Missionsbräute. Pietistinnen des 19. Jahrhunderts in der Basler Mission. 2. Auflage

Münster: Waxmann Verlag 2001
514 pp., Euro 25.50; ISBN 3-89325-936-8

Mission brides. 19th century female pietists in the Basle Mission. 2nd ed.
This study of the brides of missionaries is an anthropological account of their lives including a detailed description and analysis of their lifeworld and major processes in the life course. Marriage rules for Basle missionaries required their work ´overseas´ as bachelors for the first two years. After that it was allowed to send a ´female helper´ (the bride). Most of the members of the committee governing these rulings were Basle patricians, i.e. belonging to the wealthy economic level - which simultaneously meant political power. The agenda of this group included the principle of caritas, their piety the idea of religious mission, their work was considered by them to be ´god´s will´, that is, absolutely legitimate. Konrad discusses the ´selection´ of the brides, norms pertaining to their background, the process of selection, making acquaintance, the ritual setting of ´departure´, the position of ´love´, three case stories of married couples, and life in area of mission. Here, Konrad deals with life and work at the station, including illness and death in the land of mission. A long chapter (50 pages) describing the case of Elise and Friedrich Eisfelder living in India for 30 years, including many citations from their letters, diaries etc. concludes the book. An extensive appendix gives additional contextual information such as basic information on pietism, an excursus on the idea of mission, information on the Basle Mission, short biographies of the women in the book, and basic information on the countries of mission.

Keywords: mission and women, woman and mission, wives of missionaries, pietism and marriage, Puritanism and mission, Basle Mission