In 1895, a committee of 26 women led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote and published “The Woman’s Bible.” This was a challenge to the religious orthodoxy who often used the Bible to prove that women should be subservient to men. 

Even by today’s standards, this type of project would be controversial. Back then, it was extreme radicalism. Many conservative suffragists distanced themselves from Stanton. Despite being a past president of the NAWSA, she is no longer invited to sit on stage at conventions or events.

Conversely, many of the early suffragists were female preachers and embraced the standard Bible. Lucitia Mott used passages from the Bible to show women were equal in the eyes of God (Episode 9). She countered that "It is not Christianity, but priestcraft that has subjected woman as we find her.” Mott was an expert at using Scripture to disarm her opponents.

Lucy Stone felt the male-dominate interpretations could be due to faulty translations and learned Latin and Greek so she could read the original texts and find more balance representations of the sexes.

Stanton appreciated the teaching of Jesus and that religion often led people to become active in social reform, however, she herself never found peace with religion since she never found one where men and women were viewed as equals. 

Notable women on the committee who wrote the “Women’s Bible” were:
Augusta Jane Chapin (Ordained Minister)
Lillie Devereux Blake (Author and Social Reformer)
Matilda Joslyn Gage (Author, Abolitionist, Native Rights Advocate)
Olympia Brown (1st Ordained Female Minister in the USA)
Alexandra Gripenberg (Newspaper Publisher, Leader of the Suffrage Movement in Finland)
Ursula Mellor Bright (British Suffragette who focused on the Rights of Married Women)
Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford (Ordained Minister)
Clara Bewick Colby (British-American Lecturer, Newspaper Publisher, Author)
Irma von Troll-Borostyáni (Journalist and Leader of the Suffrage Movement in Austria). 

This week’s song pick:
“Rebel Girl” by (punk band) Bikini Kill
#SuffragetteCity100 #SufferingForSuffrage

Episode 44 Sources:

Full text of “The Woman’s Bible” free online
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