Hans Tambs Lyche

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Hans Tambs Lyche (1859 - 1898)

Knut A. Berg has written the following about Lyche:

Here at home, the foundations for Unitarianism had already been laid, through the hard work of the idealistic H. Tambs Lyche.
Lyche had spent a long time in America, working as an engineer on the railroad, studying theology at a Unitarian seminary, and serving as a minister in Wisconsin and Massachusetts, where he spoke out against the sentence handed down in the famous Haymarket Riots case.
He came back to Norway in 1892, and a year later started a liberal digest magazine called Kringsjaa(sic). He also worked for a time as a newspaper editor for Dagbladet, one of the few ministers who has held this position, and he edited the liberal publication Noderhov. Politically, he was a left-wing supporter of the Liberal party, who wanted an independent Norwegian republic with unrestricted voting rights for both men and women.
In 1893, he published a brochure with the title "A Unitarian Church in Kristiania" [Oslo was named Christiania/Kristiania until 1925], and in the debate that followed, he defined Unitarianism as: Liberal thinking about life, reason and nature. It was an attempt to start a Unitarian church, but according to him, he gathered only about 100 people who were interested, and nothing came of it. He also started a publication called Free Words: Magazine for Ethical and Religious Culture. In it, he published excerpts from authors like Emerson and Carlyle, poems of Walt Whitman, a special issue about the poet Henrik Wergeland [1808-1845, the "patron saint" of the Norwegian left, our Jefferson/Paine/Emerson/Whitman], whom he considered (with some justification) as an Unitarian. He also included translations of sermons from Unitarians and (the closely related) Universalists, as well as speeches of Ethical Culture leaders. (This last was an American society, largely based on the philosophy of Kant, with its members united by common ethical considerations.) Here he could bring a mild and factual critique of Janson, when he (Janson) performed ceremonies such as baptisms, which Tambs Lyche found meaningless. Here he could put forth his critical and down-to-earth treatment of a new-religious phenomenon such as spiritualism. Unfortunately, he got into a disagreement with Sabro, the publisher/printer. Sabro took over the magazine, and he and the magazine began to go from one faith to another, going through more mystical, gnostic, esoteric and completely incomprehensible beliefs than one would think possible in such a short time. Finally, Sabro ended up among the Christian Scientists (who believe that faith and prayer can cure disease), became ill and died; Janson spoke at his burial.

(See listings for Norwegian Unitarians and for his wife, Mary Tambs Lyche.)