Chapter

Her Father's and Her Mother's God: 1857–1859

Joan D. Hedrick

in Harriet Beecher Stowe

Published in print July 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096392
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854288 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096392.003.0022
Her Father's and Her Mother's God: 1857–1859

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Women turned to Harriet Beecher Stowe for relief from a particular kind of religious scruple that they would not have been able to express to their ministers. Stowe answered this mother's cry in a book she thought of as a series of “household sermons.” Once again Stowe ministered to troubled women by understanding and accepting their feelings—and telling them that God does the same. Her image of God was based on her own understanding of a mother's love. Mothers stood as the type of “disinterested benevolence.” As in Uncle Tom's Cabin, the radicalism of Stowe's Christianity came not from the boldness of her ideas but from her insistence that Christians must live out the practical consequences of their beliefs. The Minister's Wooing was in an important sense an undoing of theology, an antisystem that worked by putting ideas in practice and so exploding neat systems.

Keywords: Harriet Beecher Stowe; household sermons; mothers; disinterested benevolence; Christianity; The Minister's Wooing; women

Chapter.  8288 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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