Kaarlo Arffman
1982 …2022

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

My main research interest has been in Lutheran reformation, which I have examined from three different perspectives.

At first, I examined in a three-volume work Yliopistot ja kirkon magisterium reformaation alkuvaiheessa 1–3 (Universities and the Magisterium of the Church on the early stage of the Reformation, a total of 912 pages) how universities which had taken stand against Luther’s arguments understood the determination of the doctrine of the church (magisterium) in 1517–1521.


After that I studied in several articles and two monographs Sanan jäljet (Imprints of the Word, 193 pages) and Reformaatio vai restituutio? (The Reformation or the Restitution?, 240 pages) how German and Swiss reformers understood the significance of the history of the church in the discussion about the right doctrine. The result was surprising and showed that the sola scriptura principle also required that the history of the church had to be taken account.

Thirdly, I studied in Auttamisen vallankumous (Revolution of the Relief 343 pages) how the Lutheran reformation affected a poor relief. This study also corrected traditional conceptions significantly. It has been published also in German (Revolution des Helfens. Der Versuch des Lutherstums, die Probleme der Armut zu lösen). Furthermore, I have dealt with the subject in several articles of which the most significant is Hyvinvointivaltion synty ja kerjäämisen katoaminen Pohjoismaista (The Birth of the Welfare State and Disappearance of Mendicancy in Nordic countries, 33 pages)


I have gathered my central results concerning Lutheran reformation in Mitä oli luterilaisuus? (353 pages, so far five editions). It has also been published in German by the name Was war das Luthertum? I have also written several articles about the reformation in Sweden and Finland. The most recent one of them deals with the resistance to the reformation in Finland (Resistance to the Reformation in 16th Century Finland 18 pages). This subject has not been studied earlier.

Another subject of my interest has been the church history of Northern Finland. I have written one monograph Ristijärveläisen uskon historia (History of the Faith in Ristijärvi 182 pages) and a few articles about it.

My textbook Kristinuskon historia (History of Christianity 269 pages) has become the most popular textbook in Finnish used in the teaching of the General church history.

Fields of Science

  • 614 Theology
  • Church History