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Ignorance is the mother of devotion."--Jeremy Taylor.

THE following letters and comments are in answer to the questions:

1. Have the teachings of the Bible advanced or retarded the emancipation of women?

2. Have they dignified or degraded the Mothers of the Race?

DEAR MRS. STANTON:--I believe, as you said in your birthday address, that "women ought to demand that the Canon law, the Mosaic code, the Scriptures, prayer-books and liturgies be purged of all invidious distinctions of sex, of all false teaching as to woman's origin, character and destiny." I believe that the Bible needs explanation and comment on many statements therein which tend to degrade woman. Christ taught the equality of the sexes, and Paul said: There is neither male nor female; ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Hence I welcome "The Woman's Bible" as a needed commentary in regard to woman's position.


If the suggestions and teachings of the various books of our Bible, concerning women, are compared with the times in which

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severally they probably were written, in general they are certainly in advance of most contemporary opinion. The hurtful blunder of later eras has been the setting up of early, cruder standards touching the relations of men and of women, as moulding influences and guides to broader civilizations. They cannot be authoritative.

I believe that the Bible's Golden Rule has been the real substratum of all religions, when fairly applied from their own point of view. But the broader and more discriminating applications of the rule theoretically both to men and to women in every relation of life have made, and necessarily must have made, most of the earlier practical regulations and teachings, beneficent perhaps in their day, pernicious in ours when regarded as still authoritative. Interpreted by its fundamental principles, in the light of its time-not in the fast increasing light of ours, which, as I understand it, is your searchlight and that of your collaborators--I have very little quarrel with the Bible. But neither have I much quarrel with Buddhism, with Paganism in general, or with any serious religious cult, tested in the same way.

Turn on the light and so change the point of view. But criticism of ancient creeds, literatures or morals, to be entirely fair and just. must be comparative criticism. To be broadly comparative it must virtually include contemporary and intermediate as well as existing creeds, literatures or morals. Very sincerely yours,


Like the shield which was gold on one side and silver on the other, the Bible has two sides or aspects. As travellers approaching the shield from opposite directions quarrelled over its nature because each saw only that side which he had approached, people have differed in their view of the Bible and its influence upon mankind because only one aspect has been visible to them.

Acceptance of the Bible literally tends to retard the development of both man and woman, and consequently the establishment

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of their highest and best relation to each other, a relation upon which depends their usefulness to the community. Both the law of Moses and the teachings of Paul, thus considered, belittle woman more than they exalt her. While words of praise and promises of future place and power are not altogether lacking, this is the impression left upon the mind of the reader who is not able to pass around to the other side and gain another view.

Exoterically considered, the Bible offers less of the ethical and the spiritual than of the physical possibilities of woman as the complement to man; but esoterically considered, it is found to exact the spiritual possibilities above the rest-above even the like possibilities of the man. The Bible has been, and will continue to be, a stumbling-block in the way of development of inherent resources, consequently of the truest civilization, in proportion to the strength of its exoteric aspect with the people. It will cease to be a stumbling block and become a powerful impetus in the desired direction instead, when its inner meaning becomes revelator, companion and friend.

In the literal rendering of the Bible, woman appears first and above all as man's subordinate; but this inner meaning shows her first and above all as the individual equal with him, and afterward his complement, or what she is able to be for him. Portrayed as the mother of the Saviour of the world, one woman is exalted above all women when only physical motherhood is seen; and the consequence has been that one woman has been worshiped and the sex has been crucified. This one woman has been lifted above her place; and all women have fallen correspondingly below it.

Not till "the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world" shall pierce with its rays the darkness of the sensuous nature, will woman's spiritual motherhood for the race, be discerned as the way of its redemption from that darkness and its consequences. As that light is uncovered in individual souls the inner meaning of the Bible will appear, woman's nature as the individual and her true relativity to man be seen. Then the mistakes which have been ignorantly made will be rectified, because both sides of the shield will be seen. Men and women will clasp hands as comrades with a common destiny; religion and science will each reveal

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their destiny and prove that truth which the Bible even exoterically declares that "the woman is the glory of the man."


It is requested that I shall answer two questions:

1. Has the Bible advanced or retarded woman's emancipation?

2. Has it elevated or degraded the Mothers of the Race?

If by "emancipation" is meant the social, legal and political position of women, and if by the "Bible" the authorized version of the Old Testament, it would be difficult to prove that the opponents of that emancipation have not derived their narrow views from many passages in the Bible. This, however, applies only to the exoteric interpretation, the weak points of which have been so mercilessly exposed in Part I. of "The Woman's Bible."

The Divine wisdom whose occult truths form the basis of Judaism, of Christianity and of all other religions, has nothing to do with the subjection of sex: and to be fair we must confess that there are many texts in the exoteric version which proclaim the equality of woman, notably the first chapter of Genesis. I believe that H. P. Blavatsky was right when she said of the Bible: "It is a grand volume, a masterpiece composed of clever, ingenious fables, containing great verities; but it reveals the latter only to those who, like the Initiates, have a key to its inner meaning; a tale sublime in its morality and didactics truly--still a tale and an allegory; a repertory of invented personages in its older Jewish portions, and of dark sayings and parables in its later additions, and thus quite misleading to any one ignorant of its esotericism."

This being the case, the discussion which "The Woman's Bible" raises is to my judgment somewhat futile. It is said that from Genesis to Revelation the Bible degrades woman. Does it not, as it stands, equally in many passages degrade the conception of the Supreme Being? Many noble and Divine truths have been utterly degraded by the coarse fallacies of men. All this is so sure to be made clear in the near future that I am doubtful of the wisdom of

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laying too much stress on passages whose meaning is entirely misunderstood by the vast majority of Christians.

Slowly we see a light breaking. When the dawn comes we shall have a revision of the Bible on very different lines from any yet attempted. In the meantime may we not ask, Is there any curse or crime which has not appealed to the Bible for support? Polygamy, capital punishment, slavery and war have all done so. Why not the subjection of women? Let us hold fast that which is good in the Bible and the rest will modify itself in the future, as it has done in the past, to the needs of humanity and the advance of knowledge.

        London, England.


MRS. ELIZABETH CADY STANTON:--Dear Madam: I have received your letter and the specimen of "The Woman's Bible" which you have sent me. I have not had time to examine it minutely; but I have been aware of your purpose from the beginning. I am afraid that I cannot say anything which you will wish to print; for I look upon the Bible very differently from what you do.

I have no superstitious reverence for it, but hold it in high regard as a valuable collection of very old literature well representing the thought and the life of a great, earnest people at different periods of their career. As such, it is full of precious lessons of wisdom and of sweet and beautiful poetry. I certainly could not endorse Mr. White's statement; for I have very recently in public lectures spoken of the great value of this collection as one of the best educators of the common people in Christendom generally, and especially in Scotland and the United States. I should say the same, so far as my knowledge extends, of the Koran and other so-called sacred books.

That the superstitious worship of the Bible as a direct revelation from God, and the practice of using what is merely the history of human life as authority for human action now, or as prophecy, has produced or strengthened great evils in the world I readily admit,

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and I welcome all the thorough and searching criticism which can be applied to the Bible, but nothing is gained by exaggeration. There are noble examples of woman in the Old Testament of the heroic type, as in the New Testament of the tender and loving one.

The whole subject of the relations of the sexes is a deep and difficult one; and the ages have been struggling with it. That woman is handicapped by peculiarities of physical structure seems evident; and according to the character of the age these are more or less unfavorable. Civilization in many instances has emphasized and increased them to her great disadvantage; but it is only by making her limitations her powers that the balance can be restored, and in an age of more intellectual and spiritual superiority this will come to pass. I read this in the development of woman's life in education, in industry and in self-support.

I have tried to express my views frankly, although I cannot fully illustrate them in a brief letter, which is all I have time for at present. Your own active mind will follow out whatever there is of value in my thought. Yours very respectfully,

        Jamaica Plain, Mass.


The Bible--both the books of the Old Testament and of the New, express the views in regard to woman which prevailed when those books were written. The conception in regard to woman was that she was naturally man's inferior, that her position should be one of subordination, that she should have no will of her own, except as it was in accord with that of her father, husband, or master.

The enlightened portions of the world have gradually been outgrowing these ideas. This progress has constantly been opposed by the influence of Bible teachings on the subject. The influence of the Bible against the elevation of woman, like its influence in favor of slavery, has been great because of the infallibility and the Divine authority with which the teachings of the Bible have been invested. If the Bible had, like other books, been judged by its

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actual merits, in the light of reason and common sense, its teachings about woman would have had no authoritative weight; but when millions have for centuries been brought up to believe that the Bible is an inspired and infallible revelation from God, its influence has been mischievous in a thousand ways.

A collection of books which teaches, as from God, that man was made first for the glory of God, and woman for man simply; that woman was first to sin, and therefore should be in submission to man; that motherhood implies moral impurity and requires a sin offering (twice as much in the case of a female as a male child), must have continued to keep woman in a degraded condition just in proportion as such ideas have been believed to be true and inspired by God.

The advancement of woman throughout Christendom has been going on only where these doctrines have been outgrown or modified through the influence of science, of skepticism, and of liberal thought generally. That the Bible does teach that woman's position should be one of subordination and submission to man, and that through her first came sin into the world, is indisputable; and I do not see how such teachings, believed to be direct from God, can be accepted without retarding woman's progress. Mr. Lecky and others have shown historically that these Oriental conceptions have distinctly degraded woman wherever they have prevailed.

What we should naturally expect to have resulted from these conceptions is shown by experience actually to have been the result of such teachings, enforced by the authority of Moses and of St. Paul.

The idea of woman's equality with man in all natural rights and opportunities finds no support in the Bible. The doctrine that there is neither male nor female, neither bond nor free, in Christ Jesus, had no practical application to social conditions. It left the slave in chains, and the woman in fetters. Where the old theological dogmas respecting woman are the least impaired, woman's condition is the least hopeful. Where the authority of reason is in the ascendant, or where it is superseding the authority of book revelations, of creeds and of churches, woman's position is the most advanced,

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her rights are the most completely recognized, her opportunities for progress the most fully allowed, and her character the most fully developed.


A solution, in accordance with the fundamental laws of ethics, of the woman question, which is a part of the great social question, can be arrived at only by a transformation of the social order of things, made in conformity with the principle of equal liberty and equal justice to each and every one.

As a necessary proposition to let this principle be universally recognized, we must designate the philosophical view of the world, based upon scientific Materialism, which former, penetrated by the conviction that the natural doctrine of evolution also retains its validity with regard to the mental, vital principles of humanity, believes in the social, political and ethical evolution of human society, from which progressive evolution the equal claim to all social relations of the female and the male halves of humanity are inseparable.

As the firmest enemy of modern ethics based upon scientific knowledge of natural laws, there stands the Christian religion, the outspring of the Jewish one, which former, resting upon the principle of the necessary subordination of woman to man, in consequence thereof energetically combats the attempts for equal rights to both sexes, and, as far as lies in its power, ever will and must combat the same.

To the influence of the Christian Church upon social conditions we must in the first instance ascribe that, notwithstanding all advances of culture, the mental development of the female sex has been systematically kept back through all these tens of centuries. And not only for the reason that the Christian religion considers woman as a creature inferior to man, owing to the legendary eating of the apple by Eve ("Satan," says St. Augustine, "considered the man to be less credulous and approachable"), but also-and possibly foremost of all-for the reason that the Christian Church knows very well that in woman, intellectually undeveloped, and therefore

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easy to be led, and ready to lend a willing car to priestly promptings, it possesses its most powerful ally, and knows that it would lose that powerful support as soon as women, by a thorough mental training, by an elevating education adapted to their condition of mind and of fortune, would be taken away from clerical influences.

As a contrast to the lying statement, which falsifies the historical facts, that the Christian religion has raised the condition of woman, the Christian Church offers to woman nothing but serfdom. And it is the first duty of those women who combat for right and liberty to unite in the fight against religious obscurity, against the powers of darkness and the suppression resting on the Church, that revolution of the mind for which the most elevated thinkers of all time have suffered and fought, and to whose deeds alone we owe all advances in the mental freeing of humanity and all accomplishments of the awakening consciousness of justice.

        Vienna, Austria.


MY DEAR MRS. STANTON:--I thank you very much for the book which I have received and shall consider with interest. I respond at once and heartily to the inquiry with which you have honored me. I consider the Bible the most wonderful record of the evolution of spiritual life which our race possesses. The sympathetic justice displayed by the Christ when he said, "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone," will be the inspiration of the future for man and for woman alike.

With cordial remembrance of the past and hope for the future,

I am                                            Sincerely yours,
           Hastings, London, England.                     ELIZABETH BLACKWELL.

Since it is accepted that the status of woman is the gauge of civilization, this is the burning question which now presents itself to Christendom. If the Bible had elevated woman to her present

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status, it would seem that the fact could be demonstrated beyond question; yet to-day the whole Christian world is on the defensive, trying to prove the validity of this claim. Despite the opposition of Bible teaching, woman has secured the right to education, to speak and to print her thoughts; therefore her answer to these questions will decide the fate of Christian civilization.

In Genesis the Bible strikes the key-note of woman's inferiority and subjection; and the note rings true through every accepted and rejected book which has ever constituted the Bible. In the face of this fact, the supreme effort of the Christian Church has been to inculcate the idea that Christianity alone has elevated woman, and that all other religions have degraded and enslaved her. It has feared nothing so much as to face the truth.

Women have but to read the Bible and the history of Christianity in conjunction with the sacred books and the histories of other religions to discover the falsity of this claim, and that the Bible cannot stand the light of truth. The Bible estimate of woman is summed up in the words of the president of a leading theological seminary when he exclaimed to his students, "My Bible commands the subjection of women forever."

In an address to the graduating class of a woman's college in England, Mr. Gladstone, in awarding the diplomas, said: "Young women, you who belong to the favored half of the human race, enormous changes have taken place in your positions as members of society. It is almost terrible to look back upon the state of women sixty years ago, upon the manner in which they were viewed by the law, and the scanty provision made for their welfare, and the gross injustice, the flagrant injustice, the shameful injustice, to which in certain particulars they were subjected. Great changes are taking place, and greater are impending." For centuries England has been the light of the Christian world; yet what an indictment is this against Christian England by the greatest living defender of the Bible and the Christian religion.

This one statement of Mr. Gladstone at once refutes the claim that the Bible has elevated woman, and confirms the idea of the president of the theological seminary. Add to these declarations

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the true condition of women to-day, and the testimony that the Bible bears against itself, and the falsity of the claim that it has elevated woman is at once established. If Mr. Gladstone acknowledges the "gross, flagrant and shameful injustice" to woman sixty years ago in Christian England, what can be said of woman's condition six hundred, or sixteen hundred years ago, when the Bible held the greatest sway over the human mind and Christianity was at the zenith of its power, when it was denied that woman has a soul, when she was bought and sold as the cattle of the field, robbed of her name, her children, her property, and "elevated" (?) on the gibbet of infamy, and on the high altar of lust by the decree of the Christian priesthood?

If it can be proven that during the last thousand years the Christian clergy, with the Bible in their hands, have pointed out or attempted to remove one single cruelty or wrong which women have suffered, now is the opportune time to furnish such proof. Now, to-day, when woman herself is rising in her mental majesty, and when her wrongs are being righted, Christianity is dead in the strongest brains and the most heroic hearts of Europe and of America; and now, when the myth and the miracle of Bible teaching have lost their hold on the minds of people, this is the very age when the position of woman is more exalted than it has ever been since Chrisianity {sic} began.

If even the claim that the Bible has elevated woman to her present status were true, when the light is turned on to the social, domestic and religious life of the Christian world, this achievement reflects no credit on Bible teaching. After nineteen hundred years no woman's thought has ever been incorporated into the ecclesiastical or civil code of any Christian land.

Monogamic marriage is the strongest institution of the Christian system; yet all the men of the Old Testament were polygamists; and Christ and Paul, the central figures of the New Testament, were celibates and condemned marriage by both precept and example. In Christian lands monogamy is strictly demanded of women; but bigamy, trigamy, and polygamy are in reality practised by men as one of the methods of elevating women, Largely, the majority of

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men have one legal wife; but assisted by a small per cent. of youths and of bachelors, Christendom maintains an army of several millions of courtesans. Thousands of wretched women are yearly driven to graves in the potter's field, while manhood is degraded by deception, by drunkenness and by disease; and the blood of the innocents cries out against a system which thus "elevates" woman.

The Bible says that "a tree is known by its fruit;" yet this tree is carefully pruned, watered, and tended as the "Tree of life" whose fruit, in the words of Archdeacon Farrar, "alone elevates woman, and shrouds as with a halo of sacred innocence the tender years of the child." The Bible records that God created woman by a method different from that employed in bringing into life any other creature, then cursed her for seeking knowledge; yet God declares in the Bible: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." "Because thou hast rejected knowledge I will reject thee." "Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge," and knowledge is the savior of the human race.

Ever since Eve was cursed for seeking knowledge, the priest with the Bible in his hands has pronounced her the most unnatural, untrustworthy and dangerous creation of God. She has been given away as a sheep at the marriage altar, classed with the ox and the ass, cursed in maternity, required to receive purification at the hands. of the priest for the crime of child-bearing, her body enslaved, and robbed of her name and of her property.

The ownership of the wife established and perpetuated through Bible teaching is responsible for the domestic pandemonium and the carnival of wife murder which reigns throughout Christendom. In the United States alone, in the eighteen hundred and ninety-seventh year of the Christian era, 3,482 wives, many with unborn children in their bodies, have been murdered in cold blood by their husbands; yet the Christian clergy from their pulpits reprove women for not bearing more children in the face of the fact that millions of the children who have been born by Christian women are homeless tramps, degraded drunkards, victims of disease, inmates of insane asylums or prisons, condemned to the scaffold, or bond slaves to priests or to plutocrats who revel in wealth at the expense

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of women whom it is claimed that the Bible has "emancipated and elevated."

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." This declaration of the Bible puts the brand of infamy upon every woman who ever bore a child; and this, it is claimed, elevates the Mothers of the Race. The wife who places her destiny in the keeping of the father of her children bestows upon him the wealth of her affection, who is to bear the blood and the name of her husband to conquests yet undreamed of, and to generations yet unborn, is by Divine decree made a fountain of iniquity. Would not men and women rather pluck their tongues out by the roots than brand with infamy the mothers who went down into the valley and the shadow of death to give birth to them?

Place the Bible Trinity of "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" beside the Homeric trinity, "Father, Mother and Child," and prove that the Bible has elevated woman. The Homeric conception of woman towers like the Norway pine above the noxious growth of the Mosaic ideal. Compare the men and the women of the Bible with the stately figures culled from the temple of Pagan antiquity. Zipporah denouncing Moses as a "bloody husband," Abraham sending Hagar and his child into the desert and pocketing twice over the gains from his wife's prostitution; Lot and his daughters; Judah and his daughter-in-law, Onan; Yamar, the Levite, and his concubine; David and Bath-sheba; Solomon in the sewer of sensualism; Rahab, Aholibah, Mary of Bethlehem, and Mary Magdala.

Place these by the side of the man and the woman, Hector and Andromache, of the "Iliad," who called upon the immortal gods to bless their child of love; the virgin Isis with her son Horus; the Vedic virgin Indrance, the mother of the savior-god, Indra; Devaki and her Divine child, Chrishna; Hipparchia, Pandora, Protogenia, Cornelia, Plotina, and a host of the noble and virtuous of Pagan history. Prove by comparing these with the position of woman in Christendom that woman owes all that she is to the Bible.

Compare Ruth of the Bible with the magnificent Pagan, Penelope, who refused the hands of kings, was as true to her love as the star is to the pole, who, after years of waiting, clasped the old wanderer

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in rags to her heart, her husband, her long-lost Ulysses; yet this Pagan woman lived ten centuries before the laws of Moses and of Christ were promulgated. While there are millions of Penelopes in Christendom, there are other millions of women, after centuries of Bible teaching, who lie outside the pale of motherhood, and even outside of the pale of swine-hood. Under Bible teaching the scarlet woman is "anathema, marantha," while the scarlet man holds high place in the Sanctuary and the State.

The by-paths of ecclesiastical history are fetid with the records of crimes against women; and "the half has never been told." And what of the history which Christianity is making to-day? Answer, ye victims of domestic warfare who crowd the divorce courts of Bible lands. Answer, ye wretched offspring of involuntary motherhood. Answer, ye five hundred thousand outcast women of Christian America, who should have been five hundred thousand blessings, bearing humanity in your unvitiated blood down the streams of time. Answer, ye mental dwarfs and moral monstrosities, and tell what the Holy Bible has done for you.

While these answers echo through the stately cathedrals of Bible lands, if the priest, with the Holy Bible in his hands, can show just cause why woman should not look to reason and to science rather than to Scripture for deliverance, "let him speak now, or forever after hold his peace."

When Reason reigns and Science lights the way, a countless host of women will move in majesty down the coming centuries. A voice will cry, "Who are these?" and the answer will ring out: "These are the mothers of the coming race, who have locked the door of the Temple of Faith and thrown the key away; 'these are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the' fountain of knowledge."


My DEAR MRS. STANTON:--To say that "the Bible for two thousand years has been the greatest block in the way of civilization" is,

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misleading. Until the Protestant reformation, the Bible was hidden from the common people by the hierarchs of the Roman Catholic Church; and it is only about three centuries that it has been read in the vernacular.

I cannot agree with you that "the Bible degrades women from Genesis to Revelation." The Bible, which is a collection of ancient literature, historic, prophetic, poetic and epistolary, is valuable as showing the status of woman at the time when the books were written. And the advice, or the commands, to women given by Paul in the Epistles, against which there has been so much railing, when studied in the light of the higher criticism, with the aid of cotemporary {sic} history and Greek scholarship, show Paul to have been in advance of the religious teachers of his time.

All these commands that have offended us in the past appear in his Epistles to the churches in cities of Greece, where marriage was bitter slavery to women. Paul was aiming to uplift marriage to the level of the great Christian idea, as he uttered it, in Gal. iii., 28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Christianity is simply the universal fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of man. And Paul was declaring this in the utterance which I have quoted. All the unjust distinctions of race and of caste, all the oppressions of slavery and the degradations of woman were effaced by the two cardinal doctrines of pristine Christianity; and Paul seems to have lived up to his teaching.

I cannot say that "Christianity has been the foe of woman." The study of the evolution of woman does not show this. My later studies have changed many of my earlier crude notions concerning the development of woman. She has developed slowly, and so has man; and the history of the past shows that every activity of man which has advanced him has been shared by her.

There is so wide a belief among orthodox people, nowadays, in what Professor Briggs calls "the errancy of the Bible," that I doubt if you will be attacked, no matter how startling may be your heresies in Part II. Nobody cares much about heresy in these days; and my desire to withhold my name from your work, as an endorser,

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comes from my utter ignorance of it, and from my belief that I should disagree with you, judging from your letter before me.

Yours very truly,        


My DEAR MRS. STANTON:--You have sent to me the following questions: "Have the teachings of the Bible advanced or retarded the emancipation of women? Have they dignified or degraded the Mothers of the Race?"

In reply I would say, that as a matter of fact, the nations which treat women with the most consideration are all Christian nations; the countries in which women have open to them all the opportunities for education which men possess are Christian countries; coeducation originated in Christian colleges; the professions and the trades are closed to us in all except Christian lands; and woman's ballot is unknown except where the Gospel of Christ has mellowed the hearts of men until they became willing to. do women justice. Wherever we find an institution for the care and the comfort of the defective or the dependent classes, that institution was founded by men and women who were Christians by heredity and by training.

No such woman as Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, with her heart aflame against all forms of injustice and of cruelty, with her intellect illumed and her tongue quickened into eloquence, has ever been produced in a country where the Bible was not incorporated into the thoughts and the affections of the people and had not been so during many generations.

I think that men have read their own selfish theories into the Book, that theologians have not in the past sufficiently recognized the progressive quality of its revelation, nor adequately discriminated between its records as history and its principles of ethics and of religion, nor have they until recently perceived that it is not in any sense a scientific treatise; but I believe that the Bible comes to us from God, and that it is a sufficient rule of faith and of practice. I believe that it is no accident which has placed this Book at the

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parting of the ways between a good life and a bad one, and enshrined it at the centre of the holiest scenes which the heart can know, placing it in the pastor's hand at the wedding and at the grave, on the father's knee at family prayer, in the trembling fingers of the sick, and at the pillow of the dying, making it the hope of the penitent and the power of God unto salvation of those who sin.

To me the Bible is the dear and sacred home book which makes a hallowed motherhood possible because it raises woman up, and with her lifts toward heaven the world. This is the faith taught to me by those whom I have most revered and cherished; it has produced the finest characters which I have ever known; by it I propose to live; and holding to the truth which it brings to us, I expect to pass from this world to one even more full of beauty and of hope.

Believe me, honored co-worker for the enfranchisement of women,

Yours with sisterly regard,                


Among the letters in reply to the interrogatories propounded are two, noticeable because they are in such a striking contrast to that of Mrs. Josephine K. Henry, which immediately precedes them. Their first marked characteristic is their total lack of facts which are sufficient to sustain the conclusions therein stated. Conceding for the purpose of this discussion the truth of Mrs. Livermore's assertions contained in the first paragraph of her letter, she fails absolutely to show that the Holy Scriptures have been of any benefit, or have rendered any aid, to woman in her efforts to obtain her rights in either the social, the business, or the political world; and unless she is able to present stronger or more cogent reasons to justify that conclusion than any which are therein specified, I shall be compelled to adhere to my present conviction, which is, that this book always has been, and is at present, one of the greatest obstacles in the way of the emancipation and the advancement of the sex.

In regard to the letter of the distinguished President of the Woman's

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Christian Temperance Union, her position is entirely indefensible and completely lacking in logical conclusions. Her leading proposition is in substance that to the extent that the Christian religion has prevailed there has been a corresponding improvement in the condition of women; and the conclusion which she draws from that premise is that this religion has been the cause of this advancement. Before I admit the truth of this conclusion I must first inquire whether or not the premise upon which it is based is true; and judging from the fact that the condition of women is most degraded in those countries where Church and State are in closest affiliation, as in Spain, in Italy, in Russia and in Ireland, and most advanced in nations where the power of ecclesiasticism is markedly on the wane, the inference is obvious that the Bible and the religion based upon it have retarded rather than promoted the progress of woman.

But, granting that her premise is true, her conclusion by no means follows from it. She desires her reader to infer that the existence of Christianity in certain countries is responsible for the high degree of civilization which there obtains, and that the improved condition of women in those countries is owing entirely to the influence of that religion therein. This is what the logicians would call a non sequitur, which means a conclusion which does not follow from the premises stated.

It is now a well-settled principle recognized by all writers upon the science of logic, that the co-existence of two facts does not necessarily imply that one is the cause of the other; and, as is often the case, they may have no relation to each other, and each may exist independently of the other. Many illustrations of this fallacy might be presented were it necessary to do so; but I will refer to only one of them. I have heard it asserted that more murders and other crimes are committed in Christian countries than in any others. Whether this be true or false, I am not prepared to state; but if it were proven to be a fact, could one justly contend that the influence of the Bible is in favor of the commission of crime? Indeed, there would be more reason for so thinking than there is for the opinion which she holds, as numerous passages may be found in that volume which clearly justify both crime and vice.

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The truth of the matter is, as Mrs. Stanton, Mrs. Henry, and other contributors to "The Woman's Bible" have clearly proven, that whatever progress woman has made in any department of effort she has accomplished independently of, and in opposition to, the so-called inspired and infallible "Word of God," and that this book has been of more injury to her than has any other which has ever been written in the history of the world.

E. M.

"Have the teachings of the Bible advanced or retarded the emancipation of women?"

"Have they dignified or degraded the Mothers of the Race?"

There are always two sides to every question. It sometimes happens that the Christian, the historian, the clergyman, and the devotee, in their enthusiasm, are long on assertion and short on proof. Turning the light on the past and present, the writer of this comment asserts "as a matter of fact that the nations which treat women with the most consideration are all" civilized nations. If the condition of woman is highest in Christian civilization, the question arises, Is it Christianity or civilization which has accorded to women the "most consideration"? Christianity means belief in the tenets laid down in a book called the Bible, claimed to be the Word of God. Civilization means the state of being refined in manners from the grossness of savage life, and improved in arts and in learning. If civilization is due entirely to the teachings of the Bible, then, as claimed, woman owes to Christianity all the "consideration" which she receives.

We claim that woman's advancement is due to civilization, and that the Bible has been a bar to her progress. It is true that "woman receives most consideration in Christian nations;" but this is due to the mental evolution of humanity, stimulated by climate and by soil, and the intercommunication of ideas through modern invention. All the Christian nations are in the north temperate zone, whose climate, and soil are better adapted to the development of the race than any other portions of the earth. Christianity took its rise in thirty degrees

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north latitude. Mohammedanism took its rise in the torrid zone; and as it made its way north it advanced in education, in art, in science, and in invention, until the civilization of Moslem Spain far surpassed that of Christian Europe, and as it retreated before the Christian sword from the fertile valleys of Spain into the and plains of Arabia it retrograded, after giving to the world some of the greatest scientific truths and inventions.

The women of the United States receive "more consideration" and are being emancipated more rapidly than are the women of Europe; yet, in Europe, Christianity holds iron sway, while in America the people are free to accept or to reject its teachings; and in the United States, out of a population of seventy millions, but twenty-two millions have accepted it; and a large percentage of these are children, who have not arrived at the years of discretion, and foreigners from Christian Europe. The consideration extended to woman does not depend upon the teachings of the Bible, but upon the mental and material advancement of the men of a nation. Now if it can be proven that Bible teaching has inspired men to explore and to subdue new lands, to give to the world inventions, to build ships, railroads and telegraphs, to open mines, to construct foundries and factories, and to amass knowledge and wealth, then the Bible has been woman's best friend; for she receives most consideration where men have liberty of thought and of action, have prospered materially, builded homes, and have bank accounts.

The women in the slums of Christian London and New York receive no more consideration than the women in the slums of Hong Kong or Bombay. If the nations which give the most consideration to women do so because of their Christianity, then it logically follows that the more intensely Christian a class or an individual may be, the greater consideration will be shown to their women. The most intensely Christian people in Christendom are negroes; yet it is an incontrovertible fact that negro women receive less consideration, and are more wronged and abused, than any class on the earth. The women of the middle and upper classes in Bible lands receive consideration just in proportion to the amount of intelligence and worldly goods possessed by their male relatives, while the pauper

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classes are abused, subjected, and degraded in proportion to the ignorance and the poverty of the men of their class.

The Church is the channel through which Bible influence flows. Has the Church ever issued an edict that woman must be equal with man before the canon or the civil law, that her thoughts should be incorporated in creed or code, that she should own her own body and property in marriage, or have a legal claim to her children born in wedlock, which Christianity claims is a "sacrament" and one of the "holy mysteries"? Has the Church ever demanded that woman be educated beyond the Bible (and that interpreted for her) and the cook book, or given a chance in all the callings of life to earn an honest living? Is not the Church to-day a masculine hierarchy, with a female constituency, which holds woman in Bible lands in silence and in subjection?

No institution in modern civilization is so tyrannical and so unjust to woman as is the Christian Church. It demands everything from her and gives her nothing in return. The history of the Church does not contain a single suggestion for the equality of woman with man. Yet it is claimed that women owe their advancement to the Bible. It would be quite as true to say that they owe their improved condition to the almanac or to the vernal equinox. Under Bible influence woman has been burned as a witch, sold in the shambles, reduced to a drudge and a pauper, and silenced and subjected before her ecclesiastical and marital law-givers. "She was first in the transgression, therefore keep her in subjection." These words of Paul have filled our whole civilization with a deadly virus, yet how strange is it that the average Christian woman holds the name of Paul above all others, and is oblivious to the fact that he has brought deeper shame, subjection, servitude and sorrow to woman than has any other human being in history.

The nations under Bible influence are the only drunken nations on the earth. The W. C. T. U. will certainly not claim that drunkenness elevates woman; indeed, its great work for our sex is a splendid protest against this idea. Throughout Christendom millions of wretched women wait in suspense and in terror for the return of drunken husbands, while in heathendom a drunkard's wife cannot be

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found unless a heathen husband is being Christianized by Christian whiskey. The Chinese women have their feet compressed, but, unlike Christian women, they do not need their feet to give broom drills or skirt dances for the "benefit of their church." The child-wives of India need to be rescued and protected, but no more than many adult wives in Bible lands need protection from drunken and brutal husbands. The heathen wife seeks death on her husband's funeral pyre, but the Christian wife is often sent to death by a bullet in her brain, or a knife in her heart.

It is said that "woman's ballot is unknown except where the Gospel of Christ has mellowed the hearts of men until they became willing to do women justice." justice through the ballot has been accorded only to the women of Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and far away New Zealand. In these States the people are honest, industrious and law-abiding; but the "influence of the Gospel of Christ," according to religious statistics, is so small it would take a search-warrant to find it, while Utah is full of Mormons and New Zealand is a convict dumping ground for Christian nations. Is this the extent of justice to women after the "influence of the Gospel of Christ has mellowed the hearts of men" for nineteen hundred years?

The fact is that woman has been elevated in spite of Bible influence. Every effort that woman has made to secure education has been challenged by popes, bishops, priests, moderators, conferences and college presidents, yet against all these protests she has battered down the doors of Christian colleges and is now studying the Bible of Science in conjunction with the Bible of the Christian religion. With increasing knowledge woman is founding her faith on reason and demonstrated truth, instead of taking it second-hand from priest, parson or presbyter.

Remove from Bible lands the busy brains and hands which have guided the plow and the locomotive, driven the machinery of the mine, the foundry, the factory, the home, the mental and the physical labor which have brought material prosperity, broadened the mind, subdued the brutal instincts, and humanized the race--remove all these and leave but the Bible and its influence, and where, let me, ask, would woman be to-day? Where, indeed, would man be? A

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crouching and cowering slave to the Bible doctrine of the Divine right of kings, living as the brutes of the field, as he did when Bible Christianity was at the zenith of its power. Wherever in Christian lands man has been a slave, woman has been the slave of a slave.

Imagine the condition of woman if to-day should be removed from Christian civilization the school, the steam engine, the smokestack and the printing press, and leave but the Scriptures, the steeple and the parson. Would Elizabeth Cady Stantons, Mary A. Livermores and Frances E. Willards be the products of this strictly Christian civilization?

Christianity has instilled into woman the canting falsehood that the women of all other religions are degraded and immoral. Through tyranny and falsehood alone is Christianity able to hold woman in subjection. To tell her the truth would rend the temple of faith in twain and strike terror to the heart of the priest at the altar. Nothing but the truth will set woman free. She should know that Christian England captures the Hindoo girl to act as a harlot to the British soldier, and that a Christian chaplain is commanded to see that she performs her duty. She should know that in Christian Austria the maiden must partake of the Holy Eucharist before she will be granted a license as a prostitute. She should know that Christian Europe and America trade upon the bodies, the hearts and the hopes of millions of wretched women, victims of ignorance and of poverty, and that the centres, of Christian civilization are seething cauldrons of immorality, dissipation and disease, which spread ruin and despair in the shadow of the loftiest cathedrals and palatial Christian temples.

These things are too shocking for pure Christian women to know, so they expend their prayers and pelf on the "poor heathen" who have never heard that Adam ate an apple, or that the whale swallowed Jonah. Christianity feeds and fattens on the sentiment and the credulity of women. It slanders the women of India, of China and of Japan that it may rob the woman of Europe and of America. Dr. Simmons, of the National Hospital at Yokohama, who has lived in the Orient for thirty-five years, says:

"The family in Japan is the cornerstone of the nation. The

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father and the mother are regarded with reverence. Politeness and self-restraint are instilled into children, and an uncivil word is rarely heard. The Japanese are truthful and honest. The wife has equal influence with the husband; while divorce is rarely heard of in Oriental lands; and laws are more stringent protecting the chastity of women."

O that women could learn the truth! The laws of the Orient are against trafficking in young girls, but Christian England, which has an iron hand on the throat of India and a sword thrust into her heart, carries on a lively trade in native and foreign women, to be the prey of the Christian soldier, who makes way for the Christian missionary. Here, in Christian America, marriageable young women are trotted off to church, the theatre or the ball, and practically set up for sale in the market of holy matrimony; and the Christian minister, for a consideration, seals the "Divine mystery." The Church would indignantly deny that it is a marriage mart, but denial. does not throttle the truth.

Truth makes her way slowly but surely, because the eternities are hers. Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the greatest liberator of our time, has, with magnificent courage, pressed into humanity's Thermopylæ, and turned the light on the superstitions which have visited cruelties and wrongs on woman, and this, too, under a system which claims to extend "great consideration" to the Mothers of the Race. O women of Christendom! will ye not seek the truth? Leave the priestly mendicants who demand your devotion and your dollars, leave to their religion the heathen women on the banks of the Yangtse-Kiang and the Ganges, and turn your eyes to millions of your enslaved, toiling, struggling sisters in Christendom whom it is claimed the Bible has elevated; and remember that these are the victims upon whom the "glad feet" of the Gospel have been trampling for two thousand years.

        Versailles, Ky.


The Christian theory of the sacredness of the Bible has been at

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the cost of the world's civilization. Whether we regard the work as custodian of the profoundest secrets of the "ancient mysteries," a spiritual book trebly veiled, or as the physical and religious history of the world in its most material forms, its interpretation by the Church, by the State, and by society has ever been prejudicial to the best interests of humanity. Science, art, inventions, reforms of existing wrongs, all, all have been opposed upon its authority. That even the most enlightened nations are not yet out of barbarism is due to the teachings of the Bible.

From "Thou shalt not make any graven image, or any likeness of anything in heaven above, the earth beneath, or the waters under the earth," down to "A woman shall not speak in church, but shall ask her husband at home," the tendency of the Bible has been to crush out aspiration, to deaden human faculties, and to humiliate mankind. From Adam's plaint, "The woman gave me and I did eat," down to Christ's "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" the tendency of the Bible has been degradation of the divinest half of humanity--woman. Even the Christian Church itself is not based upon Christ as a savior, but upon its own teachings that woman brought sin into the world, a theory in direct contradiction, not alone to the mysteries, but to spiritual truth. But our present quest is not what the mystic or the spiritual character of the Bible may be; we are investigating its influence upon woman under Judaism and Christianity, and pronounce it evil.


There is nothing tending to show that the women spoken of in the Bible were superior to the ones we know. There are to-day millions of women making coats for their sons; hundreds of thousands of women, true, not simply to innocent people falsely accused, but to criminals. Many a loving heart is as true to the gallows as Mary was to the cross. There are hundreds of thousands of women accepting poverty and want and dishonor for the love they bear unworthy

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men; hundreds and thousands--hundreds and thousands--working day and night, with strained eyes and tired hands, for husbands and children-clothed in rags, housed in huts and hovels, hoping day after day for the Angel of Death. There are thousands of women in Christian England working in iron, laboring in the fields and toiling in the mines. There are hundreds and thousands in Europe, everywhere, doing the work of men--deformed by toil, and who would become simply wild and ferocious beasts, except for the love they bear for home and child.

We need not go back four thousand years for heroines. The world is filled with them to-day. They do not belong to any nation, nor any religion, nor exclusively to any race. Wherever woman is found, they are found. There are no women portrayed in the Bible who equal thousands and thousands of known to-day. The women of the Bible fall almost infinitely below, not simply those in real life, but the creations of the imagination found in the world of fiction. They will not compare with the women born of Shakespeare's brain. You will find none like Isabella, in whose spotless life, love and reason blended into perfect truth; nor Juliet, within whose heart, passion and purity met like white and red within the bosom of a rose; nor Cordelia, who chose to suffer loss rather than show her wealth of love with those who gilded dross with golden words in hope of gain; nor Miranda, who told her love as freely as a flower gives its blossom to the kisses of the sun; nor Imogene, who asked, "What is it to be false?" nor Hermione, who bore with perfect faith and hope the cross of shame, and who at last forgave with all her heart; nor Desdemona, her innocence so perfect and her love so pure that she was incapable of suspecting that another could suspect, and sought with dying words to hide her lover's crime.

If we wish to find what the Bible thinks of woman, all that is necessary to do is to read it. We shall find that everywhere she is spoken of simply as property--as belonging absolutely to the man. We shall find that, whenever a man got tired of his wife, all he had to do was to give her a writing of divorcement, and that then the mother of his children became a houseless and homeless wanderer. We shall find that men were allowed to have as many wives as they

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could get, either by courtship, purchase, or conquest. The Jewish people in the olden time were, in many respects, like their barbarian neighbors.


The Bible, viewed by men as the infallible "Word of God," and translated and explained for ages by men only, tends to the subjection and degradation of woman. Historical facts to prove this are abundant. In the dark days of "witchcraft"--through centuries--alleged witches were arrested, tried in ecclesiastical courts, tortured and hung or burned at the stake by men under priestly direction, and the great majority of the victims were women. Eve's alleged transgression, and the Bible edict in the days of the reputed Witch of Endor, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," being the warrant and Divine authority for this awful slaughter of women.

In the days of chattel-slavery in our country, the slave-laws, framed by men only, degraded woman by making her the defenseless victim of her slave-master's passions, and then inflicting a cruel stab, reaching the heart of motherhood, by laws which made her children follow the condition of the mother, as slaves; never that of the father, as free women or men. The clergy became slaveholders and defenders of slavery without loss of priestly position or influence, and quoted "Cursed be Canaan" as their justification.

The Lord gave the Word, great was the company of those that published it.--Old version of the Bible, 68th Psalm.

The Lord giveth the Word, and great is the multitude of women who publish it.--Revised version of the Bible, 68th Psalm.

Here is "a reform" not "against Nature," nor the facts of history, but is true to the Mother of the Race, to her knowledge of "the Word," to her desire to promulgate it, to her actual participation in declaring and proclaiming it. And true to a present and continuous inspiration and influx of the Spirit, it is giveth, and not "gave," in the past. And this one recognition of woman as preacher and Apostle forbids the assertion that woman is degraded from Genesis to Revelation.

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The light of a more generous religious thought, a growth out of the old beliefs, impelled the learned "Committee on Revision" to speak the truth in regard to the religious character and work of women, and they have exalted her where before she was "degraded."

This revision is also prophetic of this era, for never were women doing so excellently the world's work, or, like Tryphena and Tryphosa, prophesying the light still to come.


The general principles of righteousness and justice laid down in the Bible have elevated the race in general, the mothers included, and have aided in securing reforms for women, as well as for other classes. But the specific texts of Saint Paul enjoining subjection upon women have undoubtedly been a hindrance.


1. In my opinion the teachings of the Bible have advanced woman's emancipation.

Look at the freedom of the Jewish women of the Old Testament --of Miriam, Deborah, Abigail, Ruth and Esther. In comparison, where were the Gentile women who knew not God?

2. The teachings of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, have dignified the Mothers of the Race. Christ was very severe to the men who were sinners, he called them Scribes and Pharisees and hypocrites, and pronounced, "Woe be unto you." He even whipped the money changers out of the temple. But no rebuke to woman ever fell from his lips save the gentle one to Martha, that she cared too much for her home and her nice housekeeping. Christ's mission meant the elevation of womanhood. Compare Christian countries with the heathen countries, and see how Christianity elevates and heathenism degrades womanhood.

I have studied the questions in the Indian Territory in our own

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United States. Under the influence of the Christian missionaries the Indian woman is an important factor in Church and State. Where the Gospel of Christ is not preached the women are slaves to the men. In their long tramps they do not even walk beside their husbands, but follow behind like dogs. I am aware that small ministers still preach foolishness, defining "woman's sphere," but the real Biblical Christianity elevates womanhood.


My DEAR MRS. STANTON:--I regard the Bible as I do the other so-called sacred books of the world. They were all produced in savage times, and, of course, contain many things that shock our sense of justice. In the days of darkness women were regarded and treated as slaves. They were allowed no voice in public affairs. Neither man nor woman were civilized, and the gods were like their worshipers. It gives me pleasure to know that women are beginning to think and are becoming dissatisfied with the religion of barbarians.

I congratulate you on what you have already accomplished and for the work you are now doing. Sincerely yours,


In reading some of these letters and comments I have been deeply impressed with the difficulty of substituting reason for superstition in minds once perverted by a false faith. Women have been taught by their religious guardians that the Bible, unlike all other books, was written under the special inspiration of the Great Ruling Intelligence of the Universe. Not conversant with works on science and higher criticism, which point out its fabulous pretensions, they cling to it with an unreasoning tenacity, like a savage to his fetich. Though it is full of contradictions, absurdities and impossibilities, and bears the strongest evidence in every line of its human origin,

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and in moral sentiment is below many of the best books of our own day, they blindly worship it as the Word of God.

When you point out what in plain English it tells us God did say to his people in regard to woman, and there is no escape from its degrading teaching as to her position, then they shelter themselves under false translations, interpretations and symbolic meanings. It does not occur to them that men learned in the languages have revised the book many times, but made no change in woman's position. Though familiar with "the designs of God," trained in Biblical research and higher criticism, interpreters of signs and symbols and Egyptian hieroglyphics, learned astronomers and astrologers, yet they cannot twist out of the Old or New Testaments a message of justice, liberty or equality from God to the women of the nineteenth century!

The real difficulty in woman's case is that the whole foundation of the Christian religion rests on her temptation and man's fall, hence the necessity of a Redeemer and a plan of salvation. As the chief cause of this dire calamity, woman's degradation and subordination were made a necessity. If, however, we accept the Darwinian theory, that the race has been a gradual growth from the lower to a higher form of life, and that the story of the fall is a myth, we can exonerate the snake, emancipate the woman, and reconstruct a more rational religion for the nineteenth century, and thus escape all the perplexities of the Jewish mythology as of no more importance than those of the Greek, Persian and Egyptian.


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