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Profiles of Anabaptist Women

Sixteenth-Century Reforming Pioneers

Edited by C. Arnold Snyder & Linda A. Huebert Hecht
Subjects Social Science, Women’s Studies, Religion
Series Studies in Women and Religion Hide Details
Paperback : 9780889202771, 464 pages, October 1996
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554587902, 464 pages, October 2010


During the upheavals of the Reformation, one of the most significant of the radical Protestant movements emerged — that of the Anabaptist movement. Profiles of Anabaptist Women provides lively, well-researched profiles of the courageous women who chose to risk prosecution and martyrdom to pursue this unsanctioned religion — a religion that, unlike the established religions of the day, initially offered them opportunity and encouragement to proselytize.

Derived from sixteenth-century government records and court testimonies, hymns, songs and poems, these profiles provide a panorama of life and faith experiences of women from Switzerland, Germany, Holland and Austria.

These personal stories of courage, faith, commitment and resourcefulness interweave women’s lives into the greater milieu, relating them to the dominant male context and the socio-political background of the Reformation. Taken together, these sketches will give readers an appreciation for the central role played by Anabaptist women in the emergence and persistence of this radical branch of Protestantism.


"Along with providing a bibliographic appendix, the editors frame the articles with general and regional introductions to key issues, and they offer a background in Anabaptist history and theology for readers who may be unfamiliar with these topics. The book could thus be used on its own with students, or read profitably by general readers. For specialists in the Reformation, the long debate over the situation of women in Anabaptism makes this required reading. Like all recent good work in women's history, it highlights regional and other differences, notes the difficulty of making generalizations, and pays attention to issues of voice, representation, audience, and gender ideologies. Like all good history, it recounts the stories of individuals whose lives illuminate aspects of the past about which we know too little. "

- Merry Wiesner-Hanks, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Snyder and Huebert Hecht provide well-researched portraits of many Anabaptist women, based on sixteenth-century government records, court testimonies, hymns, and poems that depict the staunch convictions of women in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. ...One cannot read these poignant records of intense courage and deep faith without being moved. The examples of these women should motivate believers today to a more resolute commitment to Christ. "

- Roy B. Zuck, Bibliotheca Sacra

"It provides a good critical analysis of women's roles in Anabaptism, showing where women took on leadership roles previously unknown and where their lives were circumscribed by their gender. ...For those interested in further research, a comprehensive review of existing literature on women in Anabaptism is included as an appendix. This book is well compiled and written. It is a major contribution to the study of women in the Radical Reformation. It gives voice to Anabaptist women who previously were considered a silenced group. "

- Tammy Sutherland, Mennonite Brethren Herald