Aspects of Mary Wollstonecraft's Religious Thought
Morgan, S. M. (2007). Aspects of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Religious Thought (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2300
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2300
The works of Mary Wollstonecraft have been largely utilized in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries within the domain of feminist studies. They were influential throughout the 'feminist movement' of the 1960s and 1970s and Wollstonecraft is routinely given the title of 'mother' of feminism. One result of her works being classified as important feminist texts is the elision of the religious element in her works. Moreover, recent scholarship has drawn attention to the central importance of religion in eighteenth century British discourse. This thesis will primarily argue that Wollstonecraft was heavily influenced by religion, and that her writings were conceived in response to a profoundly theologico-political culture. This influence of religion has generally been overlooked by researchers and this thesis will aim to redress this absence. Four of Wollstonecraft's works - all produced within a 'similar' political climate and within a concise time period - are utilized to show that religion was a foundational element within Wollstonecraft's thought and arguments. This thesis shows that Wollstonecraft was not so much a 'feminist' thinker, but a unique intellectual determined to show that the inferior position of women went against 'God's will', teachings and the equality He had ascribed to both men and women during Creation.
The University of Waikato
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