In early modern England, calling into question whether women possessed souls meant calling into question their intelligence, their capacity for reason, their ability to govern their own bodies and passions. It also meant departing from the orthodox Christian belief that men and women were both created in God’s image, with an immaterial, immortal component to the self. And yet the idea that women might be soulless circulated as a theological proposition and as a form of academic joke. John Donne even played with this idea in one of his early writings.