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Penguin Classics Revelations Of Divine Love [Paperback]

Of Norwich Julian , A Spearing , Elizabeth Spearing
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 29 2003 Penguin Classics
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".

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Product Description


Contributes to the complete picture of Julian of Norwich as an author in that it invites renewed close reading of the Revelation and study of the text in its varied manuscript and textual contexts. REVIEW OF ENGLISH STUDIES --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"I have been reading Lady Julian of Norwich," declares C.S. Lewis in a letter to his former pupil, the Benedictine mystic Bede Griffiths. "A dangerous book, clearly. I'm glad I didn't read it much earlier." Thomas Merton wrote simply, "There can be no doubt that Julian is the greatest of the English mystics."

Few texts have had held such interest or been the object of such enduring devotion as has Julian of Norwich's 14th-century classic A Revelation of Love. This great work--along with The Cloud of Unknowing and Teresa of Avila's The Interior Castle--form the very heart of Western mysticism, and each generation has cherished its beautiful poetry and profound account of a soul's quest for the divine. This new translation of Julian's mystical writings offers today's reader immediate access to this most powerful spiritual of books written in English. Julian's message of God's intimate and enabling love is revealed as both beguiling and inescapable. The poetry and rhythmic structure of the original Middle English text are respected, yet it is given fresh immediacy since it is now rendered in inclusive language for the first time ever. Moreover Julian's key ideas are easily identified-even by newcomers to her unique system of thought-by means of an original and authoritative linking commentary at the head of each key chapter, as well as continuing support from highly informative footnotes and a detailed glossary of the main terms used. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
This is a vision shown, through God's goodness, to a devout woman, and her name is Julian, and she is a recluse at Norwich and is still alive in the year of our Lord 1413; in this vision there are many comforting and very moving words for all those who wish to be lovers of Christ. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Motherhood of God? May 3 2003
CS Lewis said Revelation of Love was the most "dangerous" book he has ever read, dangerous in a positive, life-changing way, not life-threatening way.
God's masculine attributes have been explored, disected, expanded throughout the centuries. He is our Father: the Protector, the Provider, the Discipliner... And it is quite theologically and grammatically correct to refer to God with a masculine title "Him" "He" or "Father". The original Greek in our New Testament and in the translation of the Old Testament into Greek (Septuagint) use masculine pronouns in reference to God. Yet the God who created man, also created woman.
Every attribute that we love about our moms ...; caring, compassionate, gentle, etc can be found in our God. Julian stretches one's view of God, even making one uncomfortable as she makes analogies and comparisons with God's feminine nature that one may be unfamiliar with: "until now and even until Doomsday, He feeds us and helps us, according to the high sovereign kindness of His Motherhood that answers our kindly needs of childhood. Fair and sweet is our heavenly Mother in our soul's sight; precious and lovely are His gracious children in the sight of our heavenly Mother...for a child will never dispair of a mother's love".But she, in no way, goes as far as liberal scholars today who want to change the masculine pronouns in the Bible to neutral ones. All this gender discussion should not hinder one from reading this book.
Julian's words are a fresh, gentle breeze or even sometimes a strong gust, to cool the sweat from faces heated by the serious discussions of doctrines and eschatology
"our Lover desires the soul to stay close to Him with all its strength, clinging ever more tightly to His goodness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Revelation May 4 2001
If you have never read Julian of Norwich before, this is the place to start. If you've read other editions, I think you'll like this translation.
Julian of Norwich wrote her revelations in Middle English, and is perhaps the first woman ever to write a book in the English language. Because Middle English is fairly accessible, what is needed is not so much a translation as a re-casting into modern English. John Skinner does a masterful job of retaining Julian's voice and brings many of her terms over into modern English. Rather than supply the Latinized "union with God" (or even more abstract sounding "divine union") he keeps Julian's own words "our oneing with God," as he does with words such as "again-making" and "dear-worthy" giving a strong sense of actually hearing Julian's own voice.
And what a lovely voice it is. Her language is, as she would say, "homely and courteous," simple yet refined and elegant. Her mind is clear, honest, intelligent, and wise. Although she is often termed a "visionary," the visions that she spent her life pondering happened in a single day. In fact, what she experienced is what modern people would call a "near-death experience." As she lay in a state somewhere between life and death, she saw a series of visions, beginning with an image of Jesus dying slowly on the cross. In my first approach to her writings, I was somewhat put off by the Medieval-ness of what she saw. But, like Julian herself, I needed to press through the first impression, and seek for the meaning that she drew from what she saw.
What most endears Julian to me is that she thinks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Revelation for Today May 27 2002
Mother Julian's message reaches across the years and speaks to contemporary Christian spiritual seekers. Many have heard her famous, "And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." These comforting words are only one of the many jewels to be found in the The Revelation of Love. In particular, I am gently touched by her imagery of Christ as Mother. Having fled the hell-and-brimstone denomination of my youth, Mother Julian affirms that my concept of an all-loving God isn't something we've concocted in recent years to make ourselves feel better.
While Fr. John Julian's translation of this text is my favorite, it is currently out of print. This version is a close second and I highly recommend it to fellow pilgrims.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God as Lover Aug. 20 2000
I enjoyed reading this book. It is an account of 16 visions which appeared to Mother Julian (1342-1416) along with her meditations of the experience. She was a recluse who lived in Norwich in what is now the British Isles. I had not considered the LORD my God as my lover until I learned this from Julian. In her natural style, she explained to me the love God has for each of us. This statement of hers has meant a great deal to me, " Some of us believe that God is almighty, and may do everything; and that he is all wise and can do everything; but that he is all love, and >>will<< do everything - there we draw back. And as I see it, this ignorance is the greatest of all hindrances to God's lovers." I feel that this is a message from which many may benefit, regardless of creed. In addition, I learned a bit about the solitary religious life which was popular in the Middle Ages. If you are interested in learning of the love God has for you, or in the religion of the Middle Ages, this book will be interesting to you.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Revelation of Love
The Showings cannot really be read through quickly! Julian of Norwich has focused upon God's love and mercy and grace come down in Christ. Read more
Published on March 7 2009 by Brian R. Du-cille
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and inspiring
Julian's utter devotion to God amazes me. Sure, the medieval imagery, symbols, and style of writing take a little getting used to--but her intense desire for intimacy with her Lord... Read more
Published on Dec 5 2000 by Marc
3.0 out of 5 stars Wordy and Obtuse
Julian of Norwich, an anchoress from 14th century England who is best known for this theological tract, sets out an interesting belief system in which she concentrates on the... Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2000 by Jeffrey Leach
5.0 out of 5 stars Julian is #1
I really liked her book. She made me feel good inside and she made me smile. I like to smile. My mom says everyone should read her book. Mommy's also helping me write this letter. Read more
Published on Sept. 2 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Work of amazing depth and richness
Julian's work is a rich combination of ascetic, sacramental, and doctrinal theology, presented with a haunting simplicity and charm. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2000 by Elizabeth G. Melillo
4.0 out of 5 stars a classic from the mystical Julian
A review below summed it up well; I'd add mainly that many modern visionaries do suffer experiences of immense gore and anguish, and they could very well find validation of their... Read more
Published on June 2 2000 by Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone's Favorite Mystic
At the time she wrote, Julian's "showings" were not considered completely compatible with Church doctrine. Read more
Published on May 4 2000 by Blazer2020
3.0 out of 5 stars Medieval mystic with a modern message
Juliana of Norwich is very much in vogue these days, the subject of countless weekend retreats, seminars, classes, etc. Read more
Published on May 3 2000 by Ingalls
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