Publication Date

October 1998


Religion is published by Taylor and Francis, for more information please visit Elsevier.


This article examines the creation of women’s gender identity in the religious discourse of colonial Brazil and documents the creation of two separate norms—one for elite women and another for slave, lower-class, and mixed-race women. The Roman Catholic Church, closely linked with the Portuguese monarchic state and its colonial ambitions, transmitted both norms in religious guidebooks, missionary letters and sermons. This summary centers on the defining role for women in marriage, and indicates that the epoch of colonial Brazil is particularly important for feminist study. With the increasingly disparate perspectives on women from Late Antiquity, the Humanists, and Counter-Reformation theologians, this early modern era saw conflicted discourse concerning traditional gender roles.


Biblical Studies | Catholic Studies | Religion