WOMAN, CHURCH AND STATE:
By Matilda Joslyn Gage.
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During the second wave of feminism in the 1960s and 70s a popular slogan was "not the church, not the state, women shall decide their fate". Matilda Joslyn Gage would have approved. Vehemently anti-clerical, Women, Church and State was one of the first books to draw the conclusion that Christianity is a primary impediment to the progress of women, as well as civilization. Then, as now, religious doctrine was used as a justification for the dehumanization of women, depriving them of civil, human, economic and political rights, even denying them the right to worship alongside men. Gage reviews extensive evidence of this complex. From a 21st Century perspective it is both astounding how far we have progressed, and dismaying how little has changed.
Gage was one of the first writers to emphasize the ancient Matriarchy and the witch trials as key episodes of women's history. Her statement that nine million people were killed during the witch trials has been widely quoted; more recent estimates range from 50 to 100 thousand, which does not lessen the horror.
This book had numerous typographical errors. The etext has an extensive errata list of corrections, which appear in bold in the body of the text.