Divine Domesticity: Augustine of Thagaste to Teresa of Avila


Author: Marjorie Boyle
This volume is a cultural analysis of the home during the Christian centuries, when home was believed to be heaven. It investigates the traditional belief in the divine indwelling - but by reversing the history of doctrine to venture doctrine as history. Analysis proceeds not by speculation on faculties of the soul but by research on actualities of housing. What did believers experience about habitat? its relationships? its rooms?
The book examines four cultural constructs of dwelling: the inn, the sanctuary, the villa, and the castle. Its focus is the hearth as the familial place. A lesson in alterity, it exposes the rejection of the divine indwelling as at home (John 14:23). It discovers a fundamental disparity between domesticity and the asceticism that dominated western civilization.

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Marjorie O'Rourke Boyle, Ph.D., is a cultural historian specializing in religion. She is the author of Petrarch's Genius: Pentimento and Prophecy, ( Berkeley, 1993), and of three books on Erasmus (Toronto, Harvard).
All cultural and social historians -- fourth through sixteenth centuries; historians of the family and sexuality, the Church, art and architecture; anthropologists; literary critics of "autobiography".