Hübsch, keusch und fruchtbar: Theologie der Ehe, Geschlechterrollen und Frauenbildung in volkssprachlichen Eheschriften des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts – Ein Vergleich der Ehetraktate von Albrecht von Eyb, Martin Luther und Heinrich Bullinger
Keywords:Reformation, Reformation der Ehe, Ehetheologie, Eheliteratur, Frauenbildung, Frauen in der Frühneuzeit, Geschlechterrollen, Fruchtbarkeit, Ehe, Heirat, Albrecht von Eyb, Martin Luther, Heinrich Bullinger
The implications of the Reformation on the roles of women in marriage and society, as well as the education of women, are currently diversely discussed. In this essay, three different vernacular theological texts are portrayed and compared. Those printed texts address married life and are written during the early modern era by men to the mixed-sex audience. During the early modern era, the Reformation brought changes to the legal and social order of marriage. Albrecht von Eyb’s Ehebüchlein from 1472 was a popular tract in its time and stands exemplary for a pre-Reformation view on marriage, gender roles, and the education of women. It is compared to Martin Luther’s Vom ehelichen Leben, one of Luther’s early writings on matrimony, written in the midst of the Reformation endeavors in 1522. The third text chosen for comparison is the tract Christlich Eestand, which was written by the reformed theologian Heinrich Bullinger in 1540, during the time when the new Ehegericht (marriage court) in Zürich has been established for fifteen years. The tract therefore stands exemplary for the consolidation period of the Reformation. The three tracts are compared in a chronological order along the contextual topics: institution of marriage in paradise, sexual ethics, fertility, Ehezwecklehre (the ends of marriage), the ideal man and woman, gender roles in marriage, and women’s education. The high regard the three authors hold for married life is rooted in the biblical story of the creation of Adam and Eve. In the area of marriage theology, gender roles and women’s education, too, there are (early modern) similarities, but also major and minor differences. Furthermore, the ideals of man and woman, sexual ethics, gender roles in marriage, and women’s education partly dependent (on the) different marriage theologies of Albrecht von Eyb, Martin Luther, and Heinrich Bullinger.