The Jesuitesses in the bookshop: Catholic laywomen's participation in the Dutch book trade, 1650-1750

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Abstract

The institutional Catholic Church in seventeenth-century Amsterdam relied on the work of inspired women who lived under an informal religious rule and called themselves ‘spiritual daughters’. Once the States of Holland banned all public exercise of Catholicism, spiritual daughters leveraged the ambiguity of their religious status to pursue unique roles in their communities as catechists, booksellers and enthusiastic consumers of print. However, their lack of a formal order caused consternation among their Catholic confessors. It also disturbed Reformed authorities in their communities, who branded them ‘Jesuitesses’. Whilst many scholars have documented this tension between inspired daughter and institutional critique, it has yet to be contextualized fully within the literary culture of the Dutch Republic. This article suggests that due to the de-institutionalized status of the spiritual daughters and the discursive print culture that surrounded them, public criticism replaced direct censure by Catholic and Reformed authorities as the primary impediment to their inspired work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163 - 184
Number of pages22
JournalStudies in Church History
Volume57
Early online date21 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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