Women Prophets

Elizabeth Bouldin

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online February 2013 | | DOI:
Women Prophets

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Women prophets existed throughout the Atlantic world and came from a wide range of religious and spiritual traditions. The understanding of prophecy as the claim of speaking for God or the divine cut across time and place, but prophets always directed their messages to an audience situated in a particular social, political, and religious context. Prophecy’s emphasis on divine rather than human authorship could allow for the expression of marginalized voices, both male and female. Scholarship on women prophets has explored how and to what extent women shaped their religious and civic communities through prophecy and other public religious roles, as well as how gender informed their discourse and activity. In the early modern era, prophecy often emerged from individuals or groups who challenged established (or state) churches. Many early modern women prophets came out of the North Atlantic basin and were affiliated with radical Protestant groups. Catholic visionaries appeared throughout the early modern era in both Europe and the colonial Americas. In the New World, encounters among Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans produced new forms of religious and political expression through the blending of prophetic traditions. Female prophecy flourished during the 18th- and 19th-century evangelical revivals among the hundreds of women who prophesied and preached in local communities or as itinerant evangelists.

Article.  5197 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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