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Women and American Religion / Edition 1

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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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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Patricia Timbrook
Tempering anecdotes, photographs, and documented accounts of religious history with storytelling techniques, the author neither attempts to persuade nor dissuade readers regarding the opening premise that "women are the backbone of the Church." As part of a 17-volume series, women--taken individually, collectively, and culturally--are escorted to the "front pews and pulpits" of the American religions. Braude's writing style--perhaps meant to elevate the female gender--calls loud attention to herself and her feminist causes, which is perhaps why she wrote the book.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Braude looks at women's influence on religious activity from Puritanism to Christian and Muslim feminism and Reformed Judaism. Chapters describing the activities of individual women such as 19th-century African-American preacher Jarena Lee and Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy highlight the unique position a few women have been afforded by their rise to prominence under the mantle of religion. Societal changes brought about by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, Hadassah, Roman Catholic nuns, and various missionary societies are also described. Broader participation in work outside the home, in government, and in some established religions in the second half of the 20th century is shown to be a direct result of earlier religious activities. The book also mentions that some women are choosing to return to traditional subservient roles within their religions and cultures. Black-and-white photos and reproductions are scattered throughout. This is a good starting point for examining this topic. Greater depth of information about individuals and groups of women as well as broader perspectives on religion in American life can be gained through the well-chosen works listed in the further reading list.-Ann G. Brouse, Big Flats Branch Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195106763
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Series: Religion in American Life Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Harvard Divinity School
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