Publication: Dr Rachel Adcock's "Baptist Women's Writings in Revolutionary Culture, 1640-1680"

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Posted on 04 June 2015

Dr Rachel Adcock, Lecturer in English, has published a monograph titled Baptist Women’s Writings in Revolutionary Culture, 1640-1680 with Ashgate Press. The book explores how female Baptists played a crucial role in the group’s formation and growth during the 1640s and 50s, by their active participation in religious and political debate, and their desire to evangelise their followers. The study significantly challenges the idea that women, as members of these congregations, were unable to write with any kind of textual authority because they were often prevented from speaking aloud in church meetings. On the contrary, Adcock shows that Baptist women found their way into print to debate points of church organisation and doctrine, to defend themselves and their congregations, to evangelise others by example and by teaching, and to prophesy, and discusses the rhetorical tactics they utilised in order to demonstrate the value of women’s contributions.

Michelle Osherow (University of Maryland) writes that "Adcock’s fascinating study draws our attention to a terrific range of Baptist women’s voices, and to the fierce connection between voice and authority emphasized in religious texts. In turns smart and engaging, this book shows Baptist women as staunch defenders of their congregations and intelligent readers of Scripture. Adcock demonstrates their remarkable participation in prophecy, church administration, and judgment and rebuke of disappointing leaders. Now we may acknowledge - and celebrate - the license given these women, and the extent of women’s contributions in the early days of the Baptist movement in and outside the church door."