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Journal > Volumes > 35 (2004) / 1 (Spring)
Gender and the Rhetoric of Martyrdom in Jean Crespin’s Histoire des vrays tesmoins
Nikki Shepardson
Rider University

In sixteenth-century France many Protestant women took an active role in the defense of their religious convictions. The French Protestant martyrologist Jean Crespin recounted the stories of numerous women who became martyrs for this cause. A problem arose, however, as female martyrs abandoned home and family, thus challenging the gendered social order. As the martyrologies had a didactic function, images of exemplary women needed to be constructed so as not to threaten prescribed gender roles but also not undermine the power of the martyr. By looking at the construction of the martyrological accounts and the interpretation of gender roles within Calvinist thought of the period, it is possible to see how exemplary women and their actions were incorporated into the larger ideological framework of the Reformed movement.

Pages: 155 - 157