Anniversary Post: Revelations of Divine Love

Julian of NorwichJust a couple of days ago, I wrote, Student Refuses to Do Homework — Claims Religious Persecution. In it, one of the essay questions the young Christian refused to engage with had to do with Julian of Norwich, the 14th century Christian mythic, and how the patriarchy responded to her. Well, it was on this day in 1373, Julian was deathly ill and had the visions that she described in her great work, Revelations of Divine Love.

She had sixteen visions involving Jesus’ passion and the Virgin Mary. After she recovered, she wrote the visions down. She then spent the next two decades meditating on them and wrote them down in an extended form with analysis. It was the first book published in the English language by a woman. Julian lived during times of great disease and death. But as Wikipedia puts it, “[H]er theology was optimistic and spoke of God’s love in terms of joy and compassion, as opposed to law and duty.” That’s my kind of Christian!

Her book was radical for its time. In fact, much of it would be seen as heretical today — especially her feminization of God. But the book was not read all that widely in her lifetime. What’s more, she was probably seen as unworthy of comment, since she was basically a female monk — a religious recluse. So she managed to live well into her 70s. Good for her! And good for us! And most of all: 16 year old Christians should definitely spend time studying her!

Happy anniversary Revelations of Divine Love!

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