As for me and my house : the theology of the family in the American Quiverfull movement

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Theology


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: Vincent Jude Miller


Broadly speaking, this dissertation is a work of theological reflection within a specific context, bringing together history, ethnography, and theology to examine a form of evangelical lived religion in contemporary America. The particular situation I am exploring is the so-called Quiverfull movement." The Quiverfull movement is a growing subculture of American evangelicalism that has emerged over the past forty years within the networks of the Christian homeschooling movement. Quiverfull families have a very particular lived religion. They have an unlimited number of children (pronatalism), practice homeschooling exclusively, and advocate for "biblical patriarchy" with very prescribed sex roles for men and women. Ultimately, they view their way of life as the most faithful embodiment of biblical teaching on the family, as well as the primary way that that Christians will win the culture war in America over the next few hundred years. This dissertation advances one primary thesis: Despite the apparent strangeness of their lived religion, the Quiverfull movement in America is both thoroughly evangelical and thoroughly American. Rather than offer a radical, counter-cultural vision for the Christian family, the Quiverfull movement presents a slightly modified version of something quite commonplace: a privatized, isolated nuclear family struggling (and often failing) to maintain their bonds to the broader community, the church, and other systems of support. As such, the Quiverfull movement serves as an illuminating case study of the weaknesses and blind spots of evangelical and American cultural conceptions of the family. Lacking a broader social vision or any sense of the church as an alternative society, Quiverfull families simply cannot be the radical agents for change that they desire. Instead, they re-inscribe the norms of American individualism and privatization but with a more thoroughly religious sheen. In the end, the problem is not that the Quiverfull movement is too radical but that it is not radical enough."


Quiverfull movement, Evangelicalism, Families and Family Life, Religion, Religious History, Theology, American History, Bible, Gender Studies, Quiverfull, homeschooling, home education, evangelicalism, American evangelicals, pronatalism, anti-contraception, Voddie Baucham, Douglas Phillips, Duggar family, Mary Pride, Bill Gothard, family integrated church, lived religion, theology of the family

Rights Statement

Copyright 2015, author