Argula von Grumbach: A Woman before her Time





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Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books


In the 16th century, women were expected not to have opinions on theology. One who did not adhere to this philosophy was Bavarian noblewoman, Argula von Grumbach (1492-c.1555). Described by Peter Matheson as the ‘first woman publicist’, Argula challenged scholars, the Church, and lawmakers in eight published pamphlets. She corresponded with Frederik the Wise, Spalatin, and Luther, who described her as a ‘special instrument of Christ’s work’. None of the educational or ecclesiastical institutions she wrote to ever replied to her personally but they did call her names: ‘silly bag’, ‘female devil’, and ‘heretical bitch’. Her husband, who was still faithful to the ‘Old Church’, lost his administrative office because of her writings, and was told to control ‘his woman’. Clearly, Argula made the established patriarchy feel incredibly uncomfortable.


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Peter Matheson, “Argula von Grumbach: A Woman before her Time,” | OUR Heritage, accessed September 26, 2023,