Portland State University. Department of History
Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.) in History
1 online resource (167 p.)
Puritan women -- Religious life -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- 17th century, Halfway covenant, Patriarchy -- New England -- 17th century
Although seventeenth-century New England has been one of the most heavily studied subjects in American history, women's lived experience of Puritan church membership has been incompletely understood. Histories of New England's Puritan churches have often assumed membership to have had universal implications, and studies of New England women either have focused on dissenting women or have neglected women's religious lives altogether despite the centrality of religion to the structure of New England society and culture.
This thesis uses pamphlets, sermons, and church records to demonstrate that women's church membership in Massachusetts's Puritan churches differed from men's because women were prohibited from speaking in church or from voting in church government. Despite the Puritan emphasis on spiritual equality, women experienced a modified form of membership stemming from their subordinate place in the social hierarchy.
Johnson, Melissa Ann, "Subordinate saints : women and the founding of Third Church, Boston, 1669-1674" (2009). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 3662.