Women and American Religion
An old African-American churchgoers' saying rings true for most religious denominations in the United States: Women are the backbone of the church. For centuries, women have been the majority of members in almost all religious groups. They provide essential financial and social support and work tirelessly in the background of all church-based activities. Yet it is largely men who occupy the high rungs of church hierarchy, and they are the ones who get most of the credit. Ann Braude examines the important role of women in American religious history, focusing on their recent admission to public religious leadership and their fight for equal rights and recognition through the centuries. Both noted and little known women--such as Margaret Winthrop, Jarena Lee, Mary Baker Eddy, Henrietta Szold, Aimee Semple McPherson, and Mary Daly--spring to life in the pages of this thorough, passionate book.
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Historians have found that women ' s religious leadership more often results from
this type of direct spiritual contact than from the official authorization of religious
institutions . Barred from ordination or theological education , women have been
Examples of women assuming religious leadership because of direct spiritual
authorization can be found throughout the world . Americans moved by spiritual
forces joined medieval Christian mystics , Muslim spirit mediums in Morocco ,
Prevailing attitudes about women ' s lack of capacity for leadership meant that
few women sought ordination anyway . Women constituted less than 3 percent of
ordained clergy . The majority of these were in the Holiness and Pentecostal ...
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WOMEN IN AMERICAN RELIGIONUser Review - Kirkus
A brisk, informative history of the myriad roles women have played in America's religious history. Braude (Harvard Divinity School) has difficult tasks in this slim, generously illustrated volume: to ... Read full review