Medieval Woman: Her Role In Society Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 7 Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Essay Paper: #19600074 Related Topics: Medieval, Ephesians, Communion, Protestant Reformation
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Women: Luther and the Medieval Roman Catholic Church

The medieval view of women and the woman's role was essentially informed by a centuries-long, Christian informed tradition, upheld by patriarchal society. Thus, that there should exist a vast discrepancy between the views of Luther and the views of the medieval Roman Catholic Church regarding women is to perhaps wish too much. Modern feminism may be, to some extent, found in the works of Chaucer, whose Wife of Bath represents a departure from "acceptable" womanhood in the medieval world. But even a century and a half later not much has changed on this front. Luther's animus towards the Catholic Church was mainly doctrine and practice-centered. Luther had a conception of the faith that differed and evolved significantly as the Protestant Reformation got underway. Nonetheless, there can be found teachings by both Luther and the Catholic Church that can be compared for a better understanding of how said teaching influenced society and provided for a legacy that still exists in Western culture. This paper will examine these teachings and compare and contrast them.

The "nature of women" was a hot topic in the 16th century, a time when all long-standing traditions were coming under the microscope, so to speak.[footnoteRef:1] Luther's
The Church's teaching was basically that of St. Paul's in his epistle to the Ephesians: "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the
church, He Himself being the Savior of the body" (Eph 5:22-23). This teaching, on the other hand, did not mean that women held no significant role in the Catholic Church. The Mother of God was given a special position in the medieval Church, and the rosary, which consisted of 50 Ave Maria's, was largely a prayer to the Virgin Mother that was adopted in the 13th century as a powerful way to petition Heaven. Indeed, this practice of praying is "still a very common devotion among Catholics and some other Christians (e.g. some Anglicans)" to this day; such is the legacy of this aspect of the Church and its stance on this woman in particular.[footnoteRef:4] But other women have played significant roles as well: many have been declared saints by the Church, such as Agnes, Lucy, Mary Magdalene, Clare, and a host of others like St. Juliana who was a celebrated "mystic" Norwich in the 14th century.[footnoteRef:5] What they are extolled for, primarily, is their virtuous lives, and their upholding of the teachings of the…

Sources Used in Documents:

Bibliography

Darlage, Adam. "Double Honor: Elite Hutterite Women in the Sixteenth Century."

Church History, vol. 79, no. 4 (Dec 2010): 753-782

Karant-Nunn, Susan; Viesner-Hanks, Merry. Luther on Women: A Sourcebook. UK:

Cambridge, 2003.


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