About the Forgetting Church History: The Cost for Women course
History forgets much more than it remembers, and what it remembers is often what people have chosen to preserve. Medieval historian and evangelical Christian, Dr Beth Alison Barr contends that evangelical ignorance about both the biblical and medieval world has paved the way for evangelical support of complementarianism.
It seems no accident that some of the loudest American voices against female leadership come from members of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), which has included women in only 2% of its history articles and conference papers either published in its journal or delivered at a conference between 1988-2018.
As Chesna Hinkley described in her 2018 article for the Christians for Biblical Equality special-issue journal Eyes to See and Ears to Hear, “In contrast to the mere 29 articles, book reviews, and conference presentations on women in the whole history of the church, over the same period I counted 137 articles on Jonathan Edwards alone.”
Could it be that one reason American evangelicals disdain female leadership is simply because they have forgotten women’s history? This workshop explores the extent of American evangelical amnesia about medieval history—focusing specifically on the nature of God, the power of female faith, and the reasons evangelicals forgot this history. This course will show how evangelical amnesia has come at a great cost for not only women’s leadership in the modern church but also for human dignity.
About the tutor
Beth Allison Barr is Professor of History and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Baylor University. She is a medieval women’s historian and has been researching medieval sermons and pastoral care for almost twenty years. She is the author of several articles and books, including The Pastoral Care of Women in Late Medieval England and the recent bestseller The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth.
Her scholarship has been featured by Religion News Service, the Washington Post, Christianity Today, and The New Yorker, and she is a regular contributor to the popular religious history blog The Anxious Bench on Patheos.