"As shee preachers hold forth christ" writing and speaking in Sara Jones's challenge to episcopacy, the Relation of a Gentlewoman (1642)
journal contributionposted on 19.06.2014, 13:37 by Rachel C. Adcock
When Sara Jones spoke in front of her separatist congregation in 1632, she was opening herself up to criticism for going against scriptural precedents: it was not divinely sanctioned that women should speak in church. Perhaps deriving confidence from having defended herself in front of the High Commission Court, led by William Laud, Jones supported women's liberty to speak so that they could be edified and then contribute to justifying and upholding their congregation's doctrines. This essay examines Jones's developing arguments in The Relation of a Gentlewoman (1641) and 'To Sions Lovers' (1644) and compares them with some accounts of women preaching within their separatist congregations. Women's words were considered, by Jones, as a major weapon in the fight against the Laudian bishops of the established church, and she would write to prove not only their validity, but also their importance. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
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