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ANCHORESS AND CARDINAL:

JULIAN OF NORWICH AND ADAM EASTON O.S.B.

LECTURE, NORWICH CATHEDRAL, 1 DECEMBER 1998
 

St Birgitta presents her Revelationes to Christendom, the Cardinal at her right, Adam Easton, O.S.B., of Norwich. From the editio princeps, Lubeck: Ghotan, 1492.

Birgitta of Sweden, Revelationes , Lübeck: Ghotan, 1492

HEN I last visited Norwich /* Alan Oldfield, 'Revelations of Divine Love', owned by Friends of Julian of Norwich, in St Gabriel's Chapel, All Hallows Convent, Ditchingham, Suffolk. Rubricated footnotes with * (doubled for two images), describe the slides used in 1 December 1998 Lecture, Norwich Cathedral./ vergers were telling me of the exhibition held in this Cathedral of vast canvases painted by an Australian painter, Alan Oldfield. They thought it very strange that an Australian from far away and down under would be painting such huge pictures about a mere Norwich girl. Here we see an aged Julian the Anchoress in her cell before her lectern, a cross, a veronica veil - and then through the aperture comes the young handsome Christ in Mary's blue , in Aaron's blue , while beyond the whole cosmos wheels away. Julian is of all time and all space.

Alan Oldfield, 'The Revelations of Julian of Norwich', Friends of Julian of Norwich, St Gabriel's Chapel, Community of All Hallows, Ditchingham, Bungay, Suffolk.

This paper will discuss our anchoress, Julian of Norwich; a lawyer's daughter, Birgitta of Sweden ; a dyer's daughter, Catherine of Siena ; a mayor's daughter, Margery Kempe of Lynn; and a cardinal, Adam Easton , O.S.B., who may have linked them all together in a pan-European textual community, of women, literate and illiterate, who wrote visionary books./1

There are four manuscript versions of Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love ,/2 further copies of two of these,/3 two manuscript fragments,/4 one report of a conversation held with her,/5 and four wills naming her. None of these are written in her own hand. There are no editions in print today that faithfully render what we have of Julian's Showing.

There may however be a manuscript that is written by her, in her own hand, though it is not Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love. It is in Norwich Castle and is a collection of texts written by an anchoress for anchoresses. It is beautiful, beginning with a lovely Gothic letter in gold leaf on a purple ground./6

Norwich Castle Manuscript, fol. 1

/6. Norwich Castle Museum, MS 158.926 4g.5, Theological Treatises in English. The use of gold on purple reflects imperial codices, adopted in Christianity for Bibles, and noted by St Boniface as having been particularly the production of English nuns./

St Birgitta at Prayer, Revelationes , Lübeck: Ghotan, 1492

In the work of editing the Julian manuscripts, published by SISMEL in 2001, I encountered difficulties in dating the versions of her text. In 1990 I asked Westminster Cathedral if I could see their manuscript. the following year, after an awkward silence, for it had been safely placed in a safe and its whereabouts forgotten, then found again, I was told I could come back and edit it./7

The manuscript begins with the date '1368', though it is copied out later than that.

Westminster Cathedral Manuscript, date of '1368', bottom first folio.

It is the second-oldest manuscript we have of Julian's Showing. It has no reference to the death-bed vision of 1373. In it Julian speaks of her desire to die when young, and God tells her this will happen soon. Julian in 1368 was just 25 years old. Yet the theology of this manuscript is brilliant. It opens with the Great O Antiphon, of '{ OUre gracious god ', as Wisdom and Truth, it shows the Nativity of the Word, surrealistically going backwards in time, becoming the Annunciation, the Word within Mary's Soul, like the book within Julian's and our hands. The Long Text refers back to this scene as its First Showing (P8-9,10v, 11-11v,13v-14,47v-48v,128v), which it is not there. It next includes the hazel nut passage, and it quotes again and again from St Gregory's Dialogues on the Life of St Benedict , on how when the soul sees the Creator all that is created seems little. Then it turns that inside out, like the Beatles' pocket, and speaks of God in a point, from Pseudo-Dionysius , the Greek Church Father, and from Boethius , the Latin Church Father. It discourses upon prayer, using Origen and William of St Thierry's Golden Epistle. It talks to us of Jesus as Mother , partly from John Whiterig's Meditationes,/8

reflecting back to that opening of God and Mary being 'oned ' in the Great O Antiphon of Wisdom , rather than the noughting of this world. Throughout is the theme of Wisdom and Truth and the discoursing upon prayer. Julian uses the concept, from Pseudo-Dionysius, Marguerite Porete and Dante Alighieri, of the Holy Trinity, to which this Cathedral is dedicated, having the attributes of Might, Wisdom and Love. I dedicate this talk to God as Almighty, as all Wisdom and as all Love.

The Long Text version of Julian's Showing is copied out abroad, first by Syon Brigittine nuns in exile, then by Cambrai Benedictine English nuns in exile, in four manuscripts and was first printed in 1670. This version is structured as XV+I Showings (lacking as such in W and A) based upon the Crucifix and its bleeding that Julian saw when it was held before her as she and those with her thought she lay dying. Julian says within this version of her text that she wrote it 15-20 years minus three months after that 'death-bed' vision at 30 and a half, on 13 May 1373, thus writing it when she was 45-50, from 1388-February 1393. This version includes the Lord and the Servant Parable. What I especially like about this Long Text is that in the Brigittine Paris Manuscript Christ's words to Julian are given by the scribe in red , like a Red Letter Bible . We hoped to publish our edition of the manuscripts replicating those pages that way for you. Failing that, at least the paperback translation of the manuscripts.

The Short Text of the circa 1435-50 Amherst Manuscript of the Showing says that its one vision, 'Avisioun,' was shown to 'Julyan that is recluse atte Norwyche and 3ett ys oun lyf', and thus 70, its text being written out in 1413.

{ ere es Avisioun. Shewed Be the goodenes of god to Ade=
uoute woman and hir Name es Julyan that is recluse atte
Norwyche and 3itt ys oun lufe. Anno domini millesimo CCCC
xiij [1413]. In the whilke visyou n er fulle many Comfortabylle wordes and
and gretly Styrande to all they that desyres to be crystes looveres.

By Permission of the British Library, Amherst Manuscript, Additional 37,790, fol. 97.

This Showing of Love manuscript version Julian scholars currently believe was written soon after the 'deathbed' vision of 1373, almost forty years earlier than 1413. But Nicholas Watson, in Canada, has been finding that it reflects the greater anxiety typical of that later period, when Chancellor Archbishop Arundel , countering John Wyclif's Lollard Movement, was prohibiting lay people from teaching theology, especially women, and from their using the Bible in the English language./9

In 1401 the death penalty, De Heretico Camburendo, the Burning of Heretics, had been instituted for such teaching, and William Sawtre, Margery Kempe's curate of St Margaret's Church, Lynn, had already been so burned in chains at Smithfield./10 In 1405 Archbishop Richard le Scrope was executed at York, by order of King Henry IV, following a scaffold sermon on the Five Wounds, it taking three blows of the sword to kill him, which Brigittines then took up as part of their propaganda for founding Syon Abbey./11 In 1407-09, Chancellor Archbishop Arundel published his Constitutions , requiring the licensing of preachers and ownership of vernacular Bibles, prohibiting the translating of the Bible into English and limiting writing in the vernacular to such texts as the Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and standard doctrine. In 1411 at the Carfax at Oxford, and in 1413 in front of St Paul's, John Wyclif's books were publically burned. In 1413 there was further alarm as the Lollard Sir John Oldcastle escaped from the Tower and the Oldcastle Rising was in full swing./12 Therefore, given such a context, I concur with Nicholas Watson's observations concerning a later date for the Short Text, and take very seriously indeed the Amherst Manuscript version's own date of 1413, believing that it was written then, or rather dictated to a scribe, by a most courageous Julian at 70.

For in the Short Text Julian seems to comply with Archbishop Arundel's 1407-1409 Constitutions: revising the text; excising swathes of scriptural material; adding and engrossing a sentence on the Pater Noster, the Ave and the Creed (A109v); also adding and engrossing St Cecilia's three neck wounds, seeming to conflate those of the Roman martyr, who went on preaching for three days despite those mortal wounds, with those of the English Archbishop of York Richard le Scrope's three neck wounds at his 1405 execution, saying she has been told of St Cecilia by 'a man of Holy Kirk ', (A97.8-9); speaking of the now-mandatory worshipping of ' Payntyngys of crucefexes', albeit with some distaste (A97.16-17), and protesting she had never meant to teach theology (A101.4-16). The penalty for teaching or writing theology in English from the Bible at this date was death, either by being burned in chains or by hanging, drawing and quartering or both, the crime and the punishment being simultaneously heresy and treason. Such statements would not have been made at an earlier time, either close to 1373 or between 1388-1393, when scriptural study was instead encouraged rather than condemned. Moreoever the coeval Norwich Castle Manuscript complies with writing on the Lord's Prayer, and giving Carmelite Richard Lavenham's doctrinal Treatise on the Seven Deadly Sins. It was around 1413 that Margery Kempe from Lynn visited Julian in her anchorhold at St Julian's and even courageously visited Archbishop Arundel himself at Lambeth Palace, those two talking theology in the Palace's garden under the stars ./13

Sawtre, Margery's curate, had been the first person executed in England during these purges. Margery herself was often imprisoned, put on trial by bishops, and frequently threatened with death. The words of the two texts, Julian's Amherst Showing of Love and The Book of Margery Kempe resonate with each other, almost as if we are listening to Julian in stereo. Both texts speak of God in the city of our soul, the body as its temple. Both thus argue from Paul in the Bible, at the risk of their lives, that their women's bodies do not exclude them from Christ's Church. Both texts quote material concerning the Discernment of Spirits (A114v-115, M21) from Birgitta of Sweden 's Revelationes, in its Epistola Solitarii , written not by Birgitta of Sweden herself, but by her editor, Bishop Hermit Alfonso of Jaén,/14 and echoed in turn in the Defensorium Sanctae Birgittae, written by a Norwich Benedictine, one Adam Easton.

Of interest also is that this Amherst Manuscript, the earliest extant of Julian's Showing of Love, survived because it was safely within the cloisters of Brigittine Syon Abbey and Carthusian Sheen Priory,/15

following that, in the hands of recusant families in England. The earlier exemplars in Norwich were destroyed, likely either by Arundel's Constitutions for being Lollard, or by the Reformation for being Catholic. Though Ian Doyle cannot rule out the possibility that this section of this manuscript was written, as it says, in 1413.

Clustered with Julian's text in the Amherst Manuscript are others of great interest, one of them Marguerite Porete 's Mirror of Simple Souls,/16

who was condemned on the basis of XV Articles by 21 doctors of theology of the university for the writing of that book, her Inquisitors including Victorines, Carmelites, Austin Canons, Cistercians and Benedictines, the Franciscan Nicholas of Lyra among them. Scholars on the Continent now claim that Marguerite Porete 's Mirror of Simple Souls, influenced by Guillaume de Thierry's Golden Epistle and Pseudo-Dionysius' writings, next influenced Meister Eckhart and the Friends of God movement. Another work called the Golden Epistle, Marguerite Porete 's Mirror of Simple Souls, Jan van Ruusbroec 's Sparkling Stone and an extract from Henry Suso 's Horologium Sapientiae, in Middle English are all included with the earliest surviving Julian's Showing text in the Amherst Manuscript.

With this hypothesis, of a woman able to write outstanding theology at 25, in 1368, in the Westminster Manuscript (W); at 45-50, in 1388-1393, in the Paris Manuscript (P); and at 70, in 1413, in the Amherst Manuscript (A), I next sought not just the evidence within her surviving manuscripts, where I first encountered it, but that of her own life's context. /* Fresco, Westminster Abbey, of Benedictine monk in prayer. Westminster and Norwich were both Benedictine houses in the Middle Ages. / And that was when I discovered a similarly brilliant Norwich Benedictine. Let me introduce you to a young working class novice named now Adam Easton , but who wrote his name as 'OESTONE' or 'Eston', perhaps from the village six miles to the west of Norwich, or who could have been 'OEstrewyk', 'Westwick', in Norwich's Jewry, whose inhabitants once paid for the building of this Cathedral, who would have paced the floors of this cathedral, and of this cloister, and read the manuscripts in its library and written manuscripts in its scriptorium./17

Amongst his schoolboy manuscripts are studies of Arabic mathematics and astronomy. One of these, now at Cambridge University Library, has his drawings of how to measure the height of the spire of this Cathedral and of the walls of Norwich Castle, in which these structures are clearly recognizable,/18

___

while also giving Grosseteste's Tractate on Squaring the Circle.

Adam Easton, together with Thomas Brinton, was sent to study at Oxford in 1350 where he was soon teaching the Hebrew of the Old Testament. He also discovered during this period the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius , who was thought in the Greek and Latin Churches to be the Dionysius converted by Paul on the Areopagus in Athens, together with the woman Damaris, in Acts 17./19

Actually Pseudo-Dionysius is a Syrian theologian, who lived several centuries later, and who pretended to be the converted Athenian Dionysius. That's why we call him 'Pseudo-Dionysius'. He wrote marvellous but flawed theology. He invented, for instance, the most un-Christian word and concept, 'hierarchy '. Unlike Christ's Gospels, he believed intensely in hierarchies in the Church and among Angels. For this reason Emperors and Kings, both East and West, sought his collected Works and propagated them in manuscripts, one of which Adam Easton himself owned. It's a beautiful manuscript, in Latin and Greek, and the prayer to the Trinity as Wisdom is illuminated with a most lovely Romanesque
  in gold leaf, lapis lazuli blueand leafy green intertwines./20

Recall that the Kings of France are buried at the Benedictine Abbey of St Denis outside Paris, the French believing that this St Dionysius, their patron, St Denis, had written the theology Adam and Julian used, and even that he was also the martyred Apostle to France, who was beheaded on Montmartre, then picked up his head and carried it about, all as well as having been Paul's convert in Athens! The Gothic style, and its later ramifications, which this Cathedral and East Anglian churches came to use, /* Walsingham's Slipper Chapel, which survived the Reformation. I photographed it on pilgrimage there./ and which I showed at the lecture with a slide of Walsingham's Slipper Chapel, but which I can illustrate here with the cathedral itself in which this lecture was given,

_

Walsingham, Slipper Chapel                 Norwich Cathedral, West Nave and Window

began at the Benedictine Abbey of St Denis in response to Pseudo-Dionysius' Neoplatonist delight in hierarchy, mirroring it in stone tracery and glass. Similarly the Victorine monks poured over Pseudo-Dionysius, weaving from the text an elaborate theology, Easton himself being thoroughly immersed in the writings of Hugh and Andrew of St Victor on the priesthood. Abelard, alone, himself a monk of St Denis, observed the fraudulence of all this legendary material - for which he was not popular. The King of France's authority and the hierarchy of the French church and state greatly depended upon it. Interestingly, Julian does not like hierarchies but speaks instead of our 'even-Christians'. Nor does she appreciate the way clerks revere the ranks of angels, and she says so in the Showing of Love (P166v), in what is perhaps a dig at Pseudo-Dionysius, Adam Easton and Walter Hilton , all of whom were writing on angelic hierarchies, Julian speaking instead of our 'oneing' as Adam, directly with God, who created us in that image, which is his own.

Adam Easton was very happy at Oxford. Arabic mathematics, Hebrew philology, and Greek theology suited him fine. He was fascinated with time and eternity, with how to measure smaller and smaller amounts of time. He was also intrigued by time's immensity and writes out dates in arabic numerals, including those we would expect, 1368, 1373, but going on to not just our year 2000, but the years 40,000, 80,000, 100,000. He hated wasting time. Julian shares that concern (P134,141v,160v). Adam Easton was as well deeply versed in spirituality. A Benedictine student who overlapped with Adam Easton at Oxford was John Whiterig , who later became a Hermit on Farne Island, writing on St Cuthbert, and in the Meditationes, on Jesus as Mother, which Julian will quote in her Showing. Amongst Easton's lost Dionysan/Victorine writings, perhaps destroyed at the Reformation, are a work on the 'The Perfection of the Spiritual Life', and translations into the vernacular./21

He lived an active life as teacher and diplomat but yearned, too, like John Whiterig , to be a solitary, a hermit, an anchorite. I believe he was to make Julian be his contemplative surrogate while he paced corridors of power.

However, the Bishop of Norwich wanted him back from Oxford, along with a fellow Benedictine, ' Jo', likely the brilliant John Stukley. In 1352, Adam wrote to the Pope begging to be allowed to continue working towards his degree, appealing against his Bishop./22

The Prior of this Cathedral next demanded he and Thomas Brinton return and that they bring back with them all their books and plate. Benedictines must obey their Abbot or Prior as if he were Christ. So Adam and Thomas now dutifully came back to Norwich and were here from 1356 to 1363./23 The Prior needed Adam Easton and Thomas Brinton to preach to the Norwich laity to woo them back from the Franciscans and the Dominicans, from the Carmelites and the Augustinians, who were becoming far too powerful and casting this vast Benedictine Cathedral into the shadows./24 We learn that the sermons of the two young men were lively and well-attended by the laity. Adam's sermons could have included such material as Pseudo-Dionysius on God in a point , on God as 'I am' (Julian's 'I it am '), on God as Mother , on the Bible text translated directly from Hebrew into Middle English, and on the Trinity as Might, Wisdom and Love. All of this material is in Julian's '1368' Westminster Manuscript . During this period Easton copied out polemical works against the Franciscans, even illuminating in one of them grey-clad Franciscans, black-and-white clad Dominicans, white-clad Carmelites and grey-clad Augustinians, with devils at their throats./25 Finally he was able to return to Oxford being Prior of Students there, 20 September 1366./26 We have a huge bill paid for the shipping by wagon of the manuscripts, 113 shillings and threpence./27 Julian's largest legacy, from Isabelle, Countess of Suffolk, was a mere 20 shillings. Among those manuscripts would have been Pseudo-Dionysius' Works, Origen on Leviticus, perhaps one by Rabbi David Kimhi on Hebrew philology, in Hebrew,/28 Next, and now addressed as 'Master', Adam Easton left Norwich to work for Cardinal Langham at Avignon where the Pope was then residing. It was at Avignon that Master Adam Easton came to own John of Salisbury's Policraticus, now at Balliol, by writing it out himself./29 Julian will use its political language again and again in her 1388-1393 Long Text. Adam Easton was professionally jealous of his Oxford colleague, John Wyclif, and wrote to the Benedictines at Westminster Abbey asking that they send him reports on Wyclif's Oxford lectures against the Benedictines./30 Wyclif and Julian were for Gospel equality, Easton for Dionysian hierarchy. While at the Papal Curia in Avignon and later in Rome, when the learned and ambitious Adam Easton himself became Cardinal, he came to know Birgitta of Sweden and Catherine of Siena , and learned to admire them for their visionary writings. Perhaps because he already knew of a Norwich lass, writing a similar book. And perhaps because he already knew of Birgitta's Revelationes .

Diptych of Bishop Hemming of Turku, Birgitta of Sweden, Urdiala, Finland

At this point we need to voyage across the Northern Sea to Scandinavia, to Finland and Sweden. /* Urdiala, Finland, Diptych of Bishop Hemming of Åbo, Finland, being mitred by an angel, and Birgitta of Sweden, in the act of writing the Revelationes . For a study of Birgitta in art, especially as writing her Revelationes , see Mereth Lindgren, Bilden av Birgitta (Hoganas: Wiken, 1991)./ This diptych shows Bishop Hemming of Abo, Finland, and Birgitta of Sweden , whom he encouraged to write her Revelationes, her visions. Birgitta was a Swedish noblewoman, mother of eight children, widowed young, who had had an important vision in Arras in France when returning from pilgrimage to Compostela in 1342, the year Julian was born, and in which St Dionysius had spoken to Birgitta of the need for peace between the Kings Philip VI of France and Edward III of England./31

Birgitta even sent envoys from Sweden to the Kings of England and of France and to the Pope, in 1347-1348, pleading for peace in Europe and the end to the Hundred Years' War, those envoys including Prior Petrus and this Bishop Hemming , who conveyed the text of her visions, the Revelationes, or Showings, introduced by Magister Mathias , a Swedish scholar who had studied Hebrew in Paris./32 /* Manuscript illumination, Birgitta of Sweden's Revelationes, Book V./ Magister Mathias was brilliant, filled with doubts, and Birgitta proceeded to teach him his theology, writing this out in her vision of the ladder in Book V, the 'Book of Questions ', of the Revelationes, which came to her while journeying to the King's Palace at Vadstena, to be given to her for her convent. Julian, and her editor, will quote this text in her Long Text and Short Text Showing of Love (P59,93,153-155v, A107).

St Birgitta, Revelationes V, Book of the Questions, Doubting Monk (Magister Mathias) on Ladder, Nurenberg: Anton Koberger, 1500.

Thus England had already known of a woman's text called the Revelationes, the Showings, twenty years before Julian's hypothetical writing of the initial version of her Revelations or Showings./* Hans Memling, 'John Writing Revelation on the Island of Patmos', St John's Hospital, Bruges./

Hans Memling, St John Writing Revelation, St John's Hospital, Bruges

Birgitta's Revelationes are modeled upon John's Revelation, the Book of the Apocalypse, but written by a woman instead of a man. including the theme of theological doubting by men, countered by women's faith. It is also likely that those Baltic envoys disembarked at one of the Norfolk ports like Lynn. (In 1415 the Swedish Brothers and Sisters from Vadstena's Abbey so came to help Henry IV/Henry V found the English Brigittine Syon Abbey where Julian's manuscripts were to be so carefully preserved, Katillus Thorberni, coming from Vadstena on preparatory mission in England, 1408.) Perhaps the embassy visited Norwich, then the second largest city in England, on their way to King Edward III. The young Benedictine, Adam Easton, had not at that date left Norwich Cathedral Priory for Oxford University. Prior Petrus and Bishop Hemming could have been here, within these very cathedral walls, with that early version of Birgitta's Revelationes or Showings in their hands .


Spanish Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence         X See detail below

/** 'Via Veritatis' fresco, Spanish Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence, of Birgitta's prophecy of Pope and Emperor meeting, as they did in 1368, with Birgitta as black and white clad widow, her beautiful, simply-clad, daughter, Catherine of Sweden, beside the crowned Queen Joanna of Naples and behind Lapa Acciaiuoli, extreme right./ During the Black Death Birgitta herself left Sweden herself and came to Italy in 1350. In this political allegory painted on the walls of the Spanish Chapel in Santa Maria Novella, in Florence, we can see to the extreme right Catherine of Siena , Birgitta of Sweden , her daughter Catherine of Sweden, Queen Joanna of Naples and Lapa Acciaiuoli, sister of Nicolo Acciaiuoli, who out of his guilt for his sins, had built the vast monastery of Certosa outside of Florence and who had died in Birgitta's presence, 8 November 1366./33


Queen Joan of Naples, Catherine of Sweden, Birgitta of Sweden, Lapa Acciauoli

Birgitta continued writing her Revelationes, her Showings, throughout her whole long life, now with the assistance and oversight of a Spanish Bishop become Hermit, Alfonso of Jaén, who first was drawn into her circle in 1368, the year that Birgitta of Sweden succeeded in bringing both Pope Urban V from Avignon and the Emperor Charles from Prague, to Rome.
 


St Birgitta, Revelationes, Nurenberg: Anton Koberger, 1500.
 
 

Birgitta of Sweden gives her completed Revelationes to her editor, Bishop Hermit Alfonso of Jaen, the friend and associate of Cardinal Adam Easton, Benedictine of Norwich, from Lubeck: Ghotan, 1492 editio princeps.

/** Illuminated manuscript page in Siena, showing Birgitta in the act of writing the Revelationes, within the Revelationes./ Another illustration of Birgitta in the act of writing comes from a manuscript written for Cristofano Di Gano, one of St Catherine of Siena 's disciples and scribes, giving the entire Revelationes of St Birgitta, translated into Sienese Italian and today still in Siena;/34 while Christopher Di Gano's translation into Latin of Catherine's Dialogo in Sienese Italian will come to England and eventually be printed as The Orcherd of Syon./35 Another disciple to Catherine of Siena , and indeed her executor, was the Englishman, William Flete , who became an Augustinian Hermit at Lecceto, outside Siena, who had, like Walter Hilton , been educated at Cambridge,/36 Julian quotes from Flete again and again in the W,P,A Showing of Love.

Master Adam Easton returned again to England and Norwich that same year, with a letter from Pope Urban V to Edward III, dated 3 May, 1368. He was back in Avignon in 1369. Julian's Westminster Cathedral Showing version of her text was perhaps written in 1368. I have told of its lovely opening invoking ' {O Ure gracious and good lord ', and its vision of the Virgin at the Nativity and the Annunciation, spoken of in the Long Text as the First Showing (P128v).

Then we move into her most moving vision. /* Michelangelo's David's hand, which is his own./

Hebrew has the letter that begins God's name, and Jerusalem's and Judea's and Joshua's and Jesus's and Julian's be the smallest letter of all yod, - and be the letter that means ' hand '.

/* God holding Cosmos He has created, as a fragile glass orb./

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We have in medieval iconography the image of God holding in his hand all that is, the entire universe of which he is king, the whole cosmos as a ball, even as a fragile glass ball, surmounted by a cross. /* Richard II, Coronation Portrait, Westminster Abbey./

Similarly Richard II and Elizabeth II and countless other kings and queens have held orbs, the globe with the cross of Jerusalem at its top, in their imaging of God at their Coronation. But here it is not God or Edward III who holds all this fragile globe, this blue marble astronauts see from space.

It is Julian the Anchoress, and she holds in her hand a small thing, the quantity of an hazelnut , and she is told generally in her understanding - by God - that it is all that is made.

Julian, like Wisdom in Proverbs 8, like Gregory on Benedict , is playing with God marvellous sacred cosmic games of proportion. And she and God invite us to join in. Easton wrote that Adam was the first High Priest. We are the Royal Priesthood, priests and kings, each of us, being descended from Adam, in Julian's thought.

In the following year 1370 Birgitta of Sweden presented Pope Urban V and Cardinal Beaufort, who was to become the next Pope, Gregory XI, another edition of her massive book, the Revelationes , or Showings, and in that year the Dominican Thomas Stubbes and the Carmelite Richard Lavenham were lecturing on Birgitta's Revelationes or Showings at Oxford./37

In that year, too, the Pope appointed Henry le Despenser Bishop of Norwich who had fought beside Sir John Hawkwood in Italy. /* Fresco by Paolo Ucello in Duomo, Florence, of Sir John Hawkwood. Florence had agreed to pay Sir John Hawkwood in part with a marble equestrian statue in his honour. They only half-honoured that debt with a seeming marble statue./

So we now begin to see that Julian's homely Norwich is really pan-European, with important links to Scandinavia and to Italy. The Italians call Sir John Hawkwood, 'Gianni Acuto', whom we see here in the fresco by Paolo Ucello in Florence's Cathedral, the Duomo. /** Ambrogio Lorenzetti's frescoes of Siena at Peace and War, in the second where condottieri, hired mercenary soldiers, are about to commit rape./ In Siena's Sala della Pace we can see Ambrogio Lorenzetti's depiction of Siena at Peace, and of Siena at War, during warfare waged by these English condottieri. Terry Jones in Chaucer's Knight describes them well. St Catherine of Siena was so appalled at their brutality that she wrote to Sir John Hawkwood begging that he take such soldiers as Henry le Despenser away from Christian Tuscany and have them wage a Crusade instead against the Saracen. This enthronement as bishop of a condottiere came about because the Pope received word of the previous Bishop of Norwich's death while Henry le Despenser was standing before him and whom he had to pay. He did so with the Bishopric, and constantly called upon Bishop le Despenser to wage Crusades against fellow Christians who had elected an opposing Pope to himself. It is not likely that Bishop le Despenser, who was unlettered and martial, would have initially allowed Julian to become an Anchoress in the Anchorhold at St Julian's Church in Norwich. St Julian's Anchorhold and Church were under the patronage of the Benedictine nuns of Carrow Priory which in turn was under the patronage of the Benedictine monks of Norwich Cathedral Priory./38

The Benedictines of Norwich Cathedral Priory and Bishop le Despenser thoroughly hated each other and were only reconciled years later. It is at this point we find the first references to Julian as being left money in wills to carry out her work of prayer at St Julian's. She may have earned her keep earlier, as had been typical for anchoresses, in teaching children their ABC and their Catechism. Under Archbishop Chancellor Arundel's Constitution such teaching came to be forbidden by the laity.

In 1371-1373 Cardinal Simon Langham and Master Adam Easton were asked by Pope Gregory XI to work on peace between England and France, /39

in accordance with Birgitta of Sweden 's 1342 Revelation, which is copied out in English manuscripts, giving St Dionysius speaking to Birgitta in Arras of the need for peace between the Kings of France and England. We have further evidence of Easton's presence in England at this time./40 Easton would again have returned to his mother house, Norwich Cathedral Priory, around 1371-1373. He could even have been the 'religious person' at Julian's supposed deathbed, in May of 1373, for that is the term typically used of a Benedictine monk living under vows of religion. Julian tells us that when she told this person of her vision, of the Crucifix 'bleeding fast', he suddenly stopped laughing and took her very seriously indeed, of which she was greatly ashamed (P141v, A111v). Adam Easton at this time would have taken very seriously indeed a woman's vision, especially of the Crucifix, /* St Birgitta's Vision of the Crucifix Which Spoke to Her. Its iconography collapses the 'Crucifix in San Damiano Speaking to St Francis', with 'St Francis Receiving the Stigmata at L'Averna'./ for that was a most famous and recent vision his friend Birgitta of Sweden had had, of the Crucifix which spoke to her at St Paul's Outside the Walls at Rome, in 1368. But he would not have been the appropriate person to whom she could then make her confession concerning the Discernment of Spirits , and she is greatly troubled about making that confession.

Yet Julian's vision in Norwich is quite different from that of Birgitta's 1368 vision in Rome. As she gazed upon the Crucifix Julian began to see the blood flow from the garland of thorns about Christ's head. She describes it as like the rain upon thatched eaves - and we know that St Julian's Church roof was thatched at this time - /41

/** Medieval Norwich's riverfront Dragon warehouse./ and she describes it also as like the scales of herring that would have been brought up the river so near to her church and along whose shores merchants built vast storage barns. Along that street also parchment was made for use by monks and friars and such like who would have been literate in Julian's day in Norwich. The parchment for Julian's own book, her Showing, would have been bought by her maid in that street. For Julian's maids Sara and Alice are named in wills made in her favour. She herself was enclosed and could do no shopping. One of the maids in turn perhaps became an anchoress, Alice Hermit, leaving a silver chalice to a Norwich church in her will. Julian simply refuses to make her crucifix vision political in the way that Birgitta of Sweden does. Instead she has it be homely and familiar, likening it to rain and herring. And she also evades it, distancing herself from it, speaking in the Amherst Manuscript even, like a Lollard, like the executed William Sawtre, Margery Kempe's St Margaret's chaplain, with distaste of the now legally mandated prayers to 'paintings of crucifixes'/42 Julian also describes what she saw in relation to the Veronica Veil shown to pilgrims in Rome's Vatican Basilica on Good Friday. Sister Ritamary Bradley suggests from her words that Julian had actually travelled to Rome and seen this precious relic. If she had so travelled to Rome she would have likely stayed under the aegis of Cardinal Adam Easton and his household, composed of many people from Norwich, as we see from his Roman will, and which was headquartered at his titular church of St Cecilia in Trastevere. Much of that church has been altered. But to this day one can see in its crypt the ruins of a Roman house and bath with hot springs, the Sudatorium which features in the legend of Cecilia's martyrdom, the fine Byzantine apse showing the togaed Christ with scroll, Christ as Teacher, flanked by Paul and Peter, by Cecilia and Valerian, and by Pope Pascal I (816-821) carrying the model of this church, and St Agatha, whom Pascal made co-patroness of this church, as well as medieval buildings more in English, than in Italian, style, clustering about the now Baroqued Basilica.

In Julian's day an entire series of frescoes existed giving the life and miracles of St Cecilia , the marriage feast of Valerian and Cecilia, Cecilia having Valerian seek Pope Urban I, Valerian riding to Urban, Valerian's baptism, the angel crowning Valerian and Cecilia, Cecilia converting her executioner, Cecilia in the bath, the execution of Cecilia, her burial, then Pascal's dream, of which only the last fresco survives, copies of those which were destroyed being kept in the Barberini Library. Pope Pascal I described how he had a vision in St Peter's of St Cecilia where she appeared to him in golden robes telling him of her burial place, beside her husband and brother-in-law, in St Callixtus' Catacombs. He found them and brought them to her church the following day, reburying her there as she was. A sixteenth-century Cardinal then exhumed her, finding her incorrupt lying on her side robed in gold tissue, and commissioned Maderno, likewise an eyewitness, to sculpt her so. The mosaic similarly garbed Christ, Cecilia, Pascal and Agatha in cloth-of-gold./43

St Cecilia, mosaic at Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, commissioned by Pope Pascal I, on finding her incorrupt body at St Callixtus

In the Renaissance that body was again found to be incorrupt and Stephano Maderna sculpted it so, the head turned in shame, the sword wounds upon its neck:

If Julian had been a pilgrim guest at Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, walking beside the Tiber to Vatican St Peter's one Good Friday, these Roman memories would have heightened her use of the Veronica Veil, St Cecilia's martyrdom of three neck wounds and her three days' preaching,

and Julian's own ever-present theme of Christ as Teacher,/44 of Christ as Master, the Galilean/Palestinian 'Master Jesus', shadowed by that of her Norwich/ Oxford /Avignon/Rome Master Adam, become Cardinal of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere and supporter of Birgitta of Sweden.

Birgitta of Sweden died the same year and in the month following Julian's illness, 23 June 1373, the vigil of Mary Magdalen, following her return from Jerusalem in Rome, /* St Birgitta's board for writing and eating, sleeping and dying, today still preserved in the room in which she lived and died in Rome./

her body first being laid upon this board upon which she customarily ate and wrote the Revelationes, /* Birgitta's Shrine in the Blue Church at Vadstena, Sweden./

then brought home to Sweden and laid to rest in this sumptuous shrine at Vadstena where her monastery was founded. Catherine of Siena was examined by the Dominicans in that year in the Spanish Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence, amidst its frescoes of herself, her friend Catherine of Sweden and of Birgitta of Sweden. Birgitta's director and her appointed executor, the Hermit Bishop Alfonso of Jaén, gave Birgitta's Revelationes to Pope Gregory XI and was next appointed by the Pope to serve as Catherine of Siena's director./45

At which point the illiterate Catherine miraculously began writing, or rather dictating, sometimes to three secretaries at once, letters to Popes and Emperors and even to our King Richard II and to the Englishman Sir John Hawkwood, the martial Bishop of Norwich's former companion as condottiere in Italy. Catherine of Siena, like Birgitta, next composed a theological visionary work, the Dialogo,/46 a copy of which which was brought here to England, likely by Adam Easton who knew her, and translated into Middle English, perhaps by Easton himself who is noted to have made such translations: 'De communicatione ydiomatum', 'De diversitate translationum', 'De perfectione vite spiritualis'. /* Engraving in printed Orcherd of Syon of St Catherine of Siena receiving divine doctrine, reflecting her receiving the Stigmata, Santa Cristina, Pisa, 1375./ , later to be printed as The Orcherd of Syon by Wynken de Worde for Syon Abbey./47

Transcription: Here begynneth the boke of dyuyne doctryne. That is to/ saye of goddes techyng. Gyuen by the person of god the fa/der to the intelleccyoun of the gloryous vyrgyne seynt Kathe-/ryn of Seene/ of the ordre of seynt Domynycke. Which was/ wryte n as she endyted in her moder tongue. Wha n she was in con/templacyon & rapt of spyryte she herynge actualy. And inthe same/ tyme she tolde before many what our lorde god spake in her.

And here foloweth the fyrst/ chapytre of this boke. Which/ is how the soule of this mayde/ was oned to god & how then she/ made .iiii. petycyons to oure/ lorde in that tyme of contem/placyon and of the answere/ of god and of moche other do/ctryne: as it is specyfyed in the/ kalender before. Capt.1.

A soule that is reysed up/ with heuenly and/ ghostly desyers & af-/feccyo n s to the worshyp/ of god 000& to the helthe/ of mannes soules with a greate . . .

________

The Orcherd of Syon (Westminster: Wynken de Worde, 1519), Catherine of Siena's Dialogo in Middle English, its colophon: 'a ryghte worshypfull and deuoute gentylman mayster Rycharde Sutton esquyer stewarde of the holy monastery of Syon fyndynge this ghostely tresure these dyologes and reuelacions . . . of seynt Katheryne of Sene in a corner by itselfe wyllynge of his greate charyte it sholde come to lyghte that many relygyous and deuoute soules myght be releued and haue comforte therby he hathe caused at his greate coste this booke to be prynted'.


In 1379 Alfonso of Jaén, 3 March, Adam Easton, 9 March, and Catherine of Sweden, Birgitta's daughter,10 March, all testified on behalf of the validity of Pope Urban VI's election./48

Adam Easton presented to Pope Urban VI his magnum opus, the Defensorium Ecclesiastice Potestatis, 'The Defense of Ecclesiastical Power', based on Dionysian hierarchies, /* Dante Alighieri in a fresco painted by Andrea del Castagno for the Cenacolo of Sant'Apollinare, Florence./ and for which he read - and countered - Dante Alighieri . It ends with the Augustinian, 'Thou hast created us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts can find no rest, until they rest in Thee', a passage Julian uses in the Westminster and subsequent Showings (W75-75v,P10,A99v-100). In that same year Alfonso of Jaén wrote the Epistola Solitarii, in defence of Birgitta's visions, and he edited her entire Revelationes, in preparation for her canonization. The material of Alfonso of Jaén's Epistola Solitarii on the discernment of spirits is found in William Flete 's pre-1379 Remedies Against Tempations; in the Cloud Author 's treatises on Discernment of Spirits; in the treatise on Catherine of Siena found in East Anglian Cloud manuscripts;/49 in Adam Easton's 1390 Defensorium Sanctae Birgittae; in the Chastising of God's Children ;/50 The Epistola solitarii also exists translated into Middle English in a Norfolk manuscript of Birgitta's Revelationes./51 Catherine of Siena , the Dominican Tertiary, died in 1380, equally revered by Romans as had been Birgitta of Sweden. At her death she was surrounded by her disciples, women and men, and with her mother at her side, a scene strongly evoking that of 1373 at Julian's 'deathbed' in our Norwich.

In 1381 Adam Easton was made a Cardinal and given the Basilica of St Cecilia in Trastevere in Rome./52

Liber Regalis, Westminster Abbey, likely written by Cardinal Adam Easton with Bohemian artists when arranging for Pope Urban VI the marriage and coronation of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia, daughter of the Emperor Charles of Bohemia of the Santa Maria Novella fresco.

/* Manuscript illumination in the Liber Regalis, Westminster Abbey./ As Cardinal, Adam Easton worked to effect the marriage/coronation between his King of England, Richard II, with Anne of Bohemia, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles of Bohemia. This manuscript, the 1382 Liber Regalis illuminated by a Bohemian artist, which is still used for the coronations of our Queens and Kings, shows Richard and his consort Anne in Benedictine Westminster Abbey./53

The theology of the Liber Regalis is Adam Easton's, speaking of how the Abbot of Westminster must instruct the King in humility, and basing it upon Hebrew narratives of prophets and anointed kings, speaking of Aaron, Nathan and Zadok, the Epistle to the Hebrews, Jerome, Pseudo-Dionysius and the Victorines. /* Wilton Diptych, National Gallery, London./

The exquisite Wilton Diptych, again likely by Bohemian artists, shows Richard II in prayer, kneeling on the ground in a wilderness before his patrons, John the Baptist, Edward the Confessor and St Edmund Martyr. /* Frontispiece to Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge./

While yet another shows Geoffrey Chaucer reading his Troilus and Criseyde to Richard II. In that same year Adam Easton was appointed as one of three cardinals to have oversight of Birgitta's cause for canonization, and it was noted that, either then or more likely later, 'he was prepared to risk his theological reputation over the matter, in order to further a cause in which he believed, and moreover, one in which he was personally convinced './54

In 1377 the townsfolk of Lynn had rebelled against, routed and wounded the Lord Bishop Henry le Despenser of Norwich because he insisted on their Mayor's mace being borne before him as he entered the city gates./55 The particular mayor in question was one John Brunham, father of our Margery Kempe . In 1381 the Bishop of Norwich, true to form, acted swiftly to quell the Peasants' Revolt./56 The bishop, Thomas Walsingham tells us, 'dressed as a knight, wearing an iron helm and a solid hauberk impregnable to arrows as he wielded a real two-edged sword ', though clergy were forbidden to use more than a mace when fighting. Walsingham goes on to compare ' the warlike-priest to a wild boar gnashing its teeth, neither sparing himself nor his enemies '. In particular he oversaw the execution of the Peasants' Norwich leader, the dyer John Litester, the acclaimed 'King of the Commons', and the idol of the people, hearing his confession, and holding up his head during the drawing, before Litester's execution by being next hanged and quartered. Let me show some paintings of Crucifixes ./** Westminster Abbey fresco, contemporary with initial slide of Benedictine monk at prayer, and of a later Westminster Abbey manuscript illumination, contemporary with Adam Easton./ These are from Benedictine Westminster Abbey, the first a thirteenth-century fresco by St Faith's Chapel,

the second an illumination in a manuscript owned by Westminster's Benedictine Abbot Nicholas Lytlington between 1382-1386. /** The Norwich Cathedral Despenser Retable.

__
Despenser Retable, Norwich Cathedral

/ The Bishop of Norwich commissioned this commemorative retable, Sheila Upjohn notes, following Litester's execution. It is now restored to Norwich Cathedral for which it was originally intended after having spent some centuries as a table bottom following the Reformation. Apparantly someone discovered it in 1847 because he dropped a pencil during a meeting, crawled under the table to retrieve it - then looked up to see this gold-leafed splendour./57

Here I continue Sheila Upjohn's perception. Julian describes the head of Christ having the skin torn as if it had been dragged along the road - the medieval form of execution being preceded by the drawing of the victim along the street, as was done to Litester. Julian describes the drying of Jesus' body as it hangs upon the cross - far more like that of a body strung up for many days upon the gallows, drying in the Norfolk wind and the cold, than Jesus' Crucifixion of but six hours in Jerusalem. When I look at Bishop Despenser's retable I seem to see Despenser portrayed in the image of Pilate, Litester, the 'King of the Commons', in the image of Christ. The following year the Norfolk people attempted to revolt again and to kill their Bishop, but the Revolt was again swiftly put down. /* Engraving of John Wyclif, Julian's contemporary./ The Blackfriars Council, the 'Earthquake Council', instigated by Adam Easton and mentioned by Julian in the Showing (P158-158v), condemned Wyclif's writings, because Wyclif had condemned Benedictine wealth, John Wyclif dying at Lutterworth the following year. Wyclif was for equality, Easton for hierarchy, Wyclif for translating the Bible from Latin into English, Easton for translating the Bible from Hebrew into Latin, the Norwich Carmelite John Bale noting of him, 'Iste multa opuscula edidisse per ea tempora perhibetur, ac Biblia tota ab hebreo in latinum transtulisse'. Julian seems to mediate between them.

Then, for Adam Easton, on 11 January 1385 disaster struck. Pope Urban VI in his paranoia against his corrupt cardinals even punished those who were loyal to him, for their just criticism of his errors. Six cardinals were hurled into a dungeon at Nocera and cruelly tortured. One of them was our Norwich Benedictine, Cardinal Adam Easton of England. Immediately King Richard II, the English Benedictine Congregation, Oxford University and the English Parliament wrote letters in defense of Cardinal Adam Easton, begging that the Pope bind up his wounds with wine and oil (referring to the Good Samaritan Parable) and restore him to liberty and his Cardinalate./58

Pope Urban VI had to flee 20 August to Genoa by ship, and on his arrival, 23 September, the other five Cardinal prisoners had disappeared, executed at sea. Easton, despite those passionate pleas, and despite his own continuing loyalty to the Pope, remained a prisoner until the following Pope's accession in 1389, nearly five years. At least his life was saved.

While in that dungeon awaiting death and so terribly injured from torture Easton had prayed that if he were to be spared he would work for the canonization of St Birgitta of Sweden , who had died twelve years earlier, in the year of and the month after Julian's Showing, and for whose cause for canonization he had been given responsibility with two other cardinals in 1382. When he was released he immediately made his way back to Norwich with the necessary documentation, including the massive illuminated Revelationes or Showings she had written. We have the bills for the shipping of his books to Norwich through Flanders, Norwich Cathedral Priory Master paying 48s 7d, the Almoner 10s 'pro cariagio librorum domini cardinalis', the Benedictine Prior of Lynn contributing 20s ' circa libros domini Ade de Eston'./59

Remember that Julian's very largest bequest was a mere 20s. This is the evidence that in 1389-1390 Cardinal Adam Easton returned home, here to Norwich Cathedral Priory, and in this cloister he set to work writing the Defensorium Sanctae Birgittae, the Defense of St Birgitta, the document for her canonization, sent next to Pope Boniface IX, to the Brigittine Abbess in Vadstena, Sweden, and to Bishop Hermit Alfonso of Jaén 'Et illum libellum per articulos declaratos transmisi domino Alphonso eius devoto ad Ianuam isto anno ', in February 1390, whom he does not yet know has died in Genoa, 19 August 1389./60 I learned of those bills because I was sitting across the table from Joan Greatrex in Cambridge University Library. I was admiring Easton's beautiful Dionysius manuscript with its lovely green leafy and gold leaf Gothic {T~ for the invocation to the Trinitas and she was working on Benedictine archival records throughout England.

The Devil's Advocate for the cause for the canonization, a Perugian theologian, using Nicholas of Lyra 's 1310 XV Articles against Marguerite Porete , had argued in XLI Articles that women are unworthy to have visions of God. (Margery Kempe similarly had such Articles placed against her by theologians.) Cardinal Adam Easton countered that claim, using Nicholas of Lyra dialectically in his Defensorium Sanctae Birgittae, speaking of the Old Testament women prophetesses, of the Holy Women at the Tomb who had the vision of the Resurrection and who were the Apostles to the Apostles of that Good News, the Gospel, which the disciples considered but ' idle tales ', and of Philip's four virgin daughters in Acts 21 who were all prophetesses. He continues by speaking of the Virgin Saints like Agnes (to whom St Peter appeared in a vision),

St Agnes, mosaic commissioned by Pope Honorius (625-638), and seen daily by Birgitta when in Rome, the saint often appearing to her in visionary sacred conversations, consoling her for instance for her Latin and teaching her that language. She promises Birgitta a crown like her own in this mosaic.

Detail of above mosaic

Agatha and Cecilia (co-patrons of his Cardinalate Basilica in Trastevere), all of whom are named in the Canon of the Mass. He next speaks of Peter's ' Quo vadis' vision of Christ at Rome, and Thomas' vision of Christ in Jerusalem. He speaks of women's far greater faith than men, the men denying and doubting Christ, the women staying at the cross. He states that women's visionary books are valid in the eyes of the Church. Consequently Birgitta of Sweden was canonized a saint in Rome, 7 October 1391, at which ceremony, Margaret Harvey tells us, Cardinal Adam Easton was present. Marguerite Porete's Mirror of Simple Souls is included with Julian's Showing in the Amherst Manuscript. Adam Easton's Defensorium, echoed in the Amherst's Showing conclusion, was as a concluding imprimatur to manuscripts of the Revelationes, but was replaced in the editio princeps by Turrecremata's Defense, penned following the 1433 Council of Basel. Nevertheless the Prior of Norwich present at that Council continued Norwich's interest in the saint./61

Our Norwich Benedictine Cardinal Adam Easton was here in 1389-1391. Indeed it is likely he, who as a ' man of Holy Kirk', (A97.8-9), told not only the Pope of Rome, the Abbess of Vadstena, the Bishop Hermit Alfonso of Jaen whom he thought was at Genoa, but also Julian here in Norwich the story of St Cecilia, the patron of his church in Rome as Cardinal, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. In 1390, Westminster Abbey received a copy of the Bull of Boniface IX, restoring to Cardinal Adam Easton his English benefices taken from him unjustly. We only learn of the Cardinal's return to Rome as late as 1396, apart from the dubious account in the later Diarium Vadstenense, which describes him as present at the Canonization of St Birgitta, 7 October 1391.

1388-February 1393 is exactly the time span the Anchoress Julian of Norwich tells us within her text that she was formulating and writing her second version of the Revelations of Divine Love, her Long Text Showing, her magnum opus of the same title as Birgitta's massive book. In it we can see she is building upon an earlier version of its text, expanding it, cross-referencing in it back and forth, often speaking of a First Showing, but which is not the Christological I Showing of the XV+I, for that is of the Crown of Thorns, but instead is of the opening and Marian First Showing of the Westminster Manuscript. She interestingly adds a magnificent section that is not in the Table of Contents of the XV+I Showings, the Parable of the Lord and the Servant. She tells us at the Showing's ending that it is not yet ended, that she is not yet satisfied with it, that she will write yet another version of it. That reminds one of the way Dante Alighieri writes his texts, their endings being their beginnings again. It is also how St Birgitta had constructed her magnum opus across almost half a century in edition upon edition, book upon book. Perhaps by this date, perhaps not, Julian was an anchoress at St Julian's Church, within walking distance of this Cathedral where the convalescing Cardinal is studying a book of the same title and likewise written by a woman, and edited by his friend and associate, Alfonso of Jaén, in fulfilment of the vow he had made during his dungeon torture in 1385.

St Birgitta presenting Revelationes to Bishop Hermit Alfonso of Jaen

There are two versions of this Long Text written by our Julian of Norwich, the longer Long Text in the Paris Manuscript (P), the Stowe Manuscript (C1), and the 1670 Cressy (C2) printed edition which lack chapter descriptions, and the two Sloane Manuscripts (SS) being the shorter version of the Long Text but giving a colophon like those of The Mirror of Simple Souls and of The Cloud of Unknowing, and chapter descriptions, which are written by a contemporary of Julian, who deeply admires her, who knows her identity as a holy woman, who associates her with God as Wisdom (P78v), who is editing her text, who authorizes her work and who requires that it not be altered. He seems to model his work of editing Julian's Showing on the editing of Birgitta of Sweden 's Revelationes, first by Magister Mathias in Sweden in 1345, then by Bishop Alfonso of Jaén in Rome, through its final editing in 1379, following her death in 1373. I believe this editor is our Norwich Benedictine, Adam Easton, and thus colleague to three great fourteenth-century women theologians, Birgitta of Sweden, Catherina of Siena, Julian of Norwich. I believe he is the Benedictine monk who stopped laughing, back in May 1373, at her supposed 'deathbed' and that he began to take her very seriously indeed. I believe he is using her for political ends and that she is unhappy with being so exploited. I do not know whether the longer Longer Text versions (P,CC) precede or follow those of the shorter Long Text (SS). If they were earlier, then Julian next courageously stripped her text of his interference and his imprimatur , for the exemplar to the Paris Manuscript, which lacks the chapter descriptions, and went on later to write her final version, the exemplar to the Amherst Manuscript, or that gathering of the Amherst Manuscript written for her by a sympathetic scribe, without his XV+I Showings structuring. In both the P,CC and the SS versions she insists at the end of the XV+I Showings that she is not content with the work as it stands and promises us a further edition (172v-173), defying SS's editor's colophon. (For further discussion, see the essay, 'Julian's Web: The Structures of the Showing '.) I believe that future edition is to be Amherst, rather than Westminster, for the sequence of texts influencing the versions reverses the alphabet, giving us W, with Gregory, Benedict, William of St Thierry, William Flete, John Whiterig, Pseudo-Dionysius, Hebrew, and close scriptural references, Paris using the XV+I Showings structure, echoing the pseudo-Brigittine XV Os , of prayers to the Crucifixion supposedly given to St Birgitta by the Crucifix, while adding John of Salisbury, Birgitta of Sweden, and the Parable of the Lord and the Servant to these, A eliminating the XV+I Showings structure, eliminating great swathes of scriptural material, eliminating the Lord and the Servant Parable, and eliminating Jesus as Mother, while adding, in engrossed letters in the manuscript's brown ink, a sentence on a ' man of Holy Kirk' (A97.8-9) telling of 'St Cecilia' and the three sword wounds, likewise a similarly engrossed sentence on the 'Pater Noster, Ave and Creed', adding protests she never meant to teach, and adding further material from Alfonso of Jaén's Epistolaria Solitarii and Adam Easton's Defensorium Sanctae Birgittae Discernment of Spirit material, which had served as the imprimatur to Birgitta's Revelationes . The consulting of these texts in this sequence correlates to their chronological acquisition by Adam Easton. While Easton delights in hierarchy, Julian seeks equality; while Easton and Birgitta espouse Dionysian angelology, Julian speaks for her even-Christian. Easton, because of his Dionysism, harnessed to Benedictinism's desire for power, property and wealth, opposed and destroyed Wyclif, who spoke for Gospel poverty in the Church; Julian strongly disagrees with her powerful patron, the Cardinal, and supports his Oxford victim's Gospel ideal. Amherst, if it is her final version, her swan song, with the greatest courage most emphatically ends with the Wycliffite, Lollard term, ' evencristenn. Amen'.

Julian in the Long Text gives the most beautiful Parable of the Lord and the Servant. I read this Parable allegorically on many levels, in the way that Dante Alighieri writes in the Commedia. It is both scriptural exegesis about God as Man, God creating Adam in his own image, in Genesis; then God the Father sending God the Son in that same image, in the Gospels; as Jesus, which means in Hebrew, 'God saves', to save Adam, which in Hebrew means Everyman, Everywoman, Jesus himself in the Gospels calling himself 'Son of Man,' 'Ben-Adam', 'Bar-Adam' , our Brother, we his Mother, his Brothers, his Sisters. But it also reads like a political allegory, of the Pope and of his loyal Cardinal who has fallen into a dungeon, a deep slade, where he lies sorely wounded, from torture, and who seeks to return to his Lord./62

Julian next tells us that this Servant is Adam, and she uses the same words about the meaning of Adam as does Adam Easton in his own writings. Both know of the Hebrew meanings for Adam being 'Everyman,' 'earth,' 'tawny' ./* Simone Martini, Diptych, Museo Horne, Florence./

Simone Martini, Diptych, Museo Horne, Florence

I show here Simone Martini's diptych that beautifully illustrates Julian's W,P,A Showing of Love, its Marian First Showing, its Christological XV+I Showings. It shows Christ in the Pieta with tawny red hair, as Son of Adam, Son of David, for David also in Hebrew is ruddy, tawny, with beautiful eyes. /** God the Father, God the Son, enthroned side by side, Luttrell Psalter./ 63

Gradually in her allegory, the repentant fallen Adam, shadowing the imprisoned Cardinal, then turns into the risen Christ, the Son and heir of the Kingdom of Heaven who comes to sit at the Lord's right hand, of Psalm 110 and the Epistle to the Hebrews, but not in the literal sense, instead as being honoured (P93,106), as indeed Adam Easton was, the Pope writing to Parliament commending him. Both Adam and Julian in their theology, derived from Rabbi David Kimhi, speak of Adam as all of us, as the general man, all of us fellow-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven. The biographies of Cardinal Adam Easton note that he translated the entire Hebrew Bible, though it was stolen from him except for the Psalter by a Carmelite named Richard Collier. He had lectured on the Hebrew Scriptures at Oxford and he owned the writings of Rabbi David Kimhi./64 Kimhi countered Kabbalistic learning and Maimonides' scepticism, pleading for the return to philology in studying theology. He argued that 'Jerome, your translator, has corrupted the text by saying, 'The Lord said my Lord, '''Sit at my right hand, and I will make your enemies my footstool,' ' in Psalm 101, literally, that it meant instead to be treated honourably, which is precisely what Julian says in her text. Kimhi also says this reference is just to an ordinary lord, not the Messiah, which both Easton and Julian ignore, for their reading is in our Creed.

There is yet another layer to this allegory. Julian tells us that the Lord is garbed in blue seated on the ground in a Wilderness. That is the Virgin's colour. In the '1368' Westminster Manuscript version Julian had Jesus become our Mother, become his Mother. Adam Easton at Avignon would have been familiar with the fresco painted by Simone Martini of the Virgin in Humility, where she is seated in blue on the ground, with the donor of that painting, the Cardinal Stefaneschi, in his scarlet , kneeling in prayer before her. We recall Richard II the Lord and King of England in cloth of gold kneeling on the ground in a wilderness in the Wilton Diptych. But there is more. Cardinal Jerome had written to the Roman noblewoman Fabiola a treatise explaining the High Priest Aaron's garb in Exodus, specifically dwelling upon the hycinthine blue of his ephod./65

Adam Easton won his Cardinalate through writing of that material on the Pope as Christendom's High Priest, as Aaron, using both Jerome and Pseudo-Dionysius, in his Defensorium Ecclesiastice Potestatis.

Cardinal Jerome , a model for Cardinal Easton, had left Rome for Bethlehem , being joined there by the noble Roman matron, Paula , and her virgin daughter Eustochium, in 386, and together they had worked at studying Hebrew, already having Greek and Latin, and together they translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, the Vulgate Bible which served Latin Christianity until Vatican II. Birgitta of Sweden had a most beautiful married virgin daughter, Catherine of Sweden, friends with Catherine of Siena, Catherine of Sweden becoming the first Abbess of the Brigittine Abbey of Vadstena in Sweden. A painting, now in London's National Gallery, but formerly at San Girolamo (Jerome), Fiesole, shows Saints Jerome, Paula and her beautiful daughter, Eustochium, simultaneously portraying the last two also as Saints Birgitta and her beautiful daughter, Catherine of Sweden. Birgitta and her daughter Catherine and their labours at producing the Revelationes, were analogized to Paula and her daughter Eustochium and their labours at producing the Vulgate. A manuscript now at Lambeth Palace and associated with Norwich, speaks of Paula and ' the holy maid Eustace', or Eustochium./66

The Norwich Castle Manuscript , which I believe is written by Julian of Norwich herself, echoes that phrase where it begins with a treatise translated into Middle English, supposedly of Cardinal Jerome, but actually the British Pelagius, writing to ' the holy maid Demetriade' on how to be an anchoress.

Birgitta's earliest editor, Magister Mathias, had studied Hebrew under the misogynist Jewish convert in Paris, Nicholas of Lyra , and had then translated the Bible from Hebrew into Swedish for Birgitta to use in her visionary writings, similarly modeling his role on that of Jerome, the great Doctor of the Church and his relationship with holy women. Master Adam had taught Hebrew at Oxford and translated the Bible. Julian's texts, especially the Westminster and Long Texts, though far less so, the Amherst, are filled with scriptural allusions to both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek Testament. The Wycliffite Bible was being produced during Julian's lifetime, but she is not using it./67

The Wycliffite Bible translates the Latin Vulgate into medieval English. That was one of the reasons for Adam Easton's scorn for his colleague John Wyclif. Easton believed the Bible should be translated, as was to be the King James Bible three centuries later, from Hebrew and Greek. When I study Julian's text, with Hebrew and Greek Bibles at hand, I find that was what she was doing, very quietly, very humbly, here in an obscure anchorhold in Norwich, and that she, with Adam Easton's help, was giving to her even-Christians the text of God's Word in our own words. Their model was that household of Cardinal Jerome and the Holy Paula and her daughter Eustochium in the cave adjacent to that of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

/* Birgitta's vision on pilgrimage in her seventieth year, of Mary giving birth to her Son, that Birgitta has in situ in the cave in Bethlehem, fresco in Santa Maria Novella, Florence.


St Birgitta to the right as a pilgrim widow gazes upon the just-born Word within the Bethlehem Cave. Fresco, Florence, Santa Maria Novella.

Chiara Gambacorta, Alfonso of Jaén's protegee, in Pisa commissioned a similar and more beautiful version of the same scene./


Turino Vanni, St Birgitta's Vision at Bethlehem . Pisa, Museo Nazionale di San Matteo ( Courtesy, Soprintendenza ai beni ambientali, architettonici, artistici e storici, Pisa). These paintings shows the scene as Birgitta described it in Revelationes VII , with the Virgin taking off her shoes and blue robe [in Birgitta's text this is white], and veil, giving birth in merely her white shift, having brought with her two lengths of white linen, these lying beside her and the Child in which to wrap him. She addresses the Child: "Bene veneris, Deus meus, Dominus meus et filius meus!" ['Welcome, my God, my Lord and my Son'], words which are painted in the same scene in Birgtta's Vision of the Nativity in the Johnson Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Moreover we recall that both Birgitta in her seventieth year, in 1373 (the year of Julian's Showing), fulfilling her lifelong desire prophesied to her by St Dionysius as early as her Arras vision in 1342 (the year of Julian's birth), and Margery Kempe of Lynn, after talking with Julian in about 1413, actually went on pilgrimage to those caves, as centuries before them had an Emperor's Yorkshire mother, Constantine's Helena, and as centuries after them, /** Bethlehem Basilica and Grotto of the Nativity, in the latter an Arab Christian family have brought their new-born daughter whom the mother gently holds./

I also did, following their footsteps. The birth of the Word in that cave is the opening of what I believe to have been the earliest version of Julian's Showing, the opening of the Westminster Cathedral Manuscript , and which the Long Text Manuscripts forget and speak of as their First Showing, rather than that of the Crown of Thorns. The cave next to this one is where Jerome, Paula and Eustochium translated the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures into the Vulgate Latin Bible.

But Julian's life puzzles me. She quotes directly and repeatedly from Gregory's Dialogues, giving the Life of St Benedict, on scale and proportion, in relation to the hazelnut image, how all that is made, all creation, seems full little in the presence of its Maker, the Creator, which indicates she probably was Benedictine. She is also deeply conversant in St Benedict's Rule. She could have been a schoolgirl, or a lay sister, or a nun at Benedictine Carrow Priory./68

Clearly she knows the monastic Offices and the Lessons from Holy Scripture with profound familiarity, these being further enhanced by her lifelong Benedictine lectio divina , her contemplation upon them.

But there is a reference in an Adam Easton manuscript to a deformed woman/69

and I wonder if it is she, in pain, and frequently ill, as she herself writes of herself (W111v-112v,P3-4v,137,A97-97v,103.13,110v.11), not expecting to live long, yet brilliant, and succeeding in defying even her own expectations in living to a ripe old age. From her constant references to teaching, until that is forbidden by Archbishop Arundel, one can assume she may have earned her keep by teaching, for instance the A.B.C. (P104,166), she mentions twice in her text and by copying out manuscripts, frequently the work of others, rather than her own. There are manuscripts from Brigittine Syon Abbey contexts known as the XV Os/70 and about a woman desirous to have a vision of Christ's wounds, in one manuscript being thirty, named in another manuscript 'Mary OEstrewyk ', in another associated with a convent, its nuns and their abbess, in another giving prayers for each wound that read like Julian's text./71 They are frequently described in this almost exclusively English manuscript tradition as XV Os , as prayers about the Crucifixion taught to St Birgitta by the Crucifix vision she had had at St Pauls Outside the Walls in Rome in 1368. So it seems someone in England invented these Pseudo-Brigittine prayers, someone who wrote in a florid Dionysan/Victorine style, someone who wanted them to seem to be composed by a devout woman. Though they parallel Julian's Long Text XV+I Showings structure, they are penned in Easton's style. These are the straws in the wind that we have about our Julian of Norwich. That is, apart from her texts, The Book of Margery Kempe , and the wills which name her. Of interest too is the final folio of the Amherst Manuscript. It is a drawing of a Mother who holds a Child, but the Mother's head is pierced with three huge nails which make up the Cross-Nimbed Halo that is only worn by Christ in art, while the Child has no halo at all. Is it a drawing by a Brigittine nun of Julian's theme of 'Jesus as Mother'? Yet that section is omitted in Amherst's Short Text of the Showing.

By 1396 we know Cardinal Adam Easton had returned to Santa Cecilia in Rome for we hear of Archbishop Arundel being touched by his kindness to him there. Adam Easton died in 1397. /* Adam Easton's marble tomb, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, Black Prince's tomb and memorials, Canterbury Cathedral./


Tomb of Adam Easton in Rome                             Tomb of Black Prince in Canterbury
with Royal Arms of England                                   with Royal Arms of England

His tomb is not unlike that of the Black Prince, King Richard II's father, at Canterbury, beside that of Thomas Becket, both with the Royal Arms of England. But it is in Rome, in his titular church as Cardinal of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, /* Tomb of St Cecilia, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome./ and it is even

_

St Cecilia in mosaic     Stefano Maderno, Saint Cecilia, tomb sculpture beneath altar, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.

near her tomb. Julian's Amherst Showingof Love engrosses and underlines in red with great emphasis St Cecilia's name, desiring to share that saint's three neck wounds (A97v.16-17), while the Norwich Castle Manuscript likewise stresses St Cecilia as model for writer and reader.

By Permission of the British Library, Amherst Manuscript, Additional 37,790

When the bodies were later exhumed both Cecilia's and Adam's were found incorrupt. /* Detail of Adam Easton's tomb sculpted with Cardinal's Hat.

Tomb of Cardinal Adam Easton, O.S.B. of Norwich in Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

/ The tomb shows the Cardinal's hat with tassels he was entitled to wear, / Detail of Adam Easton's Tomb, sculpted with Royal Arms of England./ and like that of the Black Prince, the Royal Arms of England, whose Cardinal he was./72

But he is a son of our Norwich, just as much is Julian a daughter of this fair city. /* Norwich and its Cathedral, pretending to be Constantinople and the Hagia Sophia, Luttrell Psalter./

And here let me give the city of Norwich as Julian and Easton both knew it, from the Luttrell Psalter.

The first extant bequest to 'Julian anakorite ', is as late as 1394, of 2s left by the parish priest Roger Reed; following that is one in 1404 by Thomas Edmund, chantry chaplain, of 12d, and for her maid Sara, 8d; while in 1415, the merchant John Plumpton left 40d for her, and 12d for her two maids, one named Alice; in 1416 the Countess of Suffolk, leaving her the famous 'xxs '. Julian, as an anchoress, would have received Communion only fifteen times a year but daily could gaze upon the Sacrament upon the altar through a window let into the church from the anchorhold. So had Birgitta in Rome had a hagioscope looking onto the altar at San Damaso. Margery Kempe was to win from Archbishop Arundel, from talking with him under the stars in his garden at Lambeth Palace, the right to receive Communion every Sunday, then a most rare privilege. But she was the Mayor of Lynn's daughter. A second window in Julian's anchorhold would have looked out onto the street, through which she could speak with others, including, memorably, our Margery Kempe ./* Pietro Lorenzetti polyptych of Life and Miracles of St Umilta`, Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

St Umilta` Healing Monk

/ We lack illustrations of Julian, but we have a complete set painted by Pietro Lorenzetti of the life of St Umilta` , in this one, Umilta` leaning out of her anchorhold to bless a monk with a gangrenous leg brought to her by his desperate brother monks. He is of course healed. As an anchoress in an anchorhold, Julian's was a life of prayer and contemplation before a crucifix in her cell, being both withdrawn from the world, and yet counselling and consoling others who were troubled in that world and who came to her for advice, as did Margery Kempe from nearby Lynn around 1413. Other aspects of the life of St Umilta` remind one very much of Margery, including both women's persistent attempts to have their husbands' consent to vows of chastity.

Sometimes, in my wildest moments, I think of one crippled brilliant Mary OEstrewyk as having had an older brother named Adam OESTON (these being the spellings in an XV O's and an autograph Easton manuscript, where wick=town), a brother who teased her unmercifully, then came to take her seriously, and who helped her, because of his vow under torture in a dungeon, to write a massive version of a text he had formerly scorned, as it unfolded decade upon decade: just as in Sweden and Italy, Magister Mathias and Bishop Hermit Alfonso of Jaén helped Birgitta unfold her huge book; women and men being Catherine of Siena's scribes, one of whom would later have Birgitta's Revelationes translated into Italian; and in Lynn various priests would assist illiterate Margery Kempe inscribe her Book, one of whom indexed Birgitta's Revelationes . Why do I think he is her brother? Perhaps because she keeps speaking of Christ as 'Master Jesus ' (P50,A105v) and as 'our brother ' (W87v,P15v,46v, 106v,124,127,A101), when ' Master Adam' was Easton's title before he was Cardinal. For in the Lord and the Servant Parable Julian turns Adam into Christ. Adam himself in his own self-conscious and sometimes acrostic writings played on the Hebrew meanings of his name 'Adam'./73

Julian frequently, emphatically at times with repetition and with similar rubrication, likewise discourses upon 'Adam ' and all the meanings of his name 3,53v,95v,97,97v,98v,101v(7x),102(6x),103(4x),105v, 107,108,108v,110v,A106v).

Benedict had had a twin, a sister named Scholastica, their story appearing in Gregory's Dialogues immediately before the one that Julian quotes from again and again in her text.

The Long Text originally written 1378-1383 (P68-69), gives a strange addition to the traditional vita of John of Beverley, linking him with sinners like David, Peter and Paul. The only other version of such an addition of sin followed by conversion in John of Beverley's vita occurs in a Flemish text, dated 1512, where it has strong echoes to the story of Yorkshire Richard Rolle and his sister, a story which continued to be known in Syon and Vadstena circles. Adam Easton was connected with the Collegiate Church of St John of Beverley, being appointed its provost by Boniface IX within weeks of his restoration to the Cardinalate of St Cecilia. Otherwise, St John of Beverley was of little importance in England until Agincourt, 1415, following which his cult was strongly observed at Henry V's foundation, the Brigittine's Syon Abbey.

The Amherst Manuscript too (A96v-97v) includes part of the Liber de modo bene vivendi ad sororem , called here 'The Golden Epistle', believed to be written by St Bernard to his sister, but in fact written by Thomas de Froidmont to his sister Margaret of Jerusalem , who were from a Beverley, Yorkshire, family. Birgitta had owned this text in a Spanish manuscript, keeping it always in her pocket, and it still proclaims: 'Hunc librum qui intytulatur doctrina Bernardi ad sororem portavit Beata mater nostra sancta Birgitta continuo in sinu suo ideo inter reliquies suas asseruandus est'. /74

Uppsala C240, open to '{ Soror mea'

Nor were other friendships between men and women monastics, besides those between brothers and sisters, without precedent, Cardinal Jerome, Holy Paula and her Eustochium already being noted, while a troubled pair were Abelard and Heloise, who modeled their letters upon those of Jerome, Paula and Eustochium . Easton copies Abelard's title, 'De sua calamitate' when writing of his incarceration, Abelard's work of that title prompting Heloise's Letters to him, concluded by their Letters of Spiritual Direction. Another couple were Cardinal Jacques de Vitry and the Beguine Marie d'Oignies , whom both Birgitta's Magister Mathias , and Margery's scribe consciously took as their own models. While Adam with his brilliance was welcomed at Norwich Cathedral Priory, though working class, Carrow Priory was more snobby and less cultured. Julian there would have been used as a teacher in its school for girl boarders, but treated as a lay sister, the service she says she has done in her youth (P1v,4v,29-30v,171, A102). Then perhaps she had to leave on health grounds. That seems to be the sense of her words about her severe and youthful physical and mental incapacitation, her wanting of will, her wasting of time (W111v-112, P137v, A110v), which later she clearly outgrew.

Following Adam Easton's death in 1397, more than 228 of his manuscripts in six barrels from Rome were returned to this Priory's library in 1407./75

When Julian was perhaps writing the last version of her text in 1413, Margery Kempe from Lynn visited her. Margery had gone mad with childbirth and had had many children and was very troubled. Julian, and it is as if one has a tape recorder in fifteenth-century Norwich, converses with Margery, and consoles her, Margery later giving their verbatim conversation. In it Julian repeats the splendid theology of the soul as a city in which God sits enthroned. Julian, enclosed in her anchorhold beside a small Norwich church with its Norman tower, then much taller before the bomb,/76 encouraged the troubled and restless Margery to travel far afield, and perhaps to return and tell her of what she had seen, to be her surrogate self and her opposite. Margery obeyed her, had 'Seynt Brydis boke ' read to her, and did all the pilgrimages Birgitta of Sweden , likewise a mother of many children, had already done, to Compostela, to Cologne, to Gdansk, to Jerusalem, to Rome, where Margery even stood in the room where Birgitta had written her Revelationes and where she had died, and then she came home to write a similar book, The Book of Margery Kempe ./77 What is interesting too is that Julian's extant manuscripts survive together with those of William Flete , The Cloud of Unknowing' s cluster, Richard Rolle and Walter Hilton , and with texts by Continental medieval mystics, Marguerite Porete , Birgitta of Sweden , Catherine of Siena , Jan van Ruusbroec , Henry Suso , Alfonso of Jaén , who also seem to have influenced her, all of which Adam Easton could have presented to her and many of which she quotes. These manuscripts were together at Brigittine Syon Abbey, first in England, then in exile at the Reformation. Part of that exile was instigated because Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent, was encouraged at Syon Abbey by such people as St Richard Reynolds and St Thomas More in the writing of a similar Revelations as Birgitta's Revelationes and Catherine's Dialogo (translated as The Orcherd of Syon, also perhaps even one of Syon's copies of Julian's Showing was given her as a model), her printed book next destroyed by Henry VIII's Act of Attainder, and for which Barton, Reynolds and More (who was reading William Flete in the Tower), were executed at Tyburn for the criticism in it of the English King's multiple marriages (St Birgitta similarly, and justly, criticised her Swedish King Magnus in her Revelationes , causing her to have to go into exile to Italy)./78 Thus we have had Marguerite Porete in Paris executed for writing her Mirror, Elizabeth Barton in London for writing her Revelations, Margery Kempe at risk for writing herBook, Julian and her Showing of Love surely not being totally out of danger.

Amherst, Westminster, and Paris all have Syon Abbey connections, Paris being written out in Antwerp around 1580 by exiled Syon nuns there, seemingly with the intent to publish it for the English Mission, then left behind in Rouen when the nuns fled to Lisbon. Later, Julian's Showing is found being copied out by English Benedictine nuns in exile in Cambrai and Paris, by scribes who include the descendants of Thomas More and of Thomas Gascoigne , to whom again they may have come by way of Syon for both men had the closest associations with that Abbey. They do not survive outside of those contexts. Easton is Benedictine and instrumental in assisting Brigittine monasticism throughout Europe. It seems no accident that it was Brigittines and Benedictines who preserved our Julian of Norwich's Showing in the security of their monastic cloisters. For centuries these texts could not be shown, they had to be concealed; they could not even be in England, they had, all but two, to be in exile, in Antwerp, Rouen, Lisbon, Cambrai and Paris; first because they could be seen as Lollard, then because they could be seen as Catholic, their ownership even punishable by death. Moreover all of them but one, the Amherst Manuscript , seem to have had cloistered women scribes.

Julian's Showing and Margery's Book are very different, one contemplative, the other active, one enclosed, the other far-flung, yet very much worth reading together. Their texts need also to be seen against the backdrop not just of England but of all Europe, a Europe perhaps opened up to them by our Norwich Benedictine, Adam Easton , Cardinal of England, friend and associate of Birgitta of Sweden and Catherine of Siena; perhaps even Julian's fellow Benedictine, who together could have worked quietly at making the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew philology, the Greek Testament and Greek theology, present in our English language.


 

This lecture was presented in Norwich Cathedral, 1 December 1998, under the auspices of The Friends of Norwich Cathedral. Earlier scholarship on the connection between Adam Easton and Margery Kempe: Hope Emily Allen, The Book of Margery Kempe , EETS 212, lviii, 280-281; Adam Easton and Julian of Norwich, Grace Jantzen, Julian of Norwich (London: SPCK, 1987), p. 22. A brief version of the essay was initially published as 'Chronicles of a Mystic', The Tablet, 11 May, 1996. The revised essay is a central chapter in Anchoress and Cardinal: Julian of Norwich and Adam Easton, O.S.B., published by Analecta Cartusiana, Salzburg, ed. James Hogg, and written to accompany Julian of Norwich, Showing of Love: Extant Texts and Translation , ed. by Sister Anna Maria Reynolds, C.P., and Julia Bolton Holloway (Florence: SISMEL: Edizioni del Galluzzo , 2001). See also:

Bibliography .

© Julia Bolton Holloway, 1998-2013, Hermit of the Holy Family 


See Adam Easton, Visitation, Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/90.61.3


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