My name is Magnus Lundberg (b. 1972) and I’m Professor of Church and Mission History at the Department of Theology, Uppsala University, Sweden. Though I teach World Christianity and Church History more broadly, my own research is focused on modern Catholic traditionalism, Fringe Catholicism, and modern alternative popes. Earlier, my main focus was on Latin American church history.

Contact Details

Magnus Lundberg

Department of Theology
P.O. Box 511
SE-751 20 Uppsala

University website

Curriculum Vitae

University Degrees

Doctor of Theology, Mission Studies with Ecumenics, Lund University, June 2002.

Licentiate of Theology, Mission Studies with Ecumenics, Lund University, April 2000.

Archival Science (one year’s full-time studies), Department of History, Stockholm University, August 1999 – June 2000.

Bachelor of Theology, Lund University, January 1997.

Bachelor of Philosophy, Lund University, November 1996.

Academic Positions

Professor of Church and Mission Studies/Mission History, Department of Theology, Uppsala University, Jan 2016-

Acting Professor of Church History, Department of Theology, Uppsala University, Jan 2016-June 2020

Associate Professor (Universitetslektor/Docent), Church and Mission Studies (permanent position), Department of Theology, Uppsala University, April 2010-Jan 2016.

Researcher (Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation), Department of Theology, Uppsala University, July 2010-April 2014

Assistant Professor (Universitetslektor), Church and Mission Studies, Department of Theology, Uppsala University, October 2007- April 2010.

Researcher (Swedish Research Council), Department of Theology, Uppsala University, July 2006-December 2008, July 2009-December 2009.

Assistant Professor, Mission Studies (substitute), Department of Theology, Uppsala University, February 2004-June 2006.

Guest Professor, Centro de Estudios de las Tradiciones, Colegio de Michoacán, Zamora, Mexico, November 2002 – April 2003.

Academic Assignments

Chairperson, Church History and Mission History (ämneskollegieordförande), January 2020-January 2022

Editor of the Book Series Uppsala Studies in Church History, January 2017-

Director of Studies, PhD level, Department of Theology, Uppsala University, January 2010-June 2017.

Director, Forum for Latin American Studies, Uppsala University, January 2014-December 2015.

Chairperson, Church and Mission Studies (ämnesområdeskollegieordförande), Department of Theology, Uppsala University, July 2011-June 2014.

Director of Studies, Euroculture Master Programme, Uppsala University, January 2009-August 2010.

Editor of SMT: Swedish Missiological Themes/Svensk Missionstidskrift, January 2004-December 2008.

Currently (March 2022) Main supervisor for four PhD students in Church History. Deputy supervisor for one PhD student in World Christianity and Interreligious Studies, and one PhD student in History.

Formerly supervisor for five PhD students in World Christianity and Interreligious Studies, who defended their dissertations in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019 respectively, and one PhD student in Church History who defended his dissertation in 2020.

Research Abroad

Canada, 2019. Chile, 2011. Costa Rica, 2005. Ecuador, 2013. Ethiopia, 2006. Great Britain, 2006-2007. Guatemala, 1995. Italy, 2018. Mexico, 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2007, 2008, 2009. Nicaragua, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000-2001, 2005. Peru, 2013. Spain, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2013, 2019. USA, 2001.

Guest Professor, Centro de Investigaciones sobre América Latina y el Caribe, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, September-October 2009.

Guest Professor, Centro de Estudios de las Tradiciones, Colegio de Michoacán, Zamora, Mexico, November 2002 – April 2003.


Publications in English, Spanish and Swedish. Reading knowledge: French, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Norwegian, Danish, Latin and New Testament Greek.

Research Interests

Contemporary Catholic Dissenter Groups

Alternative Popes

Mariology and Marian Apparitions

Apocalypticism in Catholic and Evangelical traditions

Latin American Church and Mission History

Asian Church and Mission History

Swedish Pietism, 18th and 19th c.


Current Research Projects

Currently, I conduct research on several, quite different subjects. One of my main projects concerns what I call Modern Alternative Popes, i.e., men who claim that they, and not the man in Rome, are the true pope. From the 1910s onwards, there have been more than forty such claimants, almost all after the 1950s. The majority claim that they have been elected directly by God. Others have been elected in alternative conclaves. Some of these popes have had many thousand adherents, e.g. Clément XV of the Renewed Church (Clémery, France), Jean-Grégoire XVII of the Apostles of Infinite Love (Saint-Jovite, Canada) and the four popes of the Palmarian Church (Palmar de Troya, Spain). Others have had a much more reduced number of followers. In 2017, I published the first of two books on the subject: A Pope of Their Own: El Palmar de Troya and the Palmarian Church (revised second edition 2020). The second book, which will probably be completed during 2022, deals with all alternative popes (including the Palmarians). It has the working title: Could the True Pope Please Stand Up: 20th and 21st-Century Alternative Popes.

A related project is devoted to the New Jerusalem Church of the Celestial Messenger, a religious group founded in Chicago in the 1910s and led by Italian-American Giuseppe Maria Abbate (1886-1963), a.k.a. the Celestial Messenger or the Celestial Father. Abbate believed that he was the reincarnation of Christ. By analyzing extensive, previously unknown archival material, I attempt to provide a broad study of the religious group during the Celestial Messengers life and after his death, when independent Catholic bishops led the congregation.

My other research projects concern Pietist revivals in Western Sweden during the early-19th-century. In focus is Abela Gullbransson (1775-1822), a merchant’s wife from Varberg, who was an important figure in this movement within the Lutheran Church. My aim is to write a book about her theology and her sources of inspiration and to relate her to other religious actors of the time. The most important source for the study of her theology is a collection of some 140 letters of spiritual counsel that she wrote between 1809 and 1822. Another important source is a collection of her hymns that was published for the first time in 1823, one year after her death. It later appeared in almost 20 re-editions. My own book has the working title: Abela Gullbransson och himlavägen: Texter, influenser och kontakter i det tidiga 1800-talets västsvenska väckelser. [Abela Gullbransson and the Road to Heaven: Texts, Influences, and Contacts in the Early-19th-Century Revivals in Western Sweden].


Finished Major Research Projects

In 2015, I completed the research project Mission and Ecstasy: Contemplative women’s role in the mission in colonial Latin America (2010-2014), financed by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. The main objective of the project was to study Spanish-American and Filipina contemplative women’s role in Roman Catholic missionary in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. This group includes both nuns and beatas, recogidas and donadas, who did not take formal vows but lived nun-like lives.

In colonial Latin America mission was above all the task of male religious specialists. Spanish-American and Filipina contemplative women’s more indirect role for the mission is an almost unexplored area. This role included methods such as prayer and vicarious suffering, but also “travels in spirit” to the mission fields. The sources are numerous. Above all, these are autobiographical texts that individual women wrote on the instigation of their confessors or hagiographies churchmen wrote about them. Most of these sources are available in the Spanish, Mexican and Chilean national libraries, and in the John Carter Brown Library.

On the one hand, the source material presented a female religious ideal built on silence, obedience, chastity and a radical detachment (enclosure), but one the other hand there were often very far-reaching claims of spiritual authority and stories about activities, which at least were on the borderline of what church authorities could accept. My study can help to further problematise the relationship between apostolic and contemplative religious life.

I have also completed the research project Religion in the borderland: Resistance, adaptation and dialogue in colonial Mexico (2006-2009), which was funded by the Swedish Research Council. The goal of this project was to study the relationship between parish priests and indigenous (above all Nahuatl-speaking) parishioners in the Archdiocese of Mexico and the diocese of Puebla during the first half of the seventeenth century. My goal was also to study the relationship between ecclesiastical norm and their applications on the parish level. For this project, I have used manuscript and printed materials in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, the British Library, the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City and a number of other Mexican archives and libraries. Apart from a few articles in English, Spanish and Swedish, I have written a monograph entitled Church Life Between the Metropolitan and the Local: Parishes, Parishioners and Parish Priests in Seventeenth-Century Mexico (Orlando, FL: Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2011).

My doctoral dissertation (Lund University in 2002; a Spanish translation of a revised and expanded version 2009) also deals with the Mexican church history. The thesis is a thematic biography of Alonso de Montúfar, Archbishop of Mexico between 1554 and 1572. It deals mainly discussions during this time about how to organize the early Mexican church. Should the church in Mexico is organized in exactly the same way as in Spain or did the so-called New World require new methods? The thesis was entitled Unification and Conflict: The Church Politics of Alonso de Montufar OP, Archbishop of Mexico, 1554-1572 (Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Missionary Research 2002). The Spanish translation made by Professor Alberto Carrillo Cazares called Unificación y conflicto: La Gestión Episcopal de Alonso de Montufar OP, arzobispo de México, 1554-1572 (Zamora, Mich .: Colegio de Michoacán, 2009)

Major Research Grants

“Mission and Ecstasy: Contemplative Women’s Missionary Role in Colonial Latin America (2010-2014), Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, 1 830 000 SEK (ca. € 200,000)

“Religion on the Border: Resistance, Adaptation and Dialogue in Colonial Mexico”, Swedish Research Council (2006-2009), 1 191 000 SEK (ca. € 130 000)


List of publications





17: [

One thought on “About

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s