Gender and the inculcation of virtue
The Book of Proverbs in action
in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
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The Book of Proverbs was adapted and recycled in multiple versions in early modern England, primarily because it was easy to break down into digestible units. Through the powerful example of the Book of Proverbs, author suggests that Reformation thought re-invigorates the reading, interpretation and application of feminine precursors to be found in the Bible. The Book of Proverbs is a frequent and popular choice for female encomia in the seventeenth century. The positive valuations of female speech rest heavily on the preconditions supplied by situation, audience and context, and surface at various points throughout Proverbs. Frequently the model of the virtuous woman involves referring the reader to the catalogue of exemplary biblical women. Robert Cleaver's commentary highlights the virtuous woman of Proverbs as a model for emulation within the household, and is aimed at husbands and wives alike.


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