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The Religious History of American WomenReimagining the Past$
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Catherine A. Brekus

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831021

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807867990_brekus

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Puritan Women, Spiritual Power, and the Question of Sexuality

Puritan Women, Spiritual Power, and the Question of Sexuality

(p.51) 1 Puritan Women, Spiritual Power, and the Question of Sexuality
The Religious History of American Women

Marilyn J. Westerkamp

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter illustrates how women's history can shed light on religion, gender, and power by focusing on Puritanism. It considers the impact of Puritan theology on everyday life, from childrearing to family responsibilities and death, and how male clergy in Puritan New England tried to establish orthodoxy by insisting that witchcraft, heresy, and dissent were all forms of “feminine” deviance. More specifically, the book examines how the language of illicit sexuality and sexual metaphor was employed in describing witches, the ultimate blasphemers and heretics.

Keywords:   women's history, Puritanism, theology, witchcraft, heresy, dissent, sexuality, religion, gender, power

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