A Few Women From the Reformation

I’m gearing up for my class on the Reformation next week. In Denis Janz’s A Reformation Reader we’re introduced to some interesting women from the Reformation.

Argula von Grumbach: Argula wrote in defense of a university professor who had been arrested for teaching Lutheran doctrine at a university. Interestingly, her husband lost his job because of her very public letter-writing campaign. She would later try to help foster dialogue between Melanchthon and Bucer when they had serious disagreements about the Eucharist.
In her letter to the university she explains why she is finally speaking up,

However, I suppressed my inclinations; heavy of heart, I did nothing. Because Paul says in 1 Timothy 2: “The women should keep silence, and should not speak in church.” But now that I cannot see any man who is up to it, who is either willing or able to speak, I am constrained by the saying: “Whoever confesses me,” as I said above. And I claim for myself Isaiah 3: “I will send children to be their princes; and women, or those who are womanish, shall rule over them…”
…What I have written to you is no woman’s chitchat, but the Word of God; and I write as a member of the Christian church, against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail.

Marie Dentiere: A gifted theologian, Marie had been an abbess and preached about the reformation to nuns in the convent of Poor Clares. She wrote a letter to the Queen of Navarre defending the teachings of the Reformers, and “believed it offered women the opportunity to interpret and teach Scripture.”
She writes,

Why then is it necessary to gossip about women? Seeing that it was not a woman who sold and betrayed Jesus, but a man, named Judas. Who are they, I ask you, who have invented and contrived the ceremonies, heresies, and false doctrines on the earth, if not the men? And the poor women have been seduced by them. Never has a woman been found to be a false prophet, just fooled by them…If God has given graces to some good women, revealing to them something holy and good through his Holy Scripture, should they, for the sake of the defamers of the truth, refrain from writing down, speaking or declaring it to each other? Ah! It would be too impudent to hide the talent which God has given to us, we who ought to have the grace to persevere to the end.

Who is your favourite woman from the Reformation Era?

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