Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England / Edition 1

Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England / Edition 1

by Elizabeth Reis
     
 

In her analysis of the cultural construction of gender in early America, Elizabeth Reis explores the intersection of Puritan theology, Puritan evaluations of womanhood, and the Salem witchcraft episodes. She finds in that intersection the basis for understanding why women were accused of witchcraft more often than men, why they confessed more often, and why they… See more details below

Overview

In her analysis of the cultural construction of gender in early America, Elizabeth Reis explores the intersection of Puritan theology, Puritan evaluations of womanhood, and the Salem witchcraft episodes. She finds in that intersection the basis for understanding why women were accused of witchcraft more often than men, why they confessed more often, and why they frequently accused other women of being witches. In the process of negotiating their beliefs about the devil's powers in practical ways, both women and men embedded womanhood in the discourse of depravity. Women and men feared hell equally but the Puritan culture encourage women to believe that it was their vile natures which would take them there rather than the particular sins they may have committed. Following the Salem witchcraft trials, Reis argues, Puritans' understanding of sin and the devil changed. Women and men took more responsibility for their sins and became increasingly confident of their redemption, yet women more than men continued to imagine themselves as essentially corrupt, even after the Great Awakening.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801486111
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
01/28/1999
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
212
Sales rank:
413,157
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.86(h) x 0.61(d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Preface
Introduction: Puritan Women and the Discourse of Depravity1
1Women's Sinful Natures and Men's Natural Sins12
2Popular and Ministerial Visions of Satan55
3The Devil, the Body, and the Feminine Soul93
4Gender and the Meanings of Confession121
5Satan Dispossessed164
Epilogue: Gender, Faith, and "Young Goodman Brown"194
Index205

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