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Julian of Norwich

From Academic Kids

Julian of Norwich (c. 1342-c. 1413) is considered to be one of the greatest English mystics. Little is known of her life aside from her writings. Even her name is uncertain, the name "Julian" coming from the Church of St. Julian in Norwich, where she occupied a cell adjoining the church as an anchoress. At the age of thirty, suffering from a severe illness and believing she was on her deathbed, Julian had a series of intense visions. These visions would twenty years later be the source of her major work, called Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love (circa 1393). This is believed to be the first book written by a woman in the English language.

Julian's theology was optimistic, speaking of God's love in terms of joy and compassion as opposed to law and duty (note the famous quote below). For Julian, suffering was not a punishment that God inflicted, but was a means he used to draw us closer to himself. This was different from the prevailing views of her time, which typically saw afflictions like the Plague as divine punishment. Because of her intimations that beyond the reality of hell-fire is yet a greater mystery of God's love, such that "all manner of things shall be well", she has also been referred to as a proto-universalist.

She is commemorated by the Anglican Church on May 8 and by the Roman Catholic Church on May 13.

Works

  • Revelations of Divine Love

External links

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