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Lestonnac, Jeanne de (Saint)

(194 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (1536, Bordeaux – Feb 2, 1640, Bordeaux). In the milieu of French post-Tridentine Catholicism, Lestonnac, who had been given a Calvinist upbringing by her mother, created a new model of connecting cloistered monastic life and pedagogical work with girls. The niece of the philosopher M. de Montaigne, she married Gaston de Montferrat (Montferrand) in 1573 and gave birth to seven children. Widowed in 1597, she founded in 1605/1606 in Bordeaux the “Filles (or Compagnie) de Notre Dame,…

Dutoit, Jean-Philippe

(177 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (Sep 27, 1721, Moudon – Jan 21, 1791, Lausanne); Jean-Philippe Dutoit-Membrini. After studying theology, Dutoit became ¶ active in Lausanne as a Reformed pastor, but abandoned this post after a few weeks. Illness and his engagement with the writings of the mystic J.M. de la Motte Guyon led him to a reclusive lifestyle wherein he could devote himself entirely to his work as an author. Among his significant …

Guyon, Jeanne Marie

(467 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (neé Bouvier de la Motte; Apr 13, 1648, Montargis, France – Jun 9, 1717, Blois, France). Both Guyon's writings and her way of life deepened the mystical doctrine concerning immersion in God, self-denial, and serenity (Mysticism: III). The formation of the mystical heritage under early modern conditions prepared the ground for a broad reception history that reached into the 19th century. Guyon reflected on the development of her life as a mystic and author beyond all preformed models in her autobiography La vie. Although Guyon maintained contact with many in rel…

Marillac, Louise de, Saint

(202 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (Aug 12, 1592, near Paris – Mar 15, 1660, Paris). In 1633 Marillac and Vincent de Paul founded the Filles de la Charité in Paris, a community of women who took only simple vows and were therefore not required to be enclosed like women in monastic orders. This enabled them to be active in the care of the poor, the sick, orphans, and prisoners (they were later called Merciful Sisters [Merciful ¶ Brother and Sisters] or Vincentian Sisters). From 1613 to 1625, Marillac had been married to Antoine Le Gras and bore a son. As a widow, inspired by Francis of …

Chantal, Jane Frances of

(195 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (Jeanne-Françoise Frémyot de) (Jan 23, 1572, Dijon – Dec 13, 1641, Moulins). Canonized in 1767. Chantal, a devout Catholic, deliberately remained a widow after the death of her husband Christophe de Rabutin, Baron de Chantal, seeking an explicit form of religious life. Francis de Sales became her spiritual director. In 1610, she founded ¶ the “Ordo de Visitatione Beatae Mariae Virginis” (Salesian Sisters) in Francis's episcopal see Annecy; the order flourished rapidly under her leadership. Except for her extensiv…

Lancelot, Claude

(192 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (1615, Paris – Apr 15, 1695, Quimperlé, Département Finistère, France). Lancelot was one of the men who settled as solitaries near the Parisian Cistercian Abbey of Port-Royal. The group, known as the Messieurs de Port-Royal, included prominent members of the Arnauld family; they were supporters of Jansenism and published works on theology, philosophy, and education. They also devoted themselves to practical instruction in schools they operated. It was in this context that Lancelot…

Bourignon, Antoinette

(171 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (Jan 13, 1616, Ryssel, Lille – Oct 30, 1680, Franeker) was born a Catholic. She moved to Amsterdam in 1667 and had contact with Mennonites, Quakers, Labadists (J. de Labadie) and isolated figures such as J.A. Comenius and C. Hoburg. Between 1671 and 1676, she attempted from Schleswig-Holstein to set up a communi…

Neander, Joachim

(438 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (1650, Bremen – May 31, 1680, Bremen). Neander began his studies of Reformation theology in Bremen. In worship led by T. Undereyck he came into contact with Pietistic ideas (Pietism). In 1671, he accompanied the sons of a merchant family to their studies in Heidelberg as tutor. It is very probable that he made contact with Lutheran Pietists in Frankfurt. In 1674, Neander obtained his first post through the Reformed congregation in Düsseldorf, where he became rector of the Latin sc…

Gersdorf, Henriette Katharina von

(179 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (baroness; née von Friesen; Oct 6, 1648, Sulzbach – Mar 6, 1726, Grosshennersdorf). Gersdorf received a thorough education and was considered a scholar. In 1672 she married Nikolaus von Gersdorf (1629–1702), who ended his career as head of the privy council of Electoral Saxony and governor of Upper Lusatia. She gave birth to 13 children and assumed the responsibilty for the upbringing of her grandson N. von Zinzendorf. She strongly supported the pietistic goals of P.J. Spener and …


(3,667 words)

Author(s): Osiek, Carolyn | Albrecht, Ruth | Zentgraf, Martin | Turre, Reinhard | Tiling, Peter v. | Et al.
[German Version] I. New Testament – II. Church History – III. Dogmatics – IV. Practical Theology – V. Church Law – VI. Catholic Church – VII. Orthodox Church I. New Testament Neither “deaconess” nor “diaconate” is an appropriate term for the NT era, and “deacon” should not be used as an exact translation of διάκονος/ diákonos, since the three terms only later underwent an institutionalization that did not exist in NT times. The occurrence of the terminology in the NT can be differentiate…


(11,554 words)

Author(s): Heller, Birgit | Bird, Phyllis A. | Wischmeyer, Oda | Ehrenschwendtner, Marie-Luise | Albrecht, Ruth | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Traditionally research on religion has rarely dealt with women. Exceptions include Moriz Winternitz ( Die Frau in den indischen Religionen, 1915–1916) and F. Heiler ( Die Frau in den Religionen der Menschheit, 1977). In the 1970s, gender studies introduced a broad paradigm shift, which also affected religious studies. The principle that has guided this change from the traditional approach is that homo religiosus is not coincident with vir religiosus but equally has to include femina religiosa. The various questions can be assigned to th…