It’s the 500th anniversary of the German Reformation, and there is no shortage of Protestant-themed books, conferences, and sermon series. While the focus of many messages has been on Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Cranmer, Rebecca VanDoodewaard focuses on another cast of history-altering characters: Reformation women.
In Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth, VanDoodewaard writes about twelve Christian ministers who were not only influential believers but also intellectual ministers who led a lifestyle of dedicated service. From Anna Reinhard who stood alongside her husband Ulrich Zwingli, to Duchess Renee of Ferrara who helped usher Protestantism into Italy, there are many stories to read about these 16th century Reformation heroines.
The book makes good use of various sources, though in several sections the prose is weakened by short, clipped sentences and some hard-to-follow trains of thought. There is certainly an anti-Roman Catholic subtext in some sections of the book, one of which seems to unfairly imply a Roman Catholic disdain for Holy Scripture. All in all, Reformation Women tells the story of these Protestant wonder women in an informative and helpful way, guiding readers to remember the many actors—not just Luther!—who paved the Church’s way back to sola