Cover for EDWARDS: Gender and the Social Gospel. Click for larger image

Gender and the Social Gospel

The first book devoted to the study of gender in the social gospel movement in North America

This collection of essays examines the central, yet often overlooked, role played by women in the formation of the social gospel movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

A practical theological response to the stark realities of poverty and injustice prevalent in turn-of-the-century America, the social gospel movement sought to apply the teachings of Jesus and the message of Christian salvation to society by striving to improve the lives of the impoverished and the disenfranchised. The contributors to this volume set out to broaden our understanding of this radical movement by examining the lives of some of its passionate and vibrant female participants and the ways in which their involvement expanded and enriched the scope of its activity.

In addition to examining the lives of individual women, the essays in Gender and the Social Gospel contain broader analyses of the gender and racial issues that have caused the histories of movements such as the social gospel to be viewed almost exclusively in terms of their male, European-American, intellectual participants at the expense of the women, African Americans, and Canadians whose contributions were just as worthy of attention.


"A watershed in nineteenth- and twentieth-century religious studies. Edwards and Gifford have compiled a richly documented collection that throws light on many dark areas in received understandings of the social gospel movement, most of all by reinforcing the fact that women were there."--Janet Larson, author of Dickens and the Broken Scripture and essays on Victorian women's social and biblical interpretation


Wendy J. Deichmann Edwards is associate director and associate professor of history and theology at United Theological Seminary in Buffalo, N.Y., and the author of a number of articles appearing in journals and edited collections. Carolyn DeSwarte Gifford is a research associate in the gender studies program at Northwestern University. She is the author of numerous articles on American women's religious experience and reform activity and is the editor of Writing Out My Heart: Selections from the Journal of Frances E. Willard, 1855-96.

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