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Dogmen- und Theologiegeschichte
Zumholz, Maria Anna
»Das Weib soll nicht gelehrt seyn«. Konfessionell geprägte Frauenbilder, Frauenbildung und weibliche Lebensentwürfe – von der Reformation bis zum frühen 20. Jahrhundert. Eine Fallanalyse am regionalen Beispiel der Grafschaft Oldenburg und des Niederstifts Münster, seit 1803 Herzogtum Oldenburg.
Münster: Aschendorff Verlag 2015. 512 S. m. Abb. Geb. EUR 29,80. ISBN 978-3-402-13161-9.
This book by the Trier historian, Maria Anna Zumholz, is beautifully presented. Among its attractive features are fascinating illustrations, including remarkable fullpage photographs of 14 Cloppenburg women in the early 20th century. Most illuminating are the statistical tables on the provision of teacher training and hospitals in the Catholic South of Oldenburg, and tables comparing school attendance, confessional identity, and single or married status with that in the Protestant North. Sensibly the study termi-nates in 1933, the beginning of the NS era, though there is a certain carry over to the post-war period. An impressive wealth of new information is offered, based on primary sources, and on a wide range of secondary reading.
A comparison of the Catholic South and the Protestant North of Oldenburg demonstrates, Z. believes, that the alleged Bildungsdefizit of Catholic laity, especially women, is certainly not applicable in this region. Indeed the opposite is the case. The Catholic view of women, which encouraged women teachers for the education of girls, was »deutlich emanzipierter« (29). Luther’s influence encouraged a deeply engrained hostility to women’s activity beyond the domestic sphere, while Protestantism’s negative anthropology and hostility to good works inhibited social engagement. Catholic Orders, by comparison not only offered unmarried women caritative, pedagogical and missionary roles, but provided stimulation and support to the Catholic milieu right down to the village level. Where a deficit existed it was due not to confessional but to socio-economic factors.
The Ursulines and the Augustiner Chorfrauen are portrayed as effective agents in the Counter Reformation of »Konfessionalisierung im Sinne einer Verchristlichung der Gesamtgesellschaft« (48). Their ideals of the provision of education for the poor were then seminal for the parochial schools set up by the reforming Münster Bishop, Christoph Bernhard von Galen (1650–1678). Women teachers, some of them secular, taught the girls. »Mit der Unterrichtung von Mädchen durch Lehrerinnen wurde ein Berufszweig für Frauen etabliert.« (110)
In the Enlightenment period, Franz Friedrich Wilhelm, Freiherr von Fürstenberg, the General Vicar (1762–1784), continued this emphasis on knowledge as the basis of faith by establishing a seminary for priests, a normal school for teachers and the University of Münster. A new ideal emerged of »Lehrerin als Laienseelsorgerin« (113), while a learned circle gathered from 1779 to 1806 around Princess Amalie von Gallitzin in Münster, with contacts to Hamann, Lavater, Goethe, Herder, and Schiller. In the Protestant North, where Pietists and Aufklärer frequently clashed, the Literarische Damen-Gesellschaft in Oldenburg (1797–1804) made provi-sion only for the bourgeois élite.
The tireless advocacy in the town of Oldenburg in the latter decades of 19th century of the women’s rights activist, Helene Lange, did commend the role of mothers in the education of the child, »die geistige Mütterlichkeit«, but women teachers in the Liberal Protestant tradition such as Henny Böger still had to train in Hannover or Berlin. To challenge traditional Lutheran resistance to women taking up a career Böger established the Verein Oldenburger Lehrerinnen. By 1912 women had gained admittance to the higher classes of the Gymnasium in Oldenburg while the upheaval of the First World War eased the way for women to move out of the domestic sphere. A Volkshochschule catering for women was estab-lished in 1926.
In the Catholic South the key role in promoting the education of girls was played by the Genossenschaft der Schwestern Unserer Lieben Frau, which developed to meet the challenge of the secularisation of the Orders in 1803 and then of the Kulturkampf. By 1924 more than 4,000 girls were being educated by them, their teaching extending from the kindergarten phase right through to the Gymnasium in Vechta. Joseph Mausbach, Professor of Moral Theology in Münster from 1892, supported women’s suffrage and argued for »eine organische Einfügung neuer, weiblicher Kulturelemente in das männlich geleitete Gesellschaftsleben« (238).
The lives of Wilhelmine Janssen and Elisabeth Denis are then chosen to illustrate the role of Catholic women in the 20th century Frauenbewegung. With her medical training behind her Janssen specialised in public health issues, was in touch with Erich Klausener and Karl Sonnenschein, and was active in various women’s organisations such as the Hildegardis-Verein zur Unterstützung des Frauenstudiums. Whether as teacher, lawyer, doctor or entrepreneur women, she contended, offered a more holistic approach to their vocation than men. Elisabeth Denis was active in the so-called Mädchenschutzvereine, furthering the professionalisation of the carers, promoting »Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe« among unemployed and migrant women. She kept a certain distance from the Catholic hierarchy. Comprehensive statistics then delineate the participa-tion of women teachers and girls in higher schools, further education centres and private schools in the towns and villages of the Herzogtum Oldenburg around 1900.
A final section focuses on how confessional identity influenced openings for careers for women. One obvious difference was in attitudes to celibacy. 50 % of women in the Protestant area were married by the age of 30, compared with 38 % in the Catholic South. From the first half of the 19th century a significant number of women in the Oldenburg Münsterland, some 10 %, entered Catholic Orders or became secular teachers. The number of Protestant women on the other hand who became deaconesses or teachers was relatively small.
The detailed research, right down to village level, is the great strength of this book. It will nudge us to review sweeping asser-tions about a »katholisches Bildungsdefizit«. More contestable may be parts of the interpretative framework. Luther’s influence is seen as overwhelmingly negative for women. Z. concludes that the Reformation proved itself to be »in weiten Teilen als eine Verlustgeschichte für Frauen« (241). On the other hand: »Positiv auf das Frauenbild wirkte sich auch der katholische Glauben an die Werkfrömmigkeit aus, denn über gute Werke konnten Frauen sich schon auf Erden als die besseren Menschen erweisen.«