Chapter

Women and Marriage in Reformation Europe<sup>1</sup>

Helen Kraus

in Gender Issues in Ancient and Reformation Translations of Genesis 1-4

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199600786
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731563 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600786.003.0006

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Women and Marriage in Reformation Europe1

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Moving to early Modernity, we find women emerging from a mediaeval period that proved more liberal than is often supposed, though still far from emancipated. The powerlessness of many – not exclusively women – encouraged recourse to witchcraft, in turn engendering a fear of women, which ultimately led to their domestication: the home as a virtuous woman's place. Marriage as an institution gained status with both Reformers and Counter‐Reformers, and those outside it were regarded with suspicion. Women living celibate lives in closed communities were forced out into an unwelcoming society and the education of women, an important aspect of convent life, suffered accordingly. It is uncertain whether a woman's lot improved or deteriorated with the Reformation; it seems doubtful that women's ordinary lives changed significantly.

Keywords: emancipation; witchcraft; domestication; marriage; celibacy; education; convent; Reformation

Chapter.  7009 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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