Fortress Press

Quivering Families: The Quiverfull Movement and Evangelical Theology of the Family

Quivering Families

The Quiverfull Movement and Evangelical Theology of the Family

Emily Hunter McGowin (Author)


Interested in a gratis copy?

How do you plan on using your gratis copy? Review requests are for media inquiries. Exam requests are for professors, teachers, and librarians who want to review a book for course adoption.

  • This item is not returnable
  • Ships in 2 or more weeks
  • Quantity discount
    • # of Items Price
    • 1 to 9$39.00
    • 10 or more$29.25

American evangelicals are known for focusing on the family, but the Quiverfull movement intensifies that focus in a significant way. Often called “Quiverfull” due to an emphasis on filling their “quivers” with as many children as possible (Psalm 127:5), such families are distinguishable by their practices of male-only leadership, homeschooling, and prolific childbirth. Their primary aim is “multigenerational faithfulness”—ensuring their descendants maintain Christian faith for many generations. Many believe this focus will lead to the Christianization of America in the centuries to come.

Quivering Families is a first of its kind project that employs history, ethnography, and theology to explore the Quiverfull movement in America. The book considers a study of the movement’s origins, its major leaders and institutions, and the daily lives of its families. Quivering Families argues that despite the apparent strangeness of their practice, Quiverfull is a thoroughly evangelical and American phenomenon. Far from offering a countercultural vision of the family, Quiverfull represents an intensification of longstanding tendencies. The movement reveals the weakness of evangelical theology of the family and underlines the need for more critical and creative approaches. 

  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506427607
  • eBook ISBN 9781506446608
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 259
  • Publication Date May 1, 2018



1. Conceiving Quiverfull: The Movement in Historical and Cultural Perspective
2. Stories from the Full Quiver
3. Motherhood in the Full Quiver
4. Children and Childhood in the Full Quiver
5. The Family in the Full Quiver



Brilliantly conceived, intensely interesting, scholarly executed.

"Read Quivering Families and go deep into a subculture that has made ‘family’ the center of all life. In the process explore how this strange movement reflects back on ourselves: North Americans who have made ‘family’ into our own idol. Brilliantly conceived, intensely interesting, scholarly executed, Dr. McGowin’s book is well worth your time."

David E. Fitch | Northern Seminary

Expertly told and highly readable.

"In this expertly told and highly readable study, Emily McGowin shows us that Quiverfull families are far more than a cultural oddity within the larger evangelical world. Hers is a largely untold story about gender, the history of childhood and the family, and the experiences of women taking on the complex challenge of being 'in but not of' the modern world."

Margaret Lamberts Bendroth | Congregational Library & Archives

A model of creative, interdisciplinary, and above all, practical theology. 

"By listening attentively to a group of women whom few take seriously, McGowin finds clues to the predicaments that all families face, traces the roots of their social isolation within American Christianity, and offers a theological path to a richer social vision of family life for all. This important book is a model of creative, interdisciplinary, and above all, practical theology."

Vincent J. Miller | University of Dayton

A rich ethnography of Quiverful mothers

"For evangelicals and fundamentalists, “the family” is a microcosm for the larger world; their understanding of biblical rules and images governing family life serve as a template for their efforts to shape the larger culture. This is especially true with regard to gender and sexuality. McGowin’s rich ethnography of Quiverfull mothers will surprise you by showing this seemingly obscure movement as deeply reflective of, and influential on, American culture writ large.

McGowin traces the history and rise of the Quiverfull movement. She situates her careful fieldwork among Quiverfull mothers in a close and careful reading of documentary sources and literature, producing a well-rounded study of this important movement. This strategy allows her to present a complex picture balancing the statements of leaders with the everyday lived reality of practitioners, treating conflict as real and important rather than something to be smoothed over for the sake of a narrative.

This is an excellent book."

Julie Ingersoll | University of North Florida