"We Shall be the Mother of Jesus.” Visions of power among radical religious women in northern Europe, 1690-1760’.

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This article examines the radical Protestant movements in England, the Holy Roman Empire, and the twin kingdom of Denmark and Norway from the turbulent 1690s to the 1760s. It argues that, in contrast to the intellectual environments of radical Enlightenment, it was easier for women to assert themselves within radical Protestant movements, such as the Quakers, the Philadelphians, and the radical Pietist and Moravian communities. Within these radical movements, it was possible for women to create a space in which they could express themselves as prophets. Among these groups were some women who achieved quite prominent positions, such as Jane Lead in London, Johanna Eleonora Petersen in Magdeburg, and Marie Wulf in Copenhagen. Furthermore, the article discusses how these movements created new religious discourses that challenged traditional gender boundaries and social hierarchies. Some radical Protestants emphasized that there were feminine attributes of Christianity, whereas others allegedly prophesied that in the future millennium, women would achieve a special status as the mothers of Jesus and as co-regents. Prophecies constituted a shared transnational discourse within radical Protestantism through which traditional gender roles were negotiated and could sometimes even be revoked.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIntellectual History Review
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)73-90
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 284718771