Allan R. Bevere | The First Woman Protestant Reformer

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See the source imagefrom Peter Matheson, Christian History Institute:
DON’T LET THE UNUSUAL NAME TRIP YOU UP! Argula von Grumbach (1492–1554 or 1557) was a brave and extraordinary woman. Martin Luther (1483–1546) knew her well. We have a precious copy of his Little Book of Prayers with a dedication to her inscribed in his own hand: “To the noble woman Hargula von Stauff at Grumbach” (von Stauff was her maiden name).

Luther knew well what von Grumbach had suffered for the sake of the gospel: the abuse, the threats, the loss of status. This Bavarian noblewoman, with four little children dependent on her, had taken incredible risks. She had challenged the influential theologians of Ingolstadt University in Bavaria to a public debate with her in German about the legitimacy of their conduct in persecuting a young student.

Von Grumbach’s challenge was unheard of. Theologians didn’t lower themselves to debate with lay people, and still less with women, not to mention in German rather than Latin. They tried to ignore her, but friends had her letter to them published by the new medium of the time: the printing press. Publishers all over Germany and into Switzerland then raced to reprint it, no less than 15 times. It was a huge sensation: a mere woman challenging a university!
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