Cover image for Noble daughters : unheralded women in western Christianity, 13th to 18th centuries
Noble daughters : unheralded women in western Christianity, 13th to 18th centuries
Conn, Marie A., 1944-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvii, 122 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
The thirteenth-century Belgian Beguines: An experiment in laywomen's spirituality -- Anabaptist women martyrs: Images of radical commitment -- Victims of the witch craze: Scapegoats in a time of turmoil -- The nuns of Port-Royal: A reform movement entangled in controversy -- Connections: Honoring the past, envisioning the future.
Reading Level:
1530 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BV639.W7 C58 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The history of Western Christianity, written predominantly from a male perspective, has often ignored women's stories and their unique contributions to both Church and society. Unlike the virgins and martyrs who are named in the official list of the Church's saints, the beguines, Anabaptists, so-called witches, and nuns of Port-Royal have gone largely unrecognized. Their stories, as presented in this one volume, explore the underside of history and challenge support of a strictly hierarchical Church. These four groups of women represent disparate approaches to a Christian commitment, but they share an intense devotion to their understanding of the gospel message. Their willingness to adhere to their beliefs brought them into conflict with ecclesiastical and civil authority. Often, these women sacrificed their lives; all of them refuted the stereotype of a passive female Church member. These women's stories unfold within the complex picture of medieval Europe, but their beliefs and struggles offer models of Christian living relevant to today.

This work will appeal to scholars of gender and women's studies, theology, and European history. The research and documentation provides information about these women previously available only in scattered and often obscure sources. Although these women represent a unique ecumenical mix of backgrounds, they share a common strength, commitment, and feminine approach to religion.

Author Notes

Marie A. Conn is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. xi
Mapsp. xv
1 The Thirteenth-Century Belgian Beguines: An Experiment in Laywomen's Spiritualityp. 1
2 Anabaptist Women Martyrs: Images of Radical Commitmentp. 27
3 Victims of the Witch Craze: Scapegoats in a Time of Turmoilp. 57
4 The Nuns of Port-Royal: A Reform Movement Entangled in Controversyp. 75
5 Connections: Honoring the Past, Envisioning the Futurep. 101
Glossaryp. 107
Bibliographyp. 111
Indexp. 121