Baptist Women’s Writings in Revolutionary Culture, 1640-1680: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Baptist Women’s Writings in Revolutionary Culture, 1640-1680

1st Edition

By Rachel Adcock

Routledge

232 pages

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Description

Although literary-historical studies have often focused on the range of dissenting religious groups and writers that flourished during the English Revolution, they have rarely had much to say about seventeenth-century Baptists, or, indeed, Baptist women. Baptist Women’s Writings in Revolutionary Culture, 1640-1680 fills that gap, exploring how female Baptists played a crucial role in the group’s formation and growth during the 1640s and 50s, by their active participation in religious and political debate, and their desire to evangelise their followers. The study significantly challenges the idea that women, as members of these congregations, were unable to write with any kind of textual authority because they were often prevented from speaking aloud in church meetings. On the contrary, Adcock shows that Baptist women found their way into print to debate points of church organisation and doctrine, to defend themselves and their congregations, to evangelise others by example and by teaching, and to prophesy, and discusses the rhetorical tactics they utilised in order to demonstrate the value of women’s contributions. In the course of the study, Adcock considers and analyses the writings of little-studied Baptist women, Deborah Huish, Katherine Sutton, and Jane Turner, as well as separatist writers Sara Jones, Susanna Parr, and Anne Venn. She also makes due connection to the more familiar work of Agnes Beaumont, Anna Trapnel, and Anne Wentworth, enabling a reassessment of the significance of those writings by placing them in this wider context. Writings by these female Baptists attracted serious attention, and, as Adcock discusses, some even found a trans-national audience.

Reviews

"Adcock’s fascinating study draws our attention to a terrific range of Baptist women’s voices, and to the fierce connection between voice and authority emphasized in religious texts. In turns smart and engaging, this book shows Baptist women as staunch defenders of their congregations and intelligent readers of Scripture. Adcock demonstrates their remarkable participation in prophecy, church administration, and judgment and rebuke of disappointing leaders. Now we may acknowledge - and celebrate - the license given these women, and the extent of women’s contributions in the early days of the Baptist movement in and outside the church door." - Michele Osherow, University of Maryland, USA

"Rachel Adcock’s Baptist Women’s Writing in Revolutionary Culture, 1640–1660 is essential reading for students of early modern women’s literature. (…) Adcock’s account of Baptist women’s writing masterfully explores the complex interplay between religious belief and new ideals of liberty and individual rights that shaped this extraordinary canon of radical women’s writing." - Teresa Feroli, New York University, USA

About the Author

Rachel Adcock is Lecturer in English at Keele University, UK.

About the Series

Women and Gender in the Early Modern World

Women and Gender in the Early Modern World
The study of women and gender offers some of the most vital and innovative challenges to current scholarship on the early modern period. For more than a decade now, Women and Gender in the Early Modern World has served as a forum for presenting fresh ideas and original approaches to the field. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary in scope, this Routledge series strives to reach beyond geographical limitations to explore the experiences of early modern women and the nature of gender in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. We welcome proposals for both single-author volumes and edited collections which expand and develop this continually evolving field of study.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HIS037040
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century
LIT019000
LITERARY CRITICISM / Renaissance