Poet Provocateur - Christine De Pizan - The One Year Women in Christian History Devotional

Poet Provocateur - Christine de Pizan


“Alas, God, why did You not let me be born in the world as a man . . . so that I . . . would be as perfect as a man is said to be?”

So wrote poet Christine de Pizan in the early 1400s, satirizing a common view. In a world where women were treated as second-class citizens or worse, she challenged the stereotypes in an intelligent, winsome way.

Her father, a physician and civic leader in Venice, took a position in the court of King Charles V of France, and so Christine grew up amid royal prestige. At age fifteen she married another court official, with whom she had three children. But he died nine years later, and Christine was left to fend for herself—and to provide for her mother and kids. With limited options available, she chose to become a writer, penning hundreds of love ballads personalized for French aristocrats. She is considered Europe’s first professional female writer.

But she soon used her fame to call attention to the status of women in society. First she took issue with a popular work that made fun of women. Then she wrote a series of books about “the City of Ladies,” describing the valuable contributions of many historical women—wives, mothers, leaders, martyrs. “God formed the body of woman from one of [Adam’s] ribs,” she wrote, “signifying that she should stand at his side as a companion and never lie at his feet like a slave, and also that he love her as his own flesh.”

With biblical arguments, Christine bolstered the confidence of her female readers. “Unless I stray from my faith,” she once prayed in print, “I must never doubt that Your infinite wisdom . . . ever created anything which was not good. Did You yourself not create woman in a very special way and . . . give her all those inclinations which it please You for her to have? And how could it be that You could go wrong in anything?”

This woman of faith focused God’s truth on an important social issue. May we have the courage to do the same.

“At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh!”

Genesis 2:23

From the Book:

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The One Year Women in Christian History Devotional
By Randy Petersen and Robin Shreeves

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