Bernardino de Sahagún is well known for having headed a major research project about the Nahuas of Central Mexico in the sixteenth century. However, many years before this project began, Sahagún wrote several sets of sermons in the Nahuatl language. This article analyzes eleven of these sermons, composed during the 1540s by this zealous Franciscan, possibly with the help of Nahua students and graduates of the Colegio de Tlatelolco. These sermons develop one shared allegory, “the House of the Soul,” by comparing the building elements of an ideal dwelling with doctrinal and moral topics and by contrasting the ways the Nahuas live their lives and build their homes to the ways the Spaniards do. In the approach adopted in this article, the rhetorical and doctrinal features of these sermons are examined, and the information they contain about Nahua households compared with other sources of the period is highlighted.

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