Gender and Heresy: Women and Men in Lollard Communities, 1420-1530

Synopsis

Shannon McSheffrey studies the communities of the late medieval English heretics, the Lollards, and presents unexpected conclusions about the precise ways in which gender shaped participation within the movement. While much recent scholarship has contended that heresies offered medieval women opportunities for religious and social expression that they could not find in orthodoxy, Gender and Heresy demonstrates that the Lollard movement provided no such outlet. Within Lollardy, challenges to orthodoxy did not lead to questioning of dominant medieval gender categories. McSheffrey examines the archival and printed sources for the later Lollard communities to analyze the activities, relationships, and beliefs of the individuals who made up these groups. Her study emphasizes how complex interactions between socioeconomic status, gender identities, and religious culture shaped participation in religious movements.