Religious Issues in Nineteenth Century Feminism

Religious Issues in Nineteenth Century Feminism

Religious Issues in Nineteenth Century Feminism

Religious Issues in Nineteenth Century Feminism

Excerpt

The difficulties involved in writing a history of women are already a matter of record. The chief reason cited is always the fact that so few women took pen in hand to record or interpret significant or crucial events. When they did, it was often only to find that they either lacked the literary skills to write well or had not been provided with the prerequisite knowledge necessary to comment intelligently on the social, political, or economic events surrounding them. More often than not, they had to content themselves with commentaries on limited personal worlds in the form of diaries, travel journals, works on etiquette, and the like. While such works are of immeasurable importance to modern day historians, they are for women yet another bold reminder of their historical subjection-- a testimony to their inability to affect choice, action, and idea in the arenas where history is made.

The nineteenth century, however, was to bring about significant changes, for in that century woman's restlessness and dissatisfaction with her subject status reached a highwater mark. Dissatisfied with her subordinate position, she challenged it--in literature, politics, economics, education, religion, medicine, the sciences and all those so-called masculine spheres previously closed to her.

A great deal has already been written about the sociological, economic and political aspects of the nineteenth century woman's rights movement. So much, in fact, that it has dwarfed an equally important aspect of the movement--its concern for religious and theological issues. To ignore this element is to overlook much of the profundity of feminist efforts.

Throughout the nineteenth century, feminists showed an intense interest in the theological and ecclesiastical barriers which . . .

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