Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of NorwichOne of the first woman authors, Julian of Norwich produced in Revelations of Divine Love a remarkable work of revelatory insight, that stands alongside The Cloud of Unknowing and Piers Plowman as a classic of Medieval religious literature
After fervently praying for a greater understanding of Christs passion, Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-century anchorite and mystic, experienced a series of divine revelations. Through these showings, Christs sufferings were revealed to her with extraordinary intensity, but she also received assurance of Gods unwavering love for man and his infinite capacity for forgiveness. Written in a vigorous English vernacular, the Revelations are one of the most original works of medieval mysticism and have had a lasting influence on Christian thought. This edition of the Revelations contains both the short text, which is mainly an account of the showings themselves and Julians initial interpretation of their meaning, and the long text, completed some twenty years later, which moves from vision to a daringly speculative theology.
Elizabeth Spearings translation preserves Julians directness of expression and the rich complexity of her thought. An introduction, notes and appendices help to place the works in context for modern readers.
Julian of Norwich
She spent the latter part of her life as a recluse at St. Unparalleled in English religious literature , Revelations spans the most profound mysteries of the Christian faith—such as the problems of predestination , the foreknowledge of God, and the existence of evil. The clarity and depth of her perception, the precision and accuracy of her theological presentation, and the sincerity and beauty of her expression reveal a mind and personality of exceptional strength and charm. Never beatified, Julian is honoured on the unofficial feast day of May A modern chapel in the Church of St. Julian has been dedicated to her memory.
Dame Julian lived in Norwich, England in the 14th and early 15th century, and spent much of her life as an anchorite, a vowed religious living by herself in a small room, called an anchorhold, attached to the parish church of St Julian at Conisford in Norwich. Of herself, there is no more evidence than what she offers by her own witness, as well as the witness of a few bequests, and the testimony of her contemporary Margery Kempe. Despite the attempts of scholarship to uncover her particulars, "Julian's life," wrote Fr Robert Llewelyn, "has passed largely into obscurity, and no doubt this is how she would have wished it. What is known about her is her remarkable book, The Revelations of Love , an account of and the fruit of twenty years' reflection on a series of visions which revealed to Julian the depths of God's unconditioned love for us in Jesus Christ. Today virtually nothing is left of the original cell where Julian lived and prayed, wrote her book, and ministered to those who came to her window. In the s the cell was reconstructed, along with the church which had been destroyed during WWII bombardment. The reconstructed cell serves as the Julian Shrine, a place of pilgrimage and prayer.
Julian of Norwich (c) is known to us almost only through her book, The Revelations of Divine Love, which is widely acknowledged as one of the great.
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Julian of Norwich l. Almost nothing is known of her life since, as an anchoress a woman who lives in seclusion, dedicated wholly to God , she would have been disinclined to discuss details of whatever previous life she led in the world. According to her book, when Julian was 30 and a half years old, she was struck with an illness so severe she knew she would not survive. The parish curate administered last rites, and she began to experience visions from God. These visions lasted throughout the afternoon of 13 May CE 15 of them and a final vision the next evening for a total of 16 , when she woke completely cured and, shortly afterwards, wrote them down. This early version of her visions is known today as the Short Text.
She wrote the earliest surviving book in the English language to be written by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love. She lived throughout her life in the English city of Norwich , an important centre for commerce that also had a vibrant religious life, but which during her lifetime was a witness to the devastating effects of the Black Death of , the Peasants' Revolt , which affected large parts of England in , and the suppression of the Lollards. In , aged thirty and so seriously ill she thought she was on her deathbed, Julian received a series of visions or " shewings " of the Passion of Christ. She recovered from her illness and wrote two versions of her experiences, the earlier one being completed soon after her recovery, and a much longer version, today known as the Long Text , being written many years later. For much of her life, Julian lived in permanent seclusion as an anchoress in her cell , which was attached to St Julian's Church, Norwich. Four wills in which sums were bequeathed to her have survived, and an account by the celebrated mystic Margery Kempe exists, which provides details of the counsel she was given by the anchoress. Nothing is known for certain about Julian's actual name, family, or education, or of her life prior to her becoming an anchoress.