Women of the Reformation, from Spain to Scandinavia

Women of the Reformation, from Spain to Scandinavia

Women of the Reformation, from Spain to Scandinavia

Women of the Reformation, from Spain to Scandinavia

Synopsis

In this fascinating and concluding volume in his series on the contributions of women to the Reformation, celebrated historian Roland Bainton tells the stories of twenty-seven courageous figures (some famous, some less well-known) all ardently committed to religious reform during the restless years of the Reformation. Bainton's knack for combining an intimate knowledge of this historical period with a congenial and personal style of writing is once again on display in these memorable portraits of sixteenth-century women from Spain, Portugal, Scotland, England, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Hungary, and Transylvania.

Excerpt

A few reflections are in order at the close of these three volumes. Why was the study undertaken? Because of a lifelong interest in those who have not had their due. in 1955 the Dudleian lecture at Harvard was on The Office of the Minister’s Wife in New England. the larger study followed the death of Ruth Woodruff Bainton in the hope of rendering a posthumous tribute to one widely loved but little acclaimed.

A further purpose is to correct historical distortions. Women were not enslaved throughout the past, as some seem to think. To be sure, they had a rough time by reason of circumstances which affected all. in the sixteenth century the average length of life was around twenty five years, because of high infant mortality. To replenish the population after devastating plagues families of ten or so were required. Women in consequence spent one segment of their lives mothering and another grandmothering. They had to be supported by men and were glad to be. and think not that the lot of men was easy with families of a wife and some ten children to support.

Certainly in our day we should assist women to enter into all of those fields which our new circumstances make possible. To that end history is not to be distorted. But is a male in a position to correct it? Is he capable of telling how women felt in the sixteenth century? Perhaps not. But he can record how they said they felt, provided they said anything at all. and there is the rub.

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