This book considers how homes, households, and domestic life are related to the Church. Early theologies glorified the monastic lifestyle as a way to transcend earthly attachments in favor of supernatural goods. Later thinkers have seen that functioning marriages and families themselves canlead us toward a more righteous society. Issues of gender quickly come into play. Are households the "woman's sphere"? Does this bar women from full participation in the Church? And what of the many people today who are neither married nor consecrated in a holy life? How do we think about theChristian "households" of such singles? Jana Bennett addresses these questions. She insists that both marriage and singleness must be placed in the context of the Christian story of redemption if the questions and problems at stake are to be fully understood. Surprisingly, she finds that Augustineof Hippo, much maligned by modern theologians, is the source of very fruitful reflection on these topics, showing us that both marriage and singleness are most properly set in the context of the salvation story. Most scholars today would agree that Augustine's works have exerted great influence onWestern views of marriage, family, and sex. But they would also argue that this influence has been detrimental to a healthy understanding of these topics. However, through the lens of Augustine's work, Bennett shows that marriage and singleness cannot be considered separately, that gender issues areimportant to considering these states correctly and, most important, that the marriage between Christ and the Church is the first mediator in these states of life.