We calc. the effects of relatively strong elec. fields, corresponding to typical values for the fields inside glasses and proteins, on the spectroscopic properties of a simple two-level mol. Disorder in the elec. field strength is employed as a phys. source for inhomogeneous broadening. A striking result is that a Gaussian probability distribution for the field over the ensemble does not give rise to a Gaussian spectral line shape. The results are used to describe the absorption spectra of the B800 band of the B800-850 light-harvesting complex of photosynthetic purple bacteria. [on SciFinder (R)]