Secretaries of God: Women Prophets in Late Medieval and Early Modern England

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Boydell & Brewer, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 198 pages
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Diane Watt sets aside the conventional hiatus between the medieval and early modern periods in her study of women's prophecy, following the female experience from medieval sainthood to radical Protestantism. The English women prophets and visionaries whose voices are recovered here all lived between the twelfth and the seventeenth centuries and claimed, through the medium of trances and eucharistic piety, to speak for God. They include Margery Kempe and the medieval visionaries, Elizabeth Barton (the Holy Maid of Kent), the Reformation martyr Anne Askew and other godly women described in John Foxe's Acts and Monuments, and Lady Eleanor Davies as an example of a woman prophet of the Civil War. The strategies women devised to be heard and read are exposed, showing that through prophecy they were often able to intervene in the religious and political discourse of the their times: the role of God's secretary gave them the opportunity to act and speak autonomously and publicly. Winner of Foster Watson Memorial Gift for 1998. Professor Diane Watt is Head of the School of English and Languages, University of Surrey.

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Margery Kempe
Elizabeth Barton the Holy Maid
Anne Askew and Foxes Godly Women
Eleanor Davies Civil War Prophet

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About the author (2001)

Professor Diane Watt is Head of the School of English and Languages, University of Surrey. Secretaries of God won the 1998 Foster Watson Memorial Gift.

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