Church MotherThe Writings of a Protestant Reformer in Sixteenth-Century Germany

Church MotherThe Writings of a Protestant Reformer in Sixteenth-Century Germany

Katharina Schutz Zell

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226979663

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Imbued with character and independence, strength and articulateness, humor and conviction, abundant biblical knowledge and intense compassion, Katharina Schütz Zell (1498–1562) was an outspoken religious reformer in sixteenth-century Germany who campaigned for the right of clergy to marry and the responsibility of lay people—women as well as men—to proclaim the Gospel. As one of the first and most daring models of the pastor's wife in the Protestant Reformation, she demonstrated that she could be an equal partner in marriage; she was for many years a respected, if unofficial, mother of the established church of Strasbourg in an age when ecclesiastical leadership was dominated by men. Though a commoner, Schütz Zell participated actively in public life and wrote prolifically, including letters of consolation, devotional writings, biblical meditations, catechetical instructions, a sermon, and lengthy polemical exchanges with male theologians. The complete translations of her extant publications, except for her longest, are collected here, offering modern readers an opportunity to understand the work of women in the formation of the early Protestant church.