Book: Accidental Theologians: Four Women Who Shaped Christianity, by Elizabeth A. Dreyer

Elizabeth Dreyer’s new book offers an introduction to four of the most important women theologians and spiritual teachers in the Christian tradition. Its publisher, Franciscan Media, offers the following summary:

One might well be tempted to think that the history of Christianity, particularly its theology, has been largely shaped by men. This book dispels that notion to some degree by highlighting the four women Doctors of the Catholic Church (someone who contributes significantly to the formulation of Christian teaching): Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Thérèse of Lisieux. Though they did not intend to be theologians, their teachings about Christian belief and practice mark them as key figures in the history of Christianity.

While most of the books written about these four women deals mainly with their spirituality, Accidental Theologians shows how they came to know God, as well as how they changed and challenged the Church in their day. It looks at these women from several perspectives: their life and works, the times in which they lived, the core of their theology, and the implications of their theology for us. Cogent questions for reflection at the end of each chapter prompt readers to delve deeper into the significance of these women for their own lives, and a comprehensive resource list provides opportunities to learn more about these saints.

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