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Module Forum: Germany in the Age of the Reformation (HI242)

Module Forum: Germany in the Age of the Reformation (HI242) The Reformation enhanced Women's Position: NO

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  1. With a view to our debate in week 7, collect your arguments and evidence against the proposition here (by replying to this message):

  2. Before we even look at the source evidence for change in women’s position in society we must ask what constitutes change in the roles of women in the reformation. Yes Luther’s table talks and Steven Ozment’s reflections on the roles of women in reformation seem to paint a generally positive picture of the role of women in the household and their position on marriage as a ‘deminishment’ of sin in theory reflects well on the position of women. However in a practical sense women are still confined to the household, Luther still regarded women as “lower than males in the hierarchy that made up the universe” and “were to be obiedent to their husbands in all things” as Karant-Nunn observes. This question therefore depends on what one would delegate as advancing the position of women and considering women were still confined to the household and subjugated to the will of men it would suggest that not much had ‘enhanced’ the womens position in the household and beyond. Those like Argula Von Grumbach who posted many influential works on Luther and the reformation cannot be accurate respresentations of an enhanced role of women in society as they were quickly persitcuted for their works, for example her husband lost his position at Dietfurt and she was often slandered in sermons across the country. It is also important to note that those who could articulate their views on women and Luther’s work were often from positions of power and so did not reflect the independent freedom most women had either in the nuneries or in household, but more so reflected the position of privilege and the protection and education it provides. Does the reformation enhance the roles of women? No, women in a general sense were still viewed in the same light and were still confined to the household.