Jørgen Moe

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Right Reverend

Jørgen Engebretsen Moe
Bishop of Kristianssand
Jørgen Moe by Adolf Closs
ChurchChurch of Norway
DioceseDiocese of Kristianssand
In office1874–1882
Personal details
Born(1813-04-22)22 April 1813
Died27 March 1882(1882-03-27) (aged 68)
Kristiansand, Norway
BuriedVestre Aker Church
graveyard, Kristiania
ParentsEngebret Olsen Moe and Marthe Jørgensdatter
SpouseJohanne Fredrikke Sophie Sørenssen
ChildrenMoltke Moe

Jørgen Engebretsen Moe (22 April 1813–27 March 1882) was a Norwegian folklorist, bishop, poet, and author. He is best known for the Norske Folkeeventyr, a collection of Norwegian folk tales which he edited in collaboration with Peter Christen Asbjørnsen. He also served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Kristianssand from 1874 until his death in 1882.[1]


Jørgen Engebretsen Moe was born at the farm of Øvre Moe in the municipality of Hole in the traditional district of Ringerike. He was the son of local farmer and politician Engebret Olsen Moe. He first met Asbjørnsen while the two were preparing for exams at Norderhov Rectory and soon found they had a shared interest in folklore.[2]

Starting in 1841, Moe traveled almost every summer through the southern parts of Norway, collecting traditions and stories from the people living in the mountainous areas. In 1845, he was appointed professor of theology in the Norwegian Military Academy. However, Moe had long intended to take holy orders, and in 1853 he did so. He became a resident chaplain in Krødsherad at Olberg Church and Holmen Church in Sigdal, positions that he held for 10 years.[1]

At his first parish he found inspiration for many of his most famous poems, like den gamle Mester (The Old Master) and Sæterjentens Søndag (Sunday at the Mountain Pastures). In 1863, he moved to Drammen and became parish priest of Bragernes Church, then in 1870 he moved again to Vestre Aker, close to Christiania (now Oslo). In 1874, he became bishop in the Diocese of Kristianssand based at the Kristiansand Cathedral, a position he held from 1874until his death in 1882. He was a much beloved bishop, and his teaching had a great impact on his contemporaries.[3][4]

Moe has a special claim on critical attention in regard to his lyrical poems, of which a small collection appeared in 1850. Moe felt strongly that writing should be "objective," in the sense that it removed the ego from the narrative. Still, he strove to build and maintain a literary aesthetic in his work. He wrote little original verse, but in his slender volume are to be found many pieces of exquisite delicacy and freshness. Moe also published a delightful collection of prose stories for children, I Brønden og i Tjernet (In the Well and in the Tarn), 1851; and En liden Julegave (A Little Christmas Present), 1860. Asbjørnsen and Moe had the advantage of an admirable style of narrative prose. It was usual that the vigor came from Asbjørnsen and the charm from Moe, but it seems that from the long habit of writing in unison they had come to adopt almost precisely identical modes of literary expression.[5]

Moe was appointed Knight of the Order of St. Olav in 1873 and was made commander of the 1st cross class in 1881. During January 1882, he resigned his diocese due to failing health, and he died the following March. His son, Moltke Moe, continued his father's work in folklore and fairy tales and became the first professor of the subject at Christiania University.[6][7]

Impact on Norwegian culture[edit]

Together with Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, the impact of Jørgen Moe on Norwegian culture was enormous. To Norwegians, the names Asbjørnsen and Moe have become synonymous with traditional folk tales, the way the name Brothers Grimm is associated with German tales. Not only did they collect and secure parts of the wealth of Norwegian fairy tales and edit them for common readers, but in doing this, they also contributed to the development of the Norwegian language.

Even if other countries have a rich folk literature, Norwegians will normally claim that theirs, through the work of Asbjørnsen and Moe, is one of the most original and rich. Their work constitutes a very important part of Norwegian identity. Askeladden (Ash Boy), a character whose creativity and resourcefulness always wins him the Princess and half the Kingdom, is seen as something typically Norwegian. Some of his works of poetry are still cherished, not least because of the tunes set to them. His achievements in the Church are now mostly forgotten, except locally.[8]

Ringerikes Museum[edit]

Ringerikes Museum is the regional museum for the municipalities of Hole and Ringerike in Buskerud county. Ringerikes Museum is located in Hønefoss at the site of the former Norderhov rectory where Asbjørnsen and Moe first met. It is now the local museum for the Ringerike region and contains a collection of Asbjørnsen and Moe memorabilia. The museum is also noted for its collection of the private belongings of Jørgen Moe. In the 1930s, Marie Moe, Jørgen Moe's daughter, provided a gift consisting of several hundred objects from Jorgen Moe's private home.[9]

Major works[edit]

  • Samling af Sange, Folkeviser og Stev i norske Allmuedialekter, 1840; enlarged edition, 1869, with melodies by Lindeman
  • Norske folkeeventyr, 1841–1852 (with Asbjørnsen); expanded version 1882; English version by George Webbe Dasent, 1859
  • Digte, 1849 (poems)
  • I Brønden og i Kjærnet, 1851 (juvenile stories and sermons based on folk poems)
  • At hænge på juletreet, 1855
  • En liten julegave, 1860
  • Samlede skrifter, 1877 (collected works, excepting the folk stories)

Media gallery[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rottem, Øystein. "Jørgen Moe". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Buskerud, Hole herad, Hole sokn". Matrikkelutkastet av 1950 (in Norwegian).
  3. ^ "Jørgen Engebretsen Moe". GoNorway.no.
  4. ^ Arthur Thorbjørnsen (2007). "Domkirkens historie før 1880". R. Stav Johanssen Printing A/S Kristiansand. Archived from the original on 11 February 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  5. ^ The Norwegian Folk Tales and their Illustrators (Norway List)
  6. ^ Jørgen Moe (Norsk Litteraturhistorie) Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Asbjørnsen and Moe". Pook Press. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  8. ^ Rudvin, Mette. "Norske Folkeeventyr. A Polysystemic Approach to Folk Literature in Nineteenth-Century Norway" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Jørgen Moe minnet". Ringerikes Museum. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011.


External links[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by Bishop of Christianssand
Succeeded by