Gender and Christianity in Modern Europe

Beyond the Feminization Thesis

Edited by Patrick Pasture, Jan Art, and Thomas Buerman

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Case studies upon the use of concepts like feminization and masculinization in relation to christianity

Since the 1970s the feminization thesis has become a powerful trope in the rewriting of the social history of Christendom. However, this ‘thesis' has triggered some vehement debates, given that men have continued to dominate the churches, and the churches themselves have reacted to the association of religion and femininity, often formulated by their critics, by explicitly focusing their appeal to men. In this book the authors critically reflect upon the use of concepts like feminization and masculinization in relation to Christianity. By presenting case studies that adopt different gendered approaches with regard to Christian, mainly Catholic discourses and practices, the authors capture multiple ‘feminizations' and ‘masculinizations' in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. In particular, it becomes clear that the idea that Christianity took on ‘charicteristically feminine' values and practices cannot withstand the conclusion that what is considered ‘manly' or ‘feminine' depends on time, place, and context, and on the reasons why gendered metaphors are used.

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Patrick Pasture
Beyond the feminization thesis.
Gendering the history of Christianity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

Bernhard Schneider
The Catholic poor relief discourse and the feminization of the Caritas in early nineteenth-century Germany

Angela Berlis
Celibate or married priests?
Polemical gender discourse in nineteenth-century Catholicism

Jan Art
The Cult of the Virgin Mary, or the feminization of the male element in the Roman Catholic Church? A psycho-historical hypothesis

Hugh McLeod
The 'Sportsman' and the 'Muscular Christian'.
Rival ideals in nineteenth-century England

Thomas Buerman
Lions and lambs at the same time!
Belgian Zouave stories and examples of religious masculinity

Tine Van Osselaer
'From that moment on, I was a man!'.
Images of the Catholic male in the Sacred Heart devotion

Marit Monteiro
Repertoires of Catholic manliness in the Netherlands (1850-1940).
A case study of the Dutch Dominicans

Marieke Smulders
The boys of Saint Dominic 's.
Catholic boys' culture at a minor seminary in interwar Holland

Marjet Derks
Female soldiers and the battle for God.
Gender ambiguities and a Dutch Catholic conversion movement, 1921-1942

Michael E. O'Sullivan
A feminized Church?
German Catholic women, piety, and domesticity, 1918-1938



Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 238 × 170 × 15 mm

240 pages

ISBN: 9789058679123

Publication: July 13, 2012

Series: KADOC-Studies on Religion, Culture and Society 10

Languages: English

Stock item number: 66948

Jan Art retired as professor of history at the University of Ghent in 2010. He has published widely on 19th and 20th century cultural and religious history, social science methodology in history, and psychohistory.
Patrick Pasture is Professor of History and Director of the Centre for European Studies at KU Leuven.

Het boek is zeer coherent, in de zin dat alle auteurs inderdaad ingaan op de feminiseringsthese. De auteurs baseren zich allen op eigen en origineel onderzoek. Dit maakt dat het materiaal hier verzameld een belangrijke bijdrage in aan het veld van de historische bestudering van gender en christendom in Europa.
K.E. Knibbe, Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies, jaargang 16, 2013, nummer 3