Welche Rolle spielten Frauen während der Reformation? Was bedeutete es für Katharina Schütz Zell oder Idelette de Bure, «Gefährten im Dienst» zu sein? Und inwiefern war Margarete Blarer aus Konstanz eine Ausnahmeerscheinung?
Zum 500-Jahr-Jubiläum der Reformation haben Autorinnen und Autoren die Frauen und ihre Anliegen im Blick und lenken die Aufmerksamkeit auf überraschende Aspekte der Sozialgeschichte. Neben Zeugnissen von selbständigen Frauen wird dem Einfluss der Reformation auf die Frauen- und Männerrolle sowie auf das Ehe- und Familienverständnis Raum gegeben. Neue Ehe- und Gesellschaftsideen und deren Wirkung kommen ebenfalls zur Sprache. Nicht zuletzt ist es ein Buch über die tragischen Schicksale von prominenten, aber auch völlig unbekannten Frauen, die der Reformation zum Opfer fielen.
Mit Beiträgen von Karla Apperloo-Boersma, Urte Bejick, Christine Christ-von Wedel, Rebecca Giselbrecht, Isabelle Graesslé, Susan Karant-Nunn, Elsie McKee, Helmut Puff, Sabine Scheuter, Kirsi Stjerna.
TVZ has graciously sent a copy for review without any expectations concerning the review’s negative or positive take on the volume.
Everyone is familiar with the chief (male) protagonists of the Reformation: Zwingli, Calvin, Luther, Melanchthon, Bucer, Oecolampadius, etc. And some folk have heard of Anna Zwingli or Katie Luther. But few have ever had the opportunity of being exposed to the chief women of the Reformation.
Who they were and what they did matters, so this is a welcome volume. It isn’t, though, simply a series of biographies of women; rather it investigates the broader question of women during the Reformation and their contributions to it.
The first section of the volume, then, intriguingly introduces the significance of witnesses of various sorts to the Reformation. The second turns to an investigation of Reformation thought and women, with particular emphasis on Erasmus’s views on women and 16th century portraits of important women.
The third segment is more extensive than the previous as it concerns the witnesses of the Swiss Reformation who happen to have been women and how they ‘feed’ the ‘river’ of Reformation thought. Here we are treated to the life stories of Katharina Zell, Idelette de Bure, Ursula Jost, Margaretha Preuss, Marie Dentiere, and Margarete Blarer.
The final section widens the focus once more to bring us full circle with its discussion of men and women as men and women during the 16th century.
The volume concludes with a bibliography and table of images as well as very brief bylines of the volume’s numerous contributors.
The Reformation is big business these days. Luther especially is being treated to more publicity than he’s had since 1521. It is, accordingly, very important that we be reminded that the Reformation wasn’t just about men, nor were its most important actors always men. The Reformation was a massive event which necessitated the participation of armies of theologians and supporters. They are often forgotten but they shouldn’t be.
This book serves the purpose of reminding us that women played an invaluable role in the most important theological movement since the days of the Apostles. The authors and editors are to be thanked for it and so is the publisher, for realizing both the importance of the topic and the need for it to be disseminated.
I recommend this book without reservation.