Elisabeth’s Manly Courage: Testimonials and Songs of Martyred Anabaptist Women in the Low Countries. Edited and Translated by Hermina Joldersma and Louis Grijp.ISBN 0-87462-705-2. ©2001. 198 pp. Paper. $20. Women in the Reformation Seris #3

Among the most moving writings of the Reformation in the sixteenth-century Low Countries are the final words of Anabaptists condemned to death for their faith. Through a series of circumstances we have a significant body of such writings by women: Anabaptists were the most severely persecuted among Protestant groups, Anabaptist women made up a comparatively high proportion of those martyred, and Anabaptists attached great importance to preserving the memory of the martyred, regardless of gender, through the written word.

As these women recount the details of arguments with their inquisitors, their feelings during turbulent months in prison, their love for their children, husbands, parents, and friends, their ecstasy at having been found worthy to die for their faith, one cannot help but be moved, and impressed, by their voices and their experiences. Their writings reveal them to be articulate and courageous individuals who show not only “manly courage” but the kind of personal courage which is rooted in a self-assurance uncommon for women, one based on taking personal responsibility for the most important matter in their lives, their own salvation.



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