- Dentière, Marie
- (d. c. 1561)early Protestant writer and apologistAt the time of the Protestant Reformation, religious life in Europe was still largely managed by men. Marie Dentière was one of the few women to break through and make a visible contribution to further the cause. Prioress of an Augustinian convent in Belgium, Marie quickly accepted the ideas of fellow Augustinian Martin Luther, and left the convent in 1521. She moved to Strasbourg, where she married, and the couple settled in Aigle, switzerland.After her husband's death, she married Antoine Froment (1509-81), and they settled in Geneva.During the next decade, Dentière wrote three pieces that established her place in Reformation history. In 1535, she authored an account of the Reformation in Geneva, the first to treat the events in a favorable light. In 1539, she wrote an apology for William Farel and John Calvin, when they were asked to leave the city; she included an argument for women becoming more involved in church life. Published anonymously as A Very Useful Letter written and composed by a Christian woman from Tournai, sent to the Queen of Navarre, sister of the King of France, Against the Turks, Jews, Infidels, False Christians, Anabaptists, and Lutherans, this second work did not meet with the approval of the authorities in Geneva, and copies were confiscated and destroyed. only two copies have survived to the present.Finally, in 1561, she wrote the preface to Calvin's Sermon on Female Apparel, to which she appended some observation's from Cyprian (c. 200-258), one of the church fathers, which she had translated into French. Dentière died around 1561.In 2002, her name was added to the Reformation Monument in Geneva in belated recognition of her contributions.Further reading:■ Marie Dentière, Epistle to Marguerite de Navarre and Preface to a Sermon by John Calvin, ed. by Mary B. McKinley (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004)■ Katherina M. Wilson, ed., Women Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.