Women of the Reformation in France and England

Women of the Reformation in France and England

Women of the Reformation in France and England

Women of the Reformation in France and England

Excerpt

In The Women of the Reformation in Germany and Italy I ventured a reflection on the effect of the Reformation of the sixteenth century on the role of women in society. The suggestion was that the dropping of monasticism in Protestant lands made for the exaltation of the home, the especial domain of the wife, as the sphere for the exercise of the gentler virtues of the Sermon on the Mount. In Catholic thought these have been called the counsels of perfection to be observed by monks. Protestantism made no distinction between the counsels to be observed by the few and the precepts binding upon all. The entire Christian ethic was held to be incumbent upon every believer. Nevertheless there was a distinction of areas. Political man was given a different code and in time economic man also. The shift is evident in Luther who exalted the home as the area where there is neither mine nor thine. Apart from Luther I have not found a direct statement of this principle and I suspect that the only way to test the thesis is to look at the literature of the ensuing centuries.

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