The Primacy and Unity of Scripture in the Writings of Early Protestant Women

What if we included the writings of women, not because of peculiarity or controversy, but because they represent key interpretive ideas?
May 20, 2022 | Amanda Hackney

Over at Theology with Dr. AM Hackney, today's episode is in collaboration with the Women and Theology Research Database.  If you’re interested in current discussions about recovering interpretive principles from the reformation era, the early Protestant theology of sola scriptura, and women theologians, this episode is for you.

In the inaugural podcast, I asked the question of how and why we should include women’s theological writings in the history of theology. One of the key sets of questions that I posed was this:

What if we included women’s exegetical and interpretive work precisely because of how mainstream and ordinary they are? What if we included the writings of women, not because of peculiarity or controversy, but because they represent key interpretive ideas?


In this episode, I consider these questions more fully. Using excerpts from the writings of Argula von Grumbach, a Lutheran pamphleteer, Lady Eleanor Davies, an Anglican prophet, and Lucy Hutchinson, a Puritan poet, I explore how the writings of laypeople, specifically lay women, are perfect for inclusion in the study of, and teaching on, the theology of Scripture in the Reformation period because they succinctly demonstrate early Protestantism’s emphasis on the primacy and unity of Scripture in a way that can be easily excerpted and anthologized.

For each of these women, Scripture was the focal point of their writing, and their writing reflects Argula von Grumbach’s declaration that “the word of God is constantly before my eyes, reminding me of my obligation to confess Christ, an obligation from which neither man nor woman is excluded.”[1]



[1] Quoted in Paul A. Russell, Lay Theology in the Reformation: Popular Pamphleteers in Southwest Germany 1521-1525 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 192.

Looking for More Resources? Check out:

Argula von Grumbach

Lady Eleanor Davies

Lucy Hutchinson

Women Writers in the Reformation Era