Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History
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Christian Focus / 2011 / Paperback

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Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History

Christian Focus / 2011 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW506407

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Product Description

From commoner to queen, the women in this book embraced the freedom and the power of the Gospel in making their unique contributions to the unfolding of history. The true story of women in Christian history inspires, challenges, and demonstrates the grace of God producing much fruit throughout time.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 336
Vendor: Christian Focus
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 1845506405
ISBN-13: 9781845506407

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Publisher's Description

From commoner to queen, the women in this book embraced the freedom and the power of the Gospel in making their unique contributions to the unfolding of history. Wherever possible, the women here speak for themselves, from their letters, diaries or published works. The true story of women in Christian history inspires, challenges and demonstrates the grace of God producing much fruit throughout time.

Author Bio

Diana Lynn Severance has broad experience teaching history in universities and seminaries, She is a Director of the Dunham Bible Museum at Houston Baptist University, (www.hbu.edu/biblemuseum) and is the author of Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History.


Not your average history book, Feminine Threads by Diana Lynn Severance is a detailed and uplifting view of historical women of the church. In the face of feminism and worldly contradiction, Severance describes how Christian women have changed the world through witnessing and ministry. She emphasizes how humble women with open hearts have used their hospitality, vision, and intelligence to accomplish God’s work.

The book describes God-honoring women, starting from the Old Testament and leading to modern times. Their lives reflect Paul’s request in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” From slaves to queens, martyrs to missionaries, Severance gives strong examples of godly women of different time periods, using clear language and connections to a variety of issues. As a historian with wide teaching experience and as director of the Dunham Bible Museum, Severance uses her training to create a book full of scholarly references and Bible-based reflection.

Severance is not trying to promote every belief mentioned in the book; her purpose is to examine “the feminine threads in the tapestry of Christian history.” Her point is proved by history itself – that true Christianity provides freedom and fulfillment for women. Anyone who struggles to understand God’s intentions for women in the church will be encouraged by reading about those women of the past who accomplished good works while adhering to biblical truth. Severance has gathered a broad and dynamic testament with timeless application. Feminine Threads is sure to be appreciated by history lovers, as well as any Christian woman today. – Kacey Heinlein, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

Editorial Reviews

"Feminine Threads is a must-read for men and women alike, but especially so for young women who need to have a clear view of the contributions that women before them have made to the Christian faith."
"I highly recommend Feminine Threads by Diana Severance. It is a comprehensive study of a variety of Christian women, slaves to Queens, from New Testament times to the present day. The way in which the author incorporates eyewitness accounts, letters, and diaries are both an encouragement to read as well as convicting. Another aspect of this book, which I found very revealing, is the response of each generation of women to the word of God. This is not a "light read", but a book that I think should be in every Christian woman's library."
"What a gift to God's people is this remarkable tracing of the rich trail of women used by God to build his church! Severance's comprehensive scope and measured but warm scholarly voice put many of today's more clamoring voices in illuminating perspective. With excellence and careful documentation, Dr. Severance lights up a procession of women who in God's providence helped bring us to this point in history. Reading this book, we not only relish the voices and stories Severance brings to life; we also gain a hugely important understanding of an expansive heritage of women grounded in God's Word and serving God's redemptive purposes throughout human history."
"Well researched and well written, this study of "feminine threads" in Christian history makes for a tapestry of inspiration and instruction for all who love the Lord and his church - men and women alike."
"a record packed with spiritual insights and one that is both timely and significant."
"From Blandina and Perpetua all the way to Edith Schaeffer and Joni Eareckson Tada, this book spans the history of the church, showing how godly women have contributed to the Christian faith."
A true historian, Diana Severance brings to life the times of the women she introduces us to with relevant nackground and cultural allusions.
"I recommend every woman read and study and keep within reach for reference and inspiration!"
"What women these Christians have!" exclaimed Libanius, the fourth century teacher of rhetoric. His words are amply underscored and vividly illustrated in this deeply researched and highly readable survey of the last 2,000 years - an appraisal that Diana Severance invariably places against the enduring touchstone of Scripture."
"with lively prose and scholarly care she has given us an excellent overview of the various ways in which Christian women have sought to live for Christ."
... it is doubtful that there is another volume that so clearly, concisely, and comprehensively describes the contributions of women throughout church history.
"No-one reading this book can fail to be encouraged by the faith of these ordinary women who, in their own generation, humbly trusted the Word of God and lived to serve the Lord of whom it speaks."
"Fascinating book for bible college students and Christian women of all ages."

Product Reviews

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  1. KimS
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A Beautiful Tapestry
    June 28, 2011
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book, as the title suggests, deals with women in the course of the history of Church, beginning with the women in the early New Testament and concluding with the present. The author does a thorough job showing the reader that Christian women provide a significant portion of the fabric of the church, whether those threads were ultimately good or bad. The lives of women had a very definite impact on the Church even if those events were not always as well-known or publicized as others.

    The book is presented in chronological fashion, laid out in chapters according to various time periods, and each time period focuses on a particular theme. For example, the Victorian Era dealt with the topic of how women worked in their homes; the chapter about Puritan times focused on the growing principle of spiritual equality between women and men, and how the women contributed to that.

    There was so much I loved about this book; it is hard to zero in on just one or two things. I loved the fact that Severance did an excellent job of establishing the historical context in which the women lived. Context is important. Historical change is always a function of many intersecting factors. The way the women influenced the Church hinged upon on what was happening in the larger context, so understanding that context is crucial. For example, during the Middle Ages, the scholasticism of the time and the rise of the universities changed how much women could participate in the study and teaching of the Scriptures. The attitudes prevalent at the time deemed that women were not intelligent enough for university education. Denied this avenue, women turned to the monasteries, many which were seedbeds of mysticism as opposed to places to learn the Scriptures better. Likewise, the context of the women's movement in the sixties and seventies had a profound impact on how Christian women interpreted their faith and lived it out; we can still see these effects today. The impact of feminism on the church is an aspect of history that is yet ongoing.

    I particularly enjoyed reading about women who were familiar to me, but whom I was unaware had Christian leanings. One story I found interesting was Severances account of Anne Boleyn. I really enjoy the history of the United Kingdom, and I enjoy especially reading about the Tudors, so the information about Boleyn was really interesting. While Boleyn is often portrayed as manipulative and cunning, Severance shows a different, unknown side, and that was Boleyn's commitment to evangelical belief:

    Anne knew how to use her influence to shape the thinking of the King as well as secure positions for those with an evangelical bent. Anne patronized Protestant publishers and writers and protected merchants involved in the importation of English bibles and evangelical works. She tried to convince Henry, whose theology was still very much Catholic though he had broken with the Pope, that William Tyndale, the scholar forced to translate the Bible into English while in exile, was his friend. Anne was behind Henry's appointment of several evangelical bishops and deans.

    Another woman she discussed was Florence Nightengale, and her faith. I had not read about Nightengale in a context of the Church before.

    Not all of the women had the most positive influences, and Severance is forthright about that. The Quaker women, for example, strayed from biblical foundations and looked outside of what we might consider orthodoxy. There were women who came later and were involved in the idea of a "second blessing" and really strayed from biblical guidelines. Some of the women were rather notorious, but Severance includes them because for better or worse, it does demonstrate that women have not been silent throughout history. This is where Severance perhaps strays from more feminist leaning historians, who interpret everything as some kind of slight or bias against women. Unlike feminist historians, Severance does not approach history by going in with a ready-made conclusion that she wants to proof-text; she evaluates the historical data and then looks for the conclusions. She is quite honest about her desire to work in a different way than feminist historians have done of late, and I appreciated that very much.

    Although some people find it an incidental detail, I love the fact that Severance uses footnotes as opposed to endnotes. I like to know where the author gets her information from, and I am less likely to look up an end note than to glance to the bottom of the page at a footnote. Furthermore, she had an excellent bibliography which is also great for someone looking to do more research on various topics.

    I highly recommend this book for any Christian; male or female, history lover or not. When women make up such a large proportion of the Church, it is obvious that they will have contributed to it in some way. Here's a chance to see the numerous ways they have done so.
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