Academic journal article Magistra

Argula Von Grumbach: A Woman's Voice in the Reformation

Academic journal article Magistra

Argula Von Grumbach: A Woman's Voice in the Reformation

Article excerpt

Peter Matheson, Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1995), 213 pp., cloth, $33.95, 0-567-09707-2.

The Reformation movement became an opportunity for some women to enter into a more active and public role in ecclesial debates, both theological and political. Argula von Grumbach was just such a woman.

Argula von Grambach (1492-1554?) was the first Protestant woman writer to make use of the printing press to her cause. She defended the right of women to speak out on religious matters and developed an interesting new approach to Scripture. She published eight pamphlets challenging university, Church and court. The first pamphlet reached sixteen editions. She addressed the Catholic theologians of Ingolstadt, the Dukes of Bavaria and the Councils of Ingolstadt and Regensburg. Luther, Osiander and other leading reformers were her friends and correspondents. In 1523, Argula challenged the Catholic establishment to a public debate; the issue was the persecution of a young student at Ingolstadt who was a follower of Luther.

Presumably self-taught, Argula's understanding of Scripture astonished her contemporaries by its breadth and depth. She was an active and dedicated student of scriptural exegesis, which deeply influenced her spirituality. It is evident that her studies were influenced by her circle of friends and yet it is equally evident that she was not merely reiterating the teachings of Martin Luther.

Matheson has done a fine work of presenting the first modern and first English translation of the writings of von Grambach. …

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