Finding God in All Things: Teresa of Ávila's Use of the Familiar
Tsoukatos, Elaini G.
FINDING GOD IN ALL THINGS: TERESA OF ÁVILA'S USE OF THE FAMILIARElaini G. Tsoukatos, Ph.DThesis Advisor: Dr. Barbara Mujica, Ph.D.ABSTRACTEven a superficial reader of Saint Teresa's works will notice the abundance of images that fill the pages. Why does Teresa use so many images? Where do they come from? What do they tell us about her inner life and her and the world she inhabits?The objective of my dissertation is to analyze the metaphors that Teresa of Ávila uses in her four major works: Libro de la vida (begun in 1562 and completed in 1565), El camino de perfección (c. 1566), Las fundaciones (1573), and Las moradas or El castillo interior (1577).I will focus first on Teresa's biography, especially the sources and essence of her spirituality, in order to explain her need for images. Next, I will explore images drawn from both literary sources and from Teresa's everyday life. In addition, I will show how Teresa's choice of images provides us with knowledge about early modern Spain. Teresa's images taken from the natural world, the world of merchants and markets, money and jewels, the domus, or the hearth, and architecture, become the mediating bodies whose overarching purpose is to show the inward movement of mental prayer. Thus, Teresa is able to translate her own apophatic experiences kataphatically, and so reconcile the tension between the "image-less" experience of ineffable transcendence and a didactic expression grounded in images.
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