The life story and theological writings of Katharina Schütz Zell (1498-1562) present an unusually full picture of an urban lay woman in the Protestant Reformation.
The daughter of an established artisan in the free imperial city of Strasbourg, Katharina Schütz married the reformer Matthew Zell and became a partner in one of the first Protestant ‘clergy couples’. More than a pioneer pastor’s wife, Schütz Zell carried out a lifelong ministry of teaching, writing, and speaking out, as well as the charitable work and hospitality traditionally expected of a woman.
Volume 2 provides access for the first time to the literary corpus of an outstanding lay leader of the early Protestant Reformation, one of the most articulate women authors of her age.
An educated Strasbourg craftswoman and pastor’s wife, Katharina Schütz Zell wrote German fluently.
Her works, some published in her lifetime, others preserved only in manuscript, are remarkable for their time-span (1524-1558) and the range of genres: from devotional, educational, and pastoral text to sermonic literature and theological polemic.
Schütz Zell’s writings reveal a lively mind, considerable Biblical knowledge, and unusual historical gifts. Her practically unknown autograph letter to Caspar Schwenckfeld is particularly important for the new light it sheds on confessionalization in the 1550’s and one woman’s friendly but sturdy intellectual independence.
The print edition is available as a set of two volumes (9789004111127).
Elsie Anne McKee, Ph.D. (1982), Princeton Theological Seminary, is (Archibald Alexander) Professor of Reformation Studies and the History of Worship there. A Reformation historian, her books include John Calvin on the Diaconate and Liturgical Almsgiving (Droz, 1984), and Elders and the Plural Ministry (Droz, 1988).
All those interested in Christian history, especially Reformation history and theology, women's studies, social history and popular culture, the history of religious toleration, and early modern German language.