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Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of…
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Revelations of Divine Love

by Julian of Norwich

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This was a more difficult read than I had anticipated, but I'm glad I plowed through it, little by little. My edition (Penguin 1966) was translated and introduced by Clifton Wolters, who is rather patronizing toward Julian . . . thus I made the right decision when I skipped the 45 page introduction until after I had read Julian's revelations. I was a bit disappointed that he chose to translate her most famous passage as "it is all going to be all right; it is all going to be all right; everything is going to be all right" rather than the more traditional/familiar/resonant "All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well." (Chapter 27)

I terms of Julian's actual revelations, the beginning was a rather bloody account of Christ's Passion, thus rather difficult reading. Her later revelations and discussions of God's Love help put the earlier gruesomeness in context. And for those not willing/able to wade through all the revelations, know that the final passage sums them up nicely: "Love was his meaning. Who showed it you? Love. What did he show you? Love. Why did he show it? For love." Amen. ( )
  LucindaLibri | Aug 13, 2013 |
For a text so strongly Christian, I found this fascinating to read, including the well-treated introduction as an in-depth, albeit brief, biography of Julian herself. Her "revelations" are deeply spiritual and I recommend this edition of the book to anyone interested in comparative religion and/or spirituality.

(For those of you who don't wish to check my profile to try to figure out where the pragmatic tone of my review originates, I'm a non-Christian British Unitarian with pagan and Buddhist leanings. If you cared!) ( )
  Trialia | Mar 30, 2013 |
The scribe who put the words of Mother Julian to paper offered a warning:

"I pray God almighty that this book shall fall only into the hands of those who intend to be his lovers, and who are willing to submit to the Faith of the Holy Church, and to obey such sound and instructive teaching as is given by men of virtue, maturity, and profound learning. For this revelation contains deep theology and great wisdom, and is not meant for those who are enslaved by sin and the Devil" (213).

His warning is apt. Like my experience with The Imitation, this is the sort of writing that you have to deeply commit to before you benefit from it. If you try to skim it quickly—as if it were some modern day best-seller—it feels shallow and repetitive. On the other hand, I dare any believer to pray, open the book, and not be changed.

The form of The Revelation is simple. In 86 short chapters, Julian recounts and interprets 16 separate visions she received while praying. These visions focus on the pain Jesus was willing to bear for us, the depth of Jesus' love for us, and the incomprehensible role of evil in God's good creation.

Along the way (writing as a fourteenth century Anchorite) she shares some things that will make modern day Western-style evangelicals squirm. Specifically, her comments on St. Mary and her lengthy reflections on the motherhood of Jesus. Please don't let this dissuade you from this work. The expression "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" comes to mind.

Mother Julian was a devoted believer who was overwhelmed with the love of her God. We could all use a reminder of that.

"So it was that I learned that love was our Lord's meaning. And I saw for certain, both here and everywhere, that before ever he made us, God loved us; and that his love has never slackened, nor ever shall. In this love all his works have been done, and in this love he has made everything serve us; and in this love our life is everlasting. Our beginning was when we were made, but the love in which he made us never had beginning. In it we have our beginning"(212).

One last thought. There are more editions of this work than you can shake a stick at. I read the Penguin Classics edition, with an introduction by the translator, Clifton Wolters. His 33 page introduction was a valuable aid for me to understand the broad theme of the book as well as Mother Julian's life and setting. ( )
  StephenBarkley | Jul 19, 2011 |
These accounts of the visions Julian saw are very unique and intense. I admit when I first read her writing, I was a little skeptical, but along my journey as the Holy Spirit leads and guides me, Julian's work comes back to me often... the intensity of how she describes these visions, how she mourns over the agony Christ went through as she becomes more aware of His great sacrafice and more understanding of His awesome divinity next to her humanity. Reading it is a ...startling experience - that's the best way I can describe it. But it's also a helpful way of realizing the magnitude of Christ's work. All the specific teachings/doctrine she shares through these revelations should, of course, be read along with the Scriptures to confirm if these concepts actually align with the teachings and doctrine of the Word.
  Rumien | Jan 18, 2010 |
ST. JULIAN OF NORWICH
  holyfamily | Jan 14, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julian of Norwichprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spearing, A. C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spearing, ElizabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolters, CliftonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This work is by Julian of Norwich and its entries need to be edited to reflect this fact.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140446737, Paperback)

One 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. This "Penguin Classics" edition is translated from Middle English by Elizabeth Spearing, with an introduction and notes by A.C. Spearing. After fervently praying for a greater understanding of Christ's passion, Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-century anchorite and mystic, experienced a series of divine revelations. Through these 'showings', Christ's sufferings were revealed to her with extraordinary intensity, but she also received assurance of God's 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 Julian's initial interpretation of their meaning, and the long text, completed some twenty years later, which moves from vision to a daringly speculative theology. Elizabeth Spearing's translation preserves Julian's 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 (c. 1342 after 1416) was the first woman writer in English. Nothing is known of her background or even her real name, simply that she believed she was a messenger to all Christians because of her 'showings' from God. If you enjoyed "Revelations of Divine Love", you might like "The Cloud of Unknowing", also available in "Penguin Classics".

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:59 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"Written in the 14th century, Revelations of Divine Love is a powerful work of English mysticism. After falling deathly ill, St. Julian received sixteen different mystical revelations; in this splendid work, she describes and reflects upon those revelations. Having received these revelations at a time of great pain for herself, as she lay ill, she focuses on the mysteries of Christianity, in particular, the vast love of God and the existence of evil. She describes the 'motherhood' of God, depicting how God suffers with his creation as it experiences great and multifaceted evil. Nevertheless, she also emphasizes the need to follow God in order to receive the beautiful vision of God in the afterlife. For her deep and penetrating descriptions of God and love, countless readers have found St. Julian's work uplifting, encouraging, and challenging. Revelations of Divine Love astounds readers, engulfing them in a powerful revelation of God's love" -- www.ccel.org… (more)

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