supported Molin's request, where the Burghers even argued for his release. On the other hand the Clergy in coalition with the Peasantry supported the justice court decision and propagated for Molin's banishment. The matter however could not be resolved before the dissolution of parliament which meant that the ruling remained and Molin's sentence finally was carried out on October 16th 1739.


Marcus Ericson

Lärosäte och institution

Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för litteratur, idéhistoria och religion


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