The fruit of this conference became the book: Julian among the Books: Julian of Norwich's Theological Library, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in 2016.


Icon, Fr Nathanel Smyth, of Blessed Memory                       Map, jbh                                                                                                                                                                                 



10 MAY 2013

This section of the Julian Symposium sought to study first hand two manuscripts of Julian's city and Julian's book written within her lifetime, the Norwich Castle Manuscript and the Amherst Manuscript.Tim Pestell graciously showed us the Norwich Castle Manuscript in the Shirehall Study Centre, Juliana Dresvina photographing this page of its text of the 'Epistle St Jerome (actually Pelagius) wrote to Demetriade who had vowed chastity'. Its other texts include material by Richard Lavenham, O.Carm., who preached on Birgitta of Sweden's Revelations at Oxford and was Richard II's confessor, and Pore Caitif which includes the catechetical treatise on the Lord's Prayer. It is a compilation of both contemplative and catechetical materials ideally suited for an anchoress teaching the alphabet (Julian's twice-mentioned 'A.B.C.') and the catechism in a Norwich graveyard. Much of its wording echoes that in Julian's Showing. We urged that a graduate student write on it for their thesis/dissertation and publish its text in the same mode as has Marleen Cre edited the Westminster and Amherst compilations in her two theses. See

no man more bounden for to esschewe alle un
leefull thynges that is to seye all
þinges that
is contrarie to the lawes of oure lorde. thanne
he that hath forsaken and made his avowe
to almy3ti god for to kepe hym chaste in body

and thow hast.And ther fore dow3ter.
if thow wilte be the trewe spouse of Oure lorde
þenke ther on
. ffor þere is noman so straytely
bowndyn to fulfylle
þe comoun comaundemen
tis of god as he is
þat for loue of perfeccoun
& for plesaunce of crist. purpose
þ & avoueþ for
to do more & lettes
þan is comaunded. þer fore
þat wilfulli byndeþ hym self to kepe
goddes counseil. Wonder besy he owe
þ to be
mekil more to kepe goddis bydding. ffor
on is a dede of perfeccoun
þat only standeþ in a
mannys frewil er
þan he byndeþ him þer to
þat ou is nedful to be don. Of chastite it is
þus. He þat may take take. But
of comoun rithwisnes wit not wretin
counseylende he
þt may do good do. But þus
it is said of oure lord jch a tre
þat is ich man
þat makeþ no goode frute þat is doþ no
good dede. shal be hewyn doun & castin in
fire. Behold now good dou3ter what dif
ference is a tween conseil & biddyng.
þat an
þ to special.persones.þat oþer comprehendiþ                                                                                                                                   

There are interesting corrections made to the Amherst Julian of Norwich Showing of Love text but not elsewhere to the other texts in that manuscript that are in a more squarish hand than that of the scribe. Given that the Amherst Showing of Love text itself stresses that it is being written in '1413' during Julian's lifetime, it is just within the realm of possibility that we have her here correcting her scribe, completing his lacunae, his eye-skips. This hand also seems to match that of the rubricator to this part of the manuscript. The other possibility is that the Grantham, Lincolnshire, scribe copied an exemplar and that another then made the corrections from checking it with that exemplar. See Similar corrections from other exemplars are also present in the Westminster, Paris and Sloane Manuscripts, indicating the presence of a concentrated library of her texts within a scribal community, first amongst the Brigittines of Syon Abbey, in London and then in exile in Mechlin, Rouen and Lisbon, then amongst the English Benedictine nuns in exile in Cambrai and Paris.

In each instance these corrections give concepts integral to Julian's thought, to her theology.

Comparing these two squarish hands of the Norwich Castle and Amherst Manuscripts I no longer believe they are by the same hand but do sense they are possibly by women rather than men, candidates being Julian of Norwich and Emma Stapleton, Sir Miles Stapleton's daughter, who became the anchoress of the Norwich Carmelites.

This website makes use of the medieval memory system of alternating reds and blues of capitals and titles such as are found in Julian and other manuscripts.

where Tom Townsend showed us documents mentioning anchoresses and Antoinette Curtis showed us their conservation work with a severely damaged roll of documents that had been exposed to damp.



Welcome by the Right Worshipful, Lord Mayor of Norwich, Cllr Ralph Gayton, in full regalia, speaking of Norwich as UNESCO City of Literature

Julia Holloway                                                                                                                         Nancy Bradley Warren                            Mayor of Norwich

Sr Julia Bolton Holloway Nancy Bradley Warren               Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti             Mayor of Norwich                                                                           Juliana Dresvina



In ancient times the shofar would be sounded from hill to hill with a message. Sometimes I think of that image while reading or studying: voices from the peaks of the past call to us, in a relay of awakening wisdom. If we listen, perhaps a word of ours too will reach across the valley to touch a soul.                                                                                                               Rabbi Wolpe
ecently Teresa Morris and I compiled an exhaustive bibliography of studies related to Julian of Norwich. A great academic industry has grown up around the anchoress Julian of Norwich but it too often parrots false premises, failing to consult with paleographers concerning the extant manuscripts of her texts, their scripts, their watermarks, and thus has become the blind leading the blind, falsifying a vast body of scholarship in print. Disappointingly, very little primary research is being carried out. For example, we need more studies like those of Norman Tanner, S.J., Brendan Pelphrey, Gail McMurray Gibson, Joan Greatrex, and David Wallace, on the tangible aspects of East Anglian culture. And we need to study more deeply in the libraries of these contemplatives, Julian displaying knowledge of Gregory's Dialogues on Benedict, of the Augustinian William Flete's Remedies against Temptations, while the editor commenting on her Long Text's chapters knows Birgitta of Sweden's Revelationes first hand and conforms her text to these other Showings. However Roman monastics, like Sr Anna Marie Reynolds, C.P., Hugh Feiss, O.S.B., James Hogg, the Orthodox clergyman, Brendan Pelphrey, studying her through the lens of Greek theology, the Anglican clergyman, John Clark, studying the writings of Augustine Baker, O.S.B., as well as the historians studying the ecclesiastical Norwich background, have been able to see Julian more clearly in her contemplative contexts, rather than in our academic ones. To this group Frederick Bauerschmidt also belongs for his examination of Julian and the medieval Eucharist understood politically as the One Body of Christ. A tragedy is that the similar and better industry around the Brigittines of Syon Abbey (Roger Ellis, Diane Watt, Vincent Gillespie, Rosalynn Voaden, Anne Hutchison), as a result fails to understand the importance of Julian to that Order of the Most Holy Saviour in England, many of her early manuscripts actually being preserved, carefully collated and edited in their English mother house and also during their exiles in Belgium, France and Portugal, 'The Wanderings of Syon'. The two earliest Julian manuscripts, with Syon associations, are the Carmelite/Carthusian Amherst, which includes Julian with Marguerite Porete, Jan van Ruusbroec, Henry Suso, Richard Rolle, Birgitta of Sweden and others, and the Brigittine Westminster, which includes her with Walter Hilton, both studied by Marleen Cré. Julian deserves being studied horizontally with these other Continental and English writers, who present the formation of the contemplative life, as we see in Cre's careful editing of these manuscripts. Julian also profits from being studied vertically, in the context of those who came before her, Helena, Monica, Paula, Eustochium, Demetriade, Scholastica, Birgitta, Catherine, her role models, and those for whom she was a role model in turn, Margaret and Catherine Gascoigne, Gertrude and Bridget More, as we see in my Anchoress and Cardinal: Julian of Norwich and Adam Easton O.S.B., in Nancy Bradley Warren, The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700, and in the very numerous Analecta Cartusiana/University of Salzburg editions by Rev John Clark of the English Benedictine nuns and their spiritual director, Dom Augustine Baker.

ong ago graduate students of English literature studied other languages as well, and textual editing in the classical mode, including the paleography of manuscripts, a practice continued by the Early English Text Society in England, by SISMEL in Italy, and by Swedish, Icelandic and Finnish universities. It was the scientific part of our training. Then Theory usurped research and textual editing. But all these are necessary for Julian studies. I came to Julian by the back door, by way of Brunetto Latino, Dante's teacher, then Birgitta of Sweden, Magister Mathias, Alfonso of Jaén and Adam Easton, finding myself mostly in the same great libraries, the Vatican, the Laurentian, the Biblioteca Nazionale in Florence, the Biblioteca degli Incoronati of Siena, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the King's Library in Stockholm, the Caroline in Uppsala, the University Library in Lund, the British Library in London, the Bodleian in Oxford and Cambridge University Library, finally with Julian amongst manuscripts at Westminster Cathedral, in the British Library, in the Bibliothèque Mazarine, the Archives du Nord, the Cambrai Bibliothèque municipale, and the libraries at Syon Abbey, at Stanbrook Abbey and at Colwich Abbey. From Leeds University I obtained copies of Sr Anna Maria Reynolds' two war-time theses typed hunt-and-peck from microfilms read with a microscope, the manuscripts being buried underground from the bombing, where she meticulously and correctly edited all the extant Julian manuscripts, the two Sloanes for her Masters, the Paris, the Amherst and the Westminster for her Doctorate, and all of which she also correctly dated with the exception of the Amherst text. From the context of the 1413 date, following the burning at the stake of William Sawtre, Margery's chaplain and the
De haeretico comburendo, of 1401, Arundel's Constitutions of 1408, and Sir John Oldcastle's Lollard Revolt of 1413, rather than soon after 1373, Amherst's self-censored text may well be the '1413' it gives itself. Westminster is Tudor but seems to reflect versions of Julian and Hilton extant in the '1368' it gives, before Julian's vision. Paris is Elizabethan, from Syon in exile in Mechlin, leading English and French paleographers attest, and certainly not the 'seventeenth-century Chattertonesque forgery' Colledge and Walsh insisted it was. When it was written out by a Brigittine nun in the Antwerp region Cambrai had not yet been founded. The two Sloanes and the various fragments are indeed seventeeth-century, produced by Cambrai for Paris, but not from the so-called Paris manuscript, at that time shut up in the Bigots' family library in Rouen, the Brigittine nuns having been forced to leave it in Rouen in their flight to Lisbon. The editio princeps, the first printed edition, is 1670, but Westminster and Paris were already both carefully written out for intended printing by the Brigittines, within ruled lines and margins, a printing which could not happen under Thomas More's execution ordered by Henry VIII, and then under Elizabeth I. Stowe is an early eighteenth-century manuscript written out after the Benedictine nuns' return to England following the French Revolution. At one point only Amherst remained in England in recusant hands, all the other manuscripts being abroad in exile. Now only Paris still remains abroad. Unless there is the exemplar to Sloane, in Julian's hand, in Julian's dialect, somewhere in Belgium, or the manuscript that was seen by Gerhard Tersteegen in Pierre Poiret's Leiden library in Holland, which I challenge Continental scholars to find. While John Clark in his paper for this conference notes the presence of yet another Julian fragment to be found in Colwich Abbey's collection. There is as well an unedited manuscript here in Norwich, that used to be in Norwich Castle and which never left Norfolk. It is written for and possibly by an anchoress with the knowledge of Hebrew. It shares much wording with Julian's Showing. It thoroughly deserves scholarly attention, rather than neglect. The tragedy is that the Early English Text Society did not publish Sr Anna Maria Reynold's brilliant editions, believing Colledge and Walsh's disparagement of them. But all editors are in debt to Julian's Earliest English Text Society, the Brigittine, Benedictine and Passionist nuns who loved and preserved her texts for us, despite the following risks to their lives and well-being for saving this book: hanging, drawing, quartering, being burned at the stake, guillotining, bombing, imprisonment and exile.

orwich's cathedral was built with money from Norwich's Jewry. Nearby Julian's cell is the great house of Isaac Jurnet on the River Wensum. The same stonemason's mark is in Norwich Cathedral's Infirmary, Isaac's house and here at Carrow Abbey, linking these buildings together. Reading V.D.Lipman we find that a 'Julian of Norwich' was a young Norwich Jewess, though her dates are not the same as our Julian's. I was having to edit Elizabeth Barrett Browning for my father and to do so had to study the languages she knew and read, which were Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French and Italian. This stood me in good stead when I came to edit the extant manuscripts of Julian of Norwich's writings. I suddenly realized Julian was translating directly from Hebrew into Middle English and not using the Jerome Vulgate as intermediary - before the King James Bible. From that realization came the further understanding, that her text is filled with shared Jewish/Christian prayers, such as the Shema from Mark's Gospel, the Psalm Jonah sings in the belly of the whale (Psalms 18.16, 139.9-12;
Jonah 2.2-9, especially verse 5), and much else. V.D. Lipman's research in The Jews of Medieval Norwich notes that Jewish families were able to continue in Norwich following King Edward I's expulsion of them in 1290 - if they converted to Christianity. Lipman also notes their high literacy, particularly among the women, whilst literacy was low amongst noble Christian ladies. Julian may be a prototype for Saints Teresa of Avila and Edith Stein. For this reason I recommend Linda and Michael Falter's facsimile of the Kennicott Hebrew Bible and Sepher Miklol: Orthodoxy, both Greek and Russian, is closer to Judaism than is Catholicism. Julian's theology is consonant with all these traditions, Judaism, Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and also with the emerging Protestantism of the Reformation. She is profoundly ecumenical. One remembers the youthful Martin Buber anthologizing her within his ecumenical Ecstatic Confessions.
On the skeletons of Jewish children, women and men, discovered in a medieval well in Norwich.
See also Wikipedia on Meir ben Elijah of Norwich.

atherine of Siena's Dialogues was translated into Middle English at Syon Abbey, first in manuscript for its nuns, then later printed for the Tudor public. It sets Catherine's Dialogues in a delightful frame, of the actual orchard at Syon Abbey and its many avenues. Earlier the Vita of St Catherine in East Anglian was coupled with East Anglian versions of the Cloud Author's texts. Similarly, Birgitta of Sweden's Revelations was translated into that dialect, all of these in preparation for the foundation of Syon, originally proposed for Cherry Hinton near Cambridge. An East Anglian figure links Birgitta of Sweden, Catherine of Siena, William Flete, Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich, and these East Anglian manuscripts, together. He was the Norwich Benedictine monk, Adam Easton, who taught Hebrew at Oxford, joking on the meaning of his name 'Adam' as 'red', as 'earth', as 'clay', as 'Everyman', 'Everywoman', who retranslated the whole Hebrew Bible into Latin, correcting Jerome's errors, consulting with Rabbis in Avignon, who became Cardinal of England and who effected Birgitta of Sweden's 1391 canonization, following her 1373 death and, on being freed from his dungeon incarceration at the hands of Pope Urban VI, returned to Norwich to write that document, at the same time that Julian was writing her Long Text with its Parable of the Lord and the Servant. Moreover, Adam Easton, O.S.B., owned, indexed and annotated manuscript texts which reappear in the Liber Regalis, the Westminster Abbey Coronation ritual, illustrated by Bohemian artists for the coronation and marriage of Anne of Bohemia, the Holy Roman Emperor's daughter and King Richard II, that he arranged for the Pope, which reappear in his De Ecclesiastice Potestatis, supporting Pope Urban VI's coronation, and which also reappear in the Cloud of Unknowing cluster of texts and in the Lord and Servant parable in Julian's Showing. In particular Easton owned and cherished the Sepher Miklol of RADAK, Rabbi David Kimhi, now at Balliol, Kimhi speaking of God as Mother, as well as his possessing a fine Victorine manuscript of all Pseudo-Dionysius' surviving Works, now at Cambridge University Library. I asked Linda and Michael Falter to share with us their magnificent facsimile of the Kennicott Bible, actually produced in Spain later than Julian's dates, but which has the most wonderful scene of Jonah and the Whale, and which also is bound with RADAK's Sepher Mikhlol. Father Robert Llewelyn, who once told me I was the person who knew most about Julian, in With Pity not with Blame, yoked Julian and the Cloud Author together; so also did Marion Glasscoe in her English Medieval Mystics: Games of Faith. Both Easton and Julian create a brilliant synthesis, a sharing, of Hebrew and Greek theology. I suspect they are from the same Norwich conversa family, perhaps brother and sister. I lectured on this material in Norwich Cathedral in 1999 at the invitation of the Friends of Norwich Cathedral.

orfolk Record Office has the splendid webpage on Lynn's Holy Trinity Guild and the Hanseatic League but to consult those archives one needs to travel to Lynn rather than Norwich. Everyone takes at face-value Margery's statement that her son began writing her Book. No one notices his Gdansk-born wife, a devotee of Birgitta of Sweden, as being far more likely the authoress of a text that is written, we are told, in a handwriting and in a grammar that is pointedly not English. What is extraordinary also in this Book is that we have the actual Visitation of the youthful Margery to the aged Julian, just as if we have a tape recorder at Julian's window on the world carefully recording, witnessing, their voices, their conversation, Julian's wise consolation of the troubled Margery, a consolation modeled again, as in her texts, on the advice given by William Flete and by Alfonso of Jaén, in the latter case to Birgitta of Sweden, and by Adam Easton in his document for Birgitta's canonization, concerning the Discernment of Spirits, stating that where visions tend to charity, not ego, they are of the Holy Spirit. We are honoured to have with us Santha Bhattacharji and Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti, both scholars of Margery. I so wish we could also have had David Wallace for his work on Margery and Gdansk. I strongly suspect that Julian encouraged Margery's far-flung pilgrimages and her subsequent Book as a surrogate and photographic negative for her own stability within her cell in Norwich, just as I suspect Adam Easton, Norwich Benedictine, encouraged Julian's contemplative vocation as surrogate and photographic negative countering his own curial business at Avignon, Westminster and Rome. All three create Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy in the writing over many years of their books.


ames Walsh, S.J., Edmund College, O.S.A., Rev. John Clark and Nancy Bradley Warren have studied the preservation and editing of Julian's text amongst the English Benedictine nuns in exile, though not realizing this came about because of a licensed pirate's penetration of exiled Syon Abbey's cloister, then publishing a libellous book against them in 1622, which forced the recusant families such as the Mores and the Gascoignes, traditionally associated with Brigittine Syon, to instead found the Benedictine house at Cambrai, 1623, Julian's manuscripts being carefully treasured by both houses, and even a third abbey, in Paris, being founded by the Benedictine nuns, when the monks threatened to call in all their medieval contemplative texts to correct and censor them, the nuns carefully preserving these. We can read of their defense of these contemplative manuscripts given in Colections: An English Benedictine Nun in Exile, The Benedictine Adam Easton had prepared the foundation of Brigittine Syon Abbey which the Chancellor of Oxford Thomas Gascoigne then avidly supported and that confluence continued here at Carrow Abbey, Veronica O'Mara has shown.


was castigated in the pages of Speculum by a fellow scholar, reviewing (while quarrying) the booklets I published of the Julian manuscript fragments at Colwich and Stanbrook in 1997, our edition of the extant Julian manuscripts that Sr Anna Maria Reynolds and I published with SISMEL in 2001, and my composite translation of those texts for St John's Abbey and DLT in 2003. He strongly objected to my observation concerning the thought processes of women, uneducated in Scholastic universities, as being different from that of educated men. I had earlier assisted Julian Jaynes at Princeton in his writing the best-seller, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. More recently Jill Bolte Taylor of Harvard and Jane Chance of Rice Universities have continued that research concerning the brain's hemispheres. Neuroscience has come to see that the right hemisphere is inclusive, responding with the senses, to colour and sound with image and music, it exists in the present moment and all time, it is democratic, it encircles chiastically, antiphonally, liturgically, peaceably collaborating with the cosmos, it is contemplative theology, an inclusive 'oneing'; while the left hemisphere instead is analytical, separates pharisaically, is centred on the self, fearing the other, competitive, linear, logical, categorizing, memorizing the past, planning the future, its theology being dogmatic, systematic, hierarchical, Inquisitional, the stuff of the military-industrial-academic complex. Augustine's 'He who sings prays twice!' best gives the right hemisphere completeness of prayer, continuing into Dante's polyphony of dancing doctors, versus silent one-level prose. The right hemisphere's polysemous openness can be seen in the Gospels' inclusion of the Other, the prostitute, the publican, the leper, the blind, the lame, the Samaritan, the Syro-Phoenician, the woman, the child, it can be seen in Aquinas' poetry, in the chiastic antiphons of monastic contemplative liturgy, above all it can be seen in Julian's Showing of Love; the left hemisphere is manifested in Aquinas' Summae, in his Aristotelian linear pigeonholing Scholasticism, which he came to reject as 'nothing but straw', and in the exclusion of Jews, heretics, women, children, the Other, its 'Final Solution' the Holocaust. Dante's Commedia is intensely right brain, filled with circles, images, music, polysemy and polyphony, reconciling opposites, but is killed by Fascist left-brain analysis, by Lecturae Dantis. Santha Bhattacharji, Juliana Dresvina, Gabriella Del Lungo's papers address this visual aspect of medieval culture in general and Julian's vision in particular; likewise do Paul Hurst's photographs of medieval East Anglian art and Jeremy Haselock's explanations of them. Nancy Warren investigates Protestant attacks against Catholic Julian, Birgitta, and Catherine, which perceived these figures and their cult as from the male-educated rationalism of the left hemisphere and rejected them. However, when former Pope Benedict XVI was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he wrote a paper for the 1991 conference on St Birgitta in Rome in which he used Dom Jean Leclerq's findings on medieval monastic contemplative writing versus academic analytic scholastic study, and in which he spoke of women's contemplative writings, those of Birgitta, of Catherine, of Julian, as 'revealed theology', surpassing that by trained male academic theologians in universities from which women were barred. It was the left-hemisphere's hierarchically-structured pre-Vatican II Church that dogmatically taught Julian that Jews were damned, unless they converted, but she declares, long before John XXIII's Vatican II, that she does not see this in her right hemisphere vision given her, she believes, by God. Thus it could make sense to study Julian's texts in the light of these neuro-scientific findings - this new-old discipline of 'neuro-humanism' (Vittorio Gallese, Università degli Studi di Parma, Anthony Passaro, University of Texas Medical Center, Houston), and to see that Julian's lack of crippling scholastic formation, as with Michel de Montaigne, Charles Lamb, and Virginia Woolf, paradoxically privileges her, and them, instead of the opposite. She is being edited by an educated male. But she rebels. For her there is but one totalizing Showing of Love, ever circling back on itself. While for her editors, there are sixteen Casaubonesque Procrustean-bed Latinate linear pigeonholes, the XVI Revelations of Divine Love. We are called upon to study both, not one or the other.

s in her dialoguing, her collaborating, with left-brain males in achieving a right-brain visionary inclusive break-through, back to Jesus the Jew, our Brother, through Rabbi David Kimhi on God as Mother, while she rejects Pseudo-Dionysius' left-brain hierarchies (a word he invented) and his apophatic mysticism, countering it with the tangible hazel nut; she rejects Aristotle's analytical Categories and his misogyny; and - in medieval post-King Edward's Norwich - she rejects anti-Semitism. Her last word in her version dated 1413, at the height of Lollardy, is a prayer for her 'Evencristenn', who are ben-Adam, every man, every woman, all men, all women. Very much of the right hemisphere. She bridges Buddhism and Christianity, Islam and Christianity, Judaism and Christianity, Orthodoxy and Catholicism, Catholicism and Protestantism. She is translated into many languages, German, French, Russian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Croatian, Hungarian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. I believe she exemplifies Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy and Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning in writing psychotherapy, Logotherapy, as
Jeongho Yang will show us, in the face of trauma, healing disturbed brain chemistry.
We intersperse Rev Malcolm Guite's sonnets between the scholarly papers, creating of our work a mixture of prose and poetry, a Boethian/Julian Consolation of Wisdom, a Maenippean satire, a harmonizing of the left and right hemisphers of the brain, to make scholarship be also prayer, as Rev Norman Tanner, S.J., Richard Norton, Rev Jeremy Haselock, Paul Hurst, and Rev Malcolm Guite himself, show as integral to her medieval East Anglian being. Julian, within her Book, protectingly holds in the palm of her hand the entire cosmos, all of God's creation, all of us, here in her Carrow Priory and everywhere, six hundred and forty years ago and now.


Augustine Baker O.S.B. Alphabet and Order. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119:16. The Anchor of the Spirit; The Apologie; Summarie of Perfection. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119:30. St Benedict's Rule. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.24.  Collections I-III and The Twelve Mortifications of Harphius. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.21. Directions for Contemplation. Book D. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.11. Directions for Contemplation. Book F. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.12. Directions for Contemplation. Book G. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.13. Directions for Contemplation. Book H. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.14. Discretion. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.9. Doubts and Calls. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.10. An Enquiry about the Author of the Treatises of the Abridgement and Ladder of Perfection; The Mirror of Patience and Resignation; Love of Enemies; All virtues in General; Spiritual Emblems. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119:33. Flagellum Euchomachaorum. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.38. Five Treatises: The Life and Death of Dame Margaret Gascoigne, Treatise of Confession. Analecta Cartusiana 119.23. Idiot's Devotion - The Penitent. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 265. Idiot's Devotion - Directions, Parts One and Two. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119:29. An Introduction or preparation to a Treatise of the English Benedictine Mission. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119:35. Remains. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119:31. A Secure Stay in all Temptations. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.8. Secretum. Introduction and Notes, John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.20. A Spiritual Treatise . . . Called A.B.C. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.17. A Treatise of the English Mission: the First Part. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119:36.  A Treatise of the English Mission: the Second Part. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119:36.Vox Clamantis in Deserto Animae. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.22. Ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 1998-2013.
Santha Bhattacharji. God is an Earthquake: The Spirituality of Margery Kempe. London: DLT, 1997.
Birgitta of Sweden. Revelationes 
Complete Latin text at
_______. The Liber celestis of Bridget of Sweden. Ed. Roger Ellis. London: Oxford University Press. EETS 291.
_______. The Revelations of Saint Birgitta. London: Oxford University Press, 1929. EETS 178.
Martin Buber. Ecstatic Confessions: The Heart of Mysticism. Ed. Paul Mendes-Flohr. Trans. Esther Cameron. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1996.
Michael Camille. The Gothic Idol: Ideology and Image-Making in Medieval Art. Cambridge: University Press, 1989.
Catherine of Siena. The Orcherd of Syon. Ed. Phyllis Hodgson and Gabriel Liegey. London: Oxford University Press, 1966. EETS 258.
Jane Chance. 'Cognitive alterities: From cultural studies to neuroscience and back again'. postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies. 3:3 (2013), 247-261.

Deeana Copeland Klepper. The Insight of Unbelievers: Nicholas of Lyra and Christian Reading of Jewish Text in the Later Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.
Marleen Cre. Westminster Cathedral Treasury 4: A Fifteenth-Century Compilation. Thesis, University of Glasgow, 1997.
_______. Vernacular Mysticism in the Charterhouse: A Study of London, British Library, MS Additional 37790. The Medieval Translator=Traduire au Moyen Age 9. Tournhout; Brepols, 2006.

Roger Ellis. Syon Abbey: The Spirituality of the English Brigittines. Salzburg:  1984. Analecta Cartusiana 68. Ed. James Hogg.
Hugh Feiss, O.S.B.  'Dilation: God and the World in the Visions of Benedict and Julian of Norwich'.
American Benedictine Review 55:1 (March 2004), 55-73.
William Flete. Remedies against Temptations. Ed. Eric Colledge and Noel Chadwick.
Archivio Italiano per la Storia della Pietá 5 (Rome, 1968).
Viktor Frankl. Man's Search for Meaning. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1962.
Gail McMurray Gibson.
The Theater of Devotion: East Anglian Drama and Society in the Late Middle Ages. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.
Vincent Gillespie and Maggie Ross. '"With mekenes aske perseverantly": On Reading Julian of Norwich'. Mystics Quarterly 30 (2006), 122-37.
Marion Glasscoe.
English Medieval Mystics: Games of Faith. London: Longman, 1993.
Joan Greatrex. Biographical Register of the English Cathedral Priories of the Province of Canterbury, circa 1066-1540. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997.
St Gregory. Dialogues.

Margaret Harvey. The English in Rome 1362-1420: Portrait of an Expatriate Community. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Julia Bolton Holloway. Anchoress and Cardinal: Julian of Norwich and Adam Easton, O.S.B.
Analecta Cartusiana 35:20. Spiritualität Heute und Gestern. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2008. Ed. James Hogg.
Colections by an English Nun in Exile, Bibliothèque Mazarine 1202. Ed. Julia Bolton Holloway. Analecta Cartusiana 119:26. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Salzburg, 2001. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.
In a Great Tradition: Tribute to Dame Laurentia McLachlan, Abbess of Stanbrook by the Benedictines of Stanbrook. London: John Murray, 1956.
Julian Jaynes. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976 
Julian of Norwich. 
Showing of Love: Extant Texts and Translation. Ed. Sister Anna Maria Reynolds, C.P. and Julia Bolton Holloway. Florence: SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2001. Biblioteche e Archivi 8.
Showing of Love. Trans. Julia Bolton Holloway. Collegeville: Liturgical Press; London; Darton, Longman and Todd, 2003.
Kennicott Bible, with RADAK (Rabbi David Kimhi), Sepher Mikhlol. Facsimile, Linda and Michael Falter.
Jean Leclercq. The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture. Trans. Catherine Misrahi. London: SPCK, 1978.

Andrew Lee. The Most Ungrateful Englishman: The Life and Times of Adam Easton. Gloucestershire: Andrew Lee, 2006.
Maria R. Lichtmann, '"I desyred a bodylye syght": Julian of Norwich and the Body', Mystics Quarterly 17 (1991), 12-19.
V.D. Lipman. The Jews of Medieval Norwich. London: Jewish Historical Society, 1967.

John MacFarlane, 'The Life and Writings of Adam Easton, O.S.B.' University of London Ph.D. Thesis, 1955.
Margery Kempe.
The Book of Margery Kempe. Ed. Hope Emily Allen. London: Oxford University Press, EETS 212.
Teresa Morris. Julian of Norwich: A Comprehensive Bibliography and Handbook. Lewiston: Mellen, 2012.
Norfolk Record Office. King's Lynn and the Hanse.
Veronica M. O'Mara. A Study and Edition of Selected Middle English Sermons. Leeds: Leeds Texts and Monographs N.S.13, 1998
Brendan Pelphrey. Lo, How I Love Thee! Shreveport: Spring Deer Studio, 2013.

Pseudo-Dionysius. The Complete Works. Trans. Colm Luibheid. New York: Paulist Press, 1987. Classics of Western Spirituality.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
'L'attualità di Santa Brigida di Svezia/ The relevance of Saint Bridget for our times', Atti dell'incontro internazionale di studio, Roma, 3-7 ottobre 1991/ Proceedings of the International Study Meeting, Rome, October 5-7, 1991. Prefaced: John Paul II. Roma: Casa Generalizia Suore Santa Brigida, 1991. Pp. 71-92.
Gershom Scholem. Origins of the Kabbalah. Ed. R.J. Werblowsky, trans. Allan Arkush. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
Jill Bolte Taylor. My Stroke of Insight. London: Hodder, 2009.
Rosalynn Voaden. God's Words, Women's Voices: The Discernment of Spirits in the Writing of Late-Medieval Women Visionaries. York: York Medieval Press, 1999.
_______, Ed. Prophets Abroad: The Reception of Continental Holy Women in Late-Medieval England. Cambridge: Brewer, 1996.
David Wallace. 'Margery in Dansk'.
Nancy Bradley Warren.
The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 2013.
Nicholas Watson.
'The Composition of Julian of Norwich's Revelation of Love'. Speculum 68 (1993), 637-683.
______. 'Censorship and Cultural Change in Late-Medieval England: Vernacular Theology, the Oxford Translation Debate, and Arundel's Constitutions of 1409'. Speculum 70 (1995), 822-864.

Diane Watt. Secretaries of God: Women Prophets in Late Medieval and Early Modern England. Cambridge: Boydell, 1997.

asked participants to read the above position paper, not presenting it verbally. Instead I presented Father Nathanael Smyth's icon as one of the many faces of Julian in the 2013 Norwich Julian Week, arranged by Louise
Øhrstrøm. I described how the icon gives Julian as a Benedictine contemplative, here at Carrow Priory, as she herself does in the opening of the Westminster Manuscript, contemplating on the Truth and the Wisdom of the soul of Mary, that Truth and Wisdom being the Christ within her of the Advent 'O Sapientia' Antiphon, with whom she is pregnant. And how we contemplating this icon in turn become as Julian contemplating Mary as she contemplates on Christ within. Following which Rev Malcolm Guite read his sonnet on the Advent 'O Sapientia' antiphon.

Rev Malcolm Guite Sr Julia Nancy Bradley Warren
 cannot think unless I have been thought,
Nor can I speak unless I have been spoken;
I cannot teach except as I am taught,
Or break the bread except as I am broken.
O Mind behind the mind through which I seek,
O Light within the light by which I see,
O Word beneath the words with which I speak,
O founding, unfound Wisdom, finding me,
O sounding Song whose depth is sounding me,
O Memory of time, reminding me,
My Ground of Being, always grounding me,
My Maker’s bounding line, defining me:
Come, hidden Wisdom, come with all you bring,
Come to me now, disguised as everything.

Rev Malcolm Guite




iturgy, in the sense of prayer that was both public and communal, remained central to Catholic practice throughout the medieval period. The Mass, or eucharist, in which Christ’s saving work was celebrated and realized anew, lay at the heart of the liturgy. The same mystery was celebrated even while the rites (the precise wording and other observances) varied somewhat: Gallican rite in France, Mozarabic rite in Spain, Ambrosian rite in Milan and Lombardy, Sarum and some other rites in England, Dominican rite for the Order of Preachers, Carthusian rite for Charterhouses, and other variations. The “Roman rite” became more widespread in the course of the Middle Ages, helped by its adoption by the Franciscan order. The other six sacraments – baptism, confirmation, penance or confession, marriage, orders, and last anointing – remained integral to the liturgy. Here too there was both continuity with the first millennium and some development and regional variation. The divine office, with its eight “hours” of matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers and compline, remained fundamental for religious orders, especially the monastic orders, and in the later Middle Ages an increasing number of laity were praying some or all of the hours.  
A near-contemporary account of the life of Cicely, Duchess of York, mother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III of England, provides a vivid description of the daily order of this devout woman in the late fifteenth century. The details of liturgy, prayer and spiritual reading are revealing of late medieval lay piety, though the arrangements partly depended upon Lady Cicely’s aristocratic status. The account reads as follows: 
Me seemeth it is requisite to understand the order of her own person concerning God and the world.  She used to arise as seven of the clock, and had ready her chaplain to say with her Matins of the day and Matins of our Lady. And when she is full ready, she has a low Mass in her chamber. And after Mass she taketh somewhat to recreate nature; and so goes to the chapel, hearing the divine service and two low Masses. From thence to dinner, during the time whereof she has a reading of holy matter, either (Walter) Hilton of Active and Contemplative Life, Bonaventure De infancia Salvatoris (Infancy of our Saviour), the Golden Legend, St Maud, St Katherine of Siena, or the Revelations of St Brigit.
After dinner she gives audience to all such as have any matter to show unto her, by the space of one hour. And then she sleeps one quarter of an hour. And after she has slept, she continues in prayer unto the first peal of Evensong. Then she drinks wine or ale at her pleasure. Forthwith her chaplain is ready to say with her both evensongs, and after that she goes to the chapel and hears Evensong by note (sung). From thence to supper, and in the time of supper she recites the reading that was had at dinner to those that be in her presence.
After supper she disposes herself to be familiar with her gentle women, to the following of honest mirth. And one hour before her going to bed, she takes a cup of wine, and after that goes to her private closet and takes her leave of God for all night, making an end of her prayers for that day; and by eight of the clock is in bed. I trust to our Lord’s mercy that this noble princess thus divides the hours to his high pleasure (W.A. Pantin, The English Church in the Fourteenth Century, 1955, p. 254)  
. . .
[Norman Tanner in New Short History of the Catholic Church (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2011), Chapter 3: Central and Late Middle Ages: vi. Liturgy, Prayer and Mysticism, continues by discussing the mystics, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Mechtild of Hackeborn, Gertrude “the Great”, Mary of Oignies, Juliana of Liege, Hadewijch, Angela of Foligno, Meister Eckhart, Henry Suso, Johann Tauler; Walter Hilton, Richard Rolle, the Cloud of Unknowing author, Catherine of Siena, Catherine of Genoa, Margarete Porete, Jeanne d’Arc (all of whom I prefer to call 'contemplatives', as more accessible and immediate to us, less elite and aloof from us).

He concludes with:]

For England, Julian of Norwich, who lived as an anchoress in the city, recorded her visions in Revelations of Divine Love, and The Book of Margery Kempe provides lively descriptions of the mystical experiences of this citizen of Lynn. Julian’s emphasis on the love of God, her description of the motherhood and feminine nature of God and her optimistic tone, epitomized in the words revealed to her, “All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”, which seem to offer the hope of salvation for all people, accord well with modern concerns. She suggests, too, how heaven is becoming our true selves, how our deficiencies are transformed into good rather than destroyed, how there is an element of the playful lover in God, how people living amidst the difficulties and dangers of life can come close to God. In her lifetime Julian had a local reputation for holiness but her Revelations became well known only in the twentieth century. Today the work, translated into modern English and many other languages, is perhaps the most widely read of all medieval mystical treatises.  

Rev Malcom Guite Sr Julia
e saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place,
As earth became a part of heaven's story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted,
He took us with him to the heart of things,
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and heaven-centered now, and sings;
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light;
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed.

Rev Malcolm Guite



Richard Norton

he Rule of St Benedict1 takes those enrolled in the “school of the Lord’s Service”2, that is each of us, on a deep inner journey to the centre of our souls in order to find there shadows of the Trinitarian God and from there to hasten onwards to a broader vision of the One who is Three. This journey is only possible because Benedict is convinced that every human creature is made in God’s image (imagio dei) and that the goal, end and entire purpose of our lives is to grow to be like Christ (imago Christi).

This being and becoming is deeply paradoxical. We are made in the image of God completely, but we must also take the twelve steps of humility3 if we are to find an ever closer union with God. God looks on us and sees that we are beautiful and yet we still need to be enfolded in his love. We are saved and yet we need to be forgiven and the grace to forgive ourselves and one another. We are caught in the tension between the now and the not yet, between the announcement of the promise of God and its fulfilment.

The theology of the Rule is a theology of Hope not least because for Benedict, as for John of the Pastoral Epistles, our origin our present and our destiny are saturated by the divine:

“How great is the love which the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!...Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”4

This is another great mystery, a vast arc from creation to glory, drawing us ever into and endless encounter with God, shining, ineffable and incomprehensible.

I believe this to be true of Julian too. So I want to argue that it is this Johannine concept of the lavishness of loving Grace which connects Benedict with Julian and gives shape to her Benedictineism which, with one or two notable exceptions, seems  to have been somewhat neglected by scholars.

I will do so briefly and in two ways: looking, first, at their shared understandings of what Prayer is and does and then at their concepts of the Holy Trinity.

begin by suggesting that the vocation of the eremite of Subiaco and that of the anchorite of Norwich is the same; to be a living prayer, a perpetual “pray –er” whose praise to God goes on inside and outside the individual and whose day is marked by continually returning to the Abbey or sitting quietly in her cell to pray, and in this way create a continual communion with the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Such prayer is the basis on which the whole opus dei is built. It is fundamentally contemplative in character, recalling as it does the saving deeds of God for the whole human race in Jesus Christ.

Prayer is sitting in silence until it silences us, choosing gratitude until we are grateful, praising God until we ourselves are a constant act of praise.5

By this “God is”, as Benedict says quoting First Peter, “glorified in all things”6 and because God first reached us in our depths and called us by name.

Or as Julian says:

“Prayer unites the soul to God, for though the soul may always be like God in nature and in substance restored by grace, it is often unlike him in condition, through sin on our part. Then prayer is a witness that the soul wills as God wills and it eases the conscience and fits us for grace. And so he teaches us to pray and have firm trust that we shall have it; for he beholds us in love and wants to make us partners in his good will and work.”7

Before we can do anything God is acting on our behalf, in our lives; and prayer responds to that prior action. We do not pray seeking a response from God. Rather we pray as a response to God.

As Thomas Keating has persuasively argued

“Contemplative prayer is the opening of mind and heart, our whole being to God, the Ultimate Mystery. Beyond thoughts, words and emotions it is a process of inner purification that leads, if we consent, to divine union”8

God calls us but leaves us free to respond or not. God’s action and our response are essential for living a dynamic life in Christ and this means in turn that the prayer that is offered is intended to be a vital (literally life giving) part of the life of women and men.

“And so we shall” says Julian, “by his sweet grace in our meek continual prayer come into him now in this life by many secret touching of sweet spiritual sights and feelings….”9

The praying community however large or small it may be, becomes a manifestation, an epiphany, of the mystery of the Risen Christ in the world; the “source of spirituality and nourishment for…prayer”10

For Benedict, in praying the Divine Office there is always a clear relationship between the action of God, the liturgy and the rest of life. It is what, for him, the consecrated life is all about.  Julian follows this so exactly that for her every hour of every day is, in principle at least, capable of becoming a liturgy which is offered to God as a sacrifice of love. Like Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection everything, even the most mundane occurrence is, for Julian, an occasion on which to practice the presence of God.

This is only possible because for Benedict and Julian all our acts of prayer are meant to be dialogue with the Saviour.

For Benedict, God speaks to his people in the revealed word of scripture and silence, in signs, symbols and sacraments.  We speak to God with words and silence, gestures and receptive souls and bodies.

Julian agrees but given the ecclesial circumstances of her day adds that God also speaks in the magisterium, however sceptical she may appear to be at times. And it is important to insist, I think, that it is from her deep, practical working knowledge of all these sources that her Revelations arise. They do not, as some populist versions of quotations from her work would have us believe, arise ex nihilo.

The genius of Benedict and Julian is to have the courage to take a range of existing sources and traditions and apply them in new ways which will bring them and others to fresh insights into the relationship between God and human beings, especially in prayer.

There are times when neither Benedict nor Julian feel up to or enthused by the life of unceasing prayer.11 Benedict warns his monks that there will be times when it is especially difficult, even alarming but that it is at these times that the perseverance in stability comes into play. Monks must face it head on and not run away12 and Julian too is often surprised and grieved by her own weakness and laziness in striving for an active participation in the things of God and yet has the assurance that “God……keep us safe all the time, in sorrow and joy; and sometimes people are left to themselves for the profit of their souls, although their sin is not always the cause.”13

But deep down Julian shares Benedict’s strong desire and a commitment to persevere to such an extent that it is not practically possible for her to make excuses or absent herself from the communal or solitary praying of the offices. And yet this is no mere following of rubrics or fulfilling an obligation. Rather, the communal or private worship of the Church, which includes the opus Dei, is given to both of them as a powerful means of intimate communion with the God who made them, to contemplate the mystery of salvation in Jesus Christ and to speak to their ever present Lord. This loving encounter is especially expressed, for Benedict in Praise and, for Julian, in thanksgiving and gratitude which, after all, amounts to the same thing.

God’s plan of salvation for us as individuals and community, as the Church at large, is revealed in the concrete circumstances of our life in Christ reminding us of God’s saving deeds in sending his Son into the world.

Once again we can see here a clear Johannine reference:

“In this the love of God was manifest towards us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation of our sins. Beloved if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”14

Prayer opens the eyes of the soul to God’s presence and causes it to rejoice that God is so near and all that he has in store “for those that love him.”

It is this which, for both Benedict and Julian, brings about a unity; a unity of the community and the individual with God. Praying in community or as an enclosed individual makes the pray-er part of the praying church, ecclesia orans, spreading throughout the entire world. Just as the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin were constant in their prayers after their Lord’s Ascension (Acts 4:32), so now, it seems to me, Benedict and Julian are conscious of  carrying on this apostolic tradition of prayer and encourage others to do the same until the kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.

At the root of Benedict’s communal prayer is a mindfulness of the praying Church and this is no less true of Julian alone in her cell.  Enclosed she might be but Julian is not detached from the koinonia, the holy community, which belongs to Christ and has Christ as its head.

This spirituality of communion, as we might call it, is summed up well in two quotations from the bishop-martyr St Ignatius of Antioch who died in 107 AD. It might be interesting to speculate whether and to what extent Benedict and perhaps by extension Julian knew of his work.

Using a not inappropriate musical trope in the first quotation he says this:

“In the symphony of your concord and love, the praises of Jesus Christ are sung. [You should] form a choir, so that by joining the symphony  by your concord, and by your unity taking your key note from God, you may with one voice through Jesus Christ sing a song to the Father. Thus he will both listen to you and by reason of your good life recognise in you the melodies of his Son.  It profits you therefore to continue in y6our flawless unity, that you may at all times have your share in God.”15

And in another place he says:

“In common let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, one love, in joy that is without blame, which is Jesus Christ – for there is nothing better than he.  Gather yourselves together, all of you, as unto one shrine, even God, as unto one altar, even One Jesus Christ, who proceeds from the one Father as in one and returned to one.”16

Christ is the centre of all monastic prayer as he is for Julian too. Christ calls them to pray and is fully and really present when they do so. There is something sacramental about prayer. In prayer Christ acts as their mediator and brings them an ever deepening sense of Go’s Love. He is, for them, quite literally Emmanuel, -God in their midst – who calls them to be open to divine mercy and grace.

 In prayer we are invited to experience the real and active presence of the Holy Trinity and it is to the distinctively Benedictine theology of the Trinity in Julian’s work that I now turn.

n the “Directory for the Celebration of the Work of God and Directive Norms for the celebration of the Monastic Liturgy of the Hours” which was prepared for all Benedictine communities we find these words:

To be authentic, the celebration of the Work of God (opus Dei) requires that three dimensions should always be found in the liturgical assembly, namely an ecclesial dimension (a community bounded by space and time in which the story of the Church is actualised); a community dimension (all are one body yet each has his or her own place and function); a personal dimension (encounter with God does not happen to a nameless crowd, but to beloved and fully conscious human persons.”17

There is no doubt that the personal dimension is a fundamental condition for the existence of all the others; if this is absent then the other two disappear. The celebration of the opus Dei is intensely personal.18

As we might expect Julian put all this much more succinctly.

We can say, I think, that her “Showings” are a treatise explaining how this is so and how these threefold dimensions lead us to the conclusion that, as she says “The Blessed Trinity is always pleased with its work”19

Everywhere she looks, in every passing thought and every hope Julian sees three facets of spiritual growth and desire. When she looks at God she sees three. When she looks at Christ she sees three. When she looks at her own life in Christ or that of her “even-Christians” she sees three. For proof of that we need look no further than her parable of the little thing. This is sometimes, but in my view wrongly, described as the parable of the hazel nut. Julian is very clear on the point - whatever the little thing is it is like a hazelnut. She does not say that it is a hazelnut: predication not identity.

The identity of the little thing, God tells her, is everything that has been made20 it exists because God loves it for “all things have their being in the grace of God”

“In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it. The second is that God loves it. The third is that God keeps it. But I cannot tell the reality of him who is my maker, lover and keeper, for until I am united to him in substance, I may never have complete rest or bliss.”21

For Julian, the three -ness in God envelopes all that is in creating love and sustaining Grace. God is her maker, lover and keeper. Each of these three activities become visible, become present to her, in the little thing, in all created things, in her soul.

But, of course, it does not stop there. It leads her into all truth as the Johannine Jesus promised:

“When he, the Spirit of Truth has come he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak and he will tell you things to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and will declare it to you.”22

Or, as Julian puts it;

“Truth sees God, and wisdom contemplates God, and with these two a third and that is the marvellous delight in God which is love.”

This love of the Holy Spirit, as the third person of the Trinity, has another perhaps higher meaning in the sixteenth revelation: “…given charity is virtue, and that is a gift of grace in deeds, in which we love God for himself, and ourselves in God, and that God loves for God”23

The words “a gift of grace in deeds” indicates that the grace of the Trinity is active within us and as we receive the Holy Spirit, we make every attempt to live in word and deed. Julian does not indicate how faithful Christians should carry out this insight into practice in the way, say, her contemporary Margery Kemp did, or recommended by St Catherine of Siena.

This lack of prescription echoes, I think, Benedict’s reflections on scripture and the liturgy in which he too saw the distinguishing marks of each person of the Trinity and its activities, but apart from spelling out how and why his communities should be ordered and disciplined as a result, said very little about translating them into the works of charity.  Even as the persons of the Trinity share completely in purpose and energy, they each act according to their person. The Father originates as the begetter, the Son shines as the begotten and the Holy Spirit moves as the breath of both.

Each of these activities reaches every aspect of life in the cloister, for this too, as we have seen, has its origin in the call of God, proceeds in Christo-centric prayer and the unique monastic chrism is completed in the Holy Spirit.

The unity of the persons of the Trinity and their activities work in diversity and in complete synchronicity, each acting in and through the other, so that for both Benedict and Julian each person  of the Trinity does what he is, not that each person is what he does.

In the same way then, mutatis mutandis, both Benedict and Julian are careful to avoid being specific about answering the questions “What are we do? Or “How then shall we live?” For them as for the present Holy Father it is enough to know that “The Holy Spirit transforms us. With our co-operation he also wants to transform the world we live in.”24

 And yet, neither Benedict nor Julian is content with a functional description of the trinity. Their theologies are much more complex in that the roles each person of the Trinity make visible their distinctions so that the one divine activity is completely effected by each of the persons and yet, paradoxically, is distinctly inflected by them.

The Father is the giver, the Son is the gift bearer and the Spirit is the gift; Maker, Lover, Keeper.

As the entire Rule of Benedict reminds us this truth about the nature of God seeps into our souls and becomes real knowledge which in turn leads to wonder, love and praise.

Julian knew this:

“Suddenly, the Trinity filled my heart with the greatest joy. And so, I understood, it will be in heaven, without an end for those who come there. For the Trinity is God: God is the Trinity. The Trinity is our maker, the Trinity is our keeper. The Trinity is our everlasting lover. The Trinity is our endless joy and bliss, through our Lord Jesus Christ and in our Lord Jesus Christ. This truth was shown in the first showing and in all the showings, for where Jesus appears the blessed Trinity is understood, as I see it.”25

Endless joy and bliss as a result of the Trinitarian action in our lives yes, but as we might expect by now mingled with the paradox of the continuing power of cancelled sin,26 penance and spiritual struggle:

“All of us who shall be saved have within us during our life time a marvellous mixture of wellbeing and woe…By Adam’s falling we are so broken in our feelings in different ways (by sin and by various pains in which we are made dark and so blind), that only with difficulty can we take any comfort. But in our intensions we wait for God and faithfully trust that we shall have mercy and grace…and this is his own working in us. By his goodness he opens the eye of our understanding, in which we have sight, sometimes more, sometimes less, as god gives us the ability to accept it. Now we are raised to the one and now we are allowed to fall into the other. And thus the mixture in us is so puzzling that it is only with difficulty we know of ourselves or of our fellow Christians how we stand, with the strangeness of different feelings.”27

The question is how is it possible for people to live like that? And the answer which both Benedict and Julian give is by being ordinary.

In his book “Julian of Norwich: Theologian”28 my academic friend and former teacher Denys Turner spends a very great deal of time unpacking just what might be meant by Julian’s term “even Christian”. What he has to say is, as we might expect from him, quite remarkable.  If I have understood him correctly to be an “even Christian” in prayer meant, for Julian, coming to terms with the need to divest herself of any and every theological or ecclesial understanding or privilege which makes her feel special or which elevates her in the eyes of others.

If I am right about this then in a symposium such as this we might wonder whether if, as we are so often told, Julian was just an ordinary everyday woman, where and from whence could such notions of pride in scholarship arise? The options in Norwich 640 years ago are very limited indeed and the only answer is I argue, that she was a Benedictine, right here at Carrow. Now, that does not of course, make her a Nun.  As Janet Burton et al have recently argued there were a wide variety of functions for women all requiring education and sophistication in the medieval Benedictine family.29

 But to return to the point, Turner’s point, to be an “even Christian” means learning that we are not special after all. A hard lesson for some of us as indeed I think it was for Julian in her visions and for Benedict fleeing Rome, if St Gregory’s Dialogues are to be believed.

Once a person grasps this troublesome truth it is easy, to make the mistake of thinking that being an “even Christian” is to be one of the lads or one of the girls, just one of a nameless crowd.

Turner argues that this is exactly what Julian does not mean. While being an “even Christian” has nothing to do with intellectual or spiritual snobbery neither does it create a herd mentality. Religious pride has destroyed many lives, as the history of sixth and fourteenth centuries attest, but the reverse snobbery that will do anything and everything to fit in and be part of the hoi polloi is equally destructive.

Being an “ even Christian” means being none other than who we are, who God created us to be.

And that, of course, does not just make us special it makes us quite extraordinary!

That too looks very Benedictine. One of Benedict’s greatest contributions to western monasticism was to draw it back from extremes. He will not lay down anything that is “harsh or hard to bear,”30 but neither will he let his monks become too excited either, as the Chapter on Humility and his strictures against frivolity show.

 His monks were cut off from the world in some ways, but their communities were also integrated into the wider world. Their basic life-style was simply that of the subsistence farmers amongst whom they lived. Benedict was never a priest, and he envisioned his monasteries as communities of laymen. Benedict’s Rule is not an esoteric treatise that ushers its devotees into the mystical realm through the mastery of arcane knowledge and bizarre asceticism. Benedict is no guru! His Rule is a practical guide for ordinary women and men to follow Christ perfectly by living in community. As such, its principles can be applied to all lay people, families and every Christian community of faith.

While it is enclosed, Julian’s anchorage was also not elitist or extraordinary. The contemplative life is a vital and ordinary part of the whole Church. If the Church is a body, then women like Julian are its heart and its lungs, beating and breathing with the liturgy and with prayer which keeps it alive with passion, with the passion which vitalises the whole people of God and makes them whole.

Surely Julian saw her entry into the cell as the most natural thing to do. Her visions were for ordinary Christians precisely because she thought of herself as an ordinary Christian.

And that, it seems to me, is the most important legacy which Julian may have received from Benedict: the call to find ourselves, and so God, in ordinary life. The “little rule for beginners” lies open before everyone. It provides one path leads through the real demands and details of everyday life. The family, the school, the parish, the workplace can be and are all schools for the Lord’s service.31 Because both Benedict and Julian know that God is present in ordinary life, their vision transforms mundane existence. Suddenly every moment shines with the possibility of heaven and surges with potential joy. This understanding infuses Benedict and Julian with a rush of energy, so great vigour Benedict calls on his brothers and sisters to

“…rouse…ourselves…run while we have the light of life… if we wish to make our home in the dwelling place of his kingdom, there will be no getting there unless we run towards it by good deeds.”32

Julian also radiates a magnificent vitality in calls to arms more numerous than time allows here to mention. And is it not precisely this that enables St Therese of Lisieux some six centuries later to proclaim:

“In order to be holy, the most essential virtue is energy. With energy one can easily reach the height of perfection.33 You cannot be half a saint. You must be a whole saint or not at all.”34

And someday scholars will look at what connects the Showing of Love of our beloved anchorite with those of the young French Carmelite too.

1 Rule of St Benedict. (hereafter RB) Trans. Abbot Timothy Parry OSB with an Introduction and Commentary by Ester de Waal.
2 RB Prologue.
3 RB chapter 7.
4 I Jn 3:12.
5 Fr Richard Rohr O.P.  in a meditation sent as an email message from his Centre for Action and Meditation 29th April 2013.
6 1 Peter 4:11.
7 Revelations 14. The edition of Julian’s writings used here is that in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library series at Last Accessed 01 May 2013. It is interesting to speculate whether and to what extent what Julian has to say here influenced the remark given by Fr. Basil Pennington OCSO in an interview with Mary Nurrie Stearns in 1991:

We are united with everybody in our human nature and in our sharing of the divine nature, so we are never really alone; we have all tis union and communion. Getting in touch with that reality is our greatest healing. We can adopt meditative practices which enable us to begin that journey of finding our true inner selves or transcending our separate selves and learn to leave behind some of the pain and suffering. 
As cited in Transforming Suffering 1991 found at Last accessed 01 May 2013.
8 Thomas Keating OCSO in an interview with Kate Olson, “Centering Prayer as Divine Therapy” Trinity News. Trinity Church in the City. New York City. Vol 42.4  2995.
9 43;255.
10 Vatican II. Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #90.
11 1Thess5:17.
12  RB Prologue.
13 Revelation 7.
14 1 Jn 4:9-11.
15 Ad Eph IV. (To the Ephesians”)
16 AD Magn, VII (“To the Magnesians”)
17 #21 page 40: The Triple Dimension of Celebration.
18 Matt 18:19, Acts 1:14; 2:46. Rom 15:1-7 RB chapter 19:7 “The Discipline of the Psalmody”.
19 Revelations 3.
20 Jn1:3.
21 Revelations 5.
22 Jn 16:13-14.
23 Revelations 16.
24 Pope Francis on Twitter. 29 April 2013.
25 Revelations 4.
26 “He breaks the power of cancelled Sin/He sets the prisoner free/His blood can make the foulest clean/His blood availed for me.” “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” A hymn by Charles Wesley in the public domain.
27 Rev 52.
28 Denys Turner: Julian of Norwich-Theologian Yale University Press. New Haven CT USA 2011.
29 Janet E Burton & Karen Stober (eds): Monasteries & Society in the British Isles in the Later Middle Ages. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2008.
30 RB4.
31 Loc cit.
32 Ibid p2.
33 John Clark (tr) General Correspondence (of St Therese of Liseux) Vol II. Washington Dc, ICS Publications 1988, p. 909.
34 Ibid p. 1133.

See also Julia Bolton Holloway, Julian of Norwich on Prayer (Florence: Aureo Anello Books, 2007).

                                                                        Rev Malcom Guite
ou sought to start a simple school of prayer,
A modest, gentle, moderate attempt,
With nothing made too harsh or hard to bear,
No treating or retreating with contempt,
A little rule, a small obedience
That sets aside, and tills the chosen ground,
Fruitful humility, chosen innocence,
A binding by which freedom might be found
You call us all to live, and see good days
Centre in Christ  and enter in his peace
To seek his Way amidst our many ways
Find blessedness in blessing, peace in praise
To clear and keep for Love a sacred space
That we might be beginners in God's grace.
Rev Malcom Guite



Cardinal Adam Easton's Pseudo-Dionysios

t has long been remarked that Julian of Norwich seems to share certain stylistic and theological elements with works of Pseudo-Dionysius, to whom Julian refers as “St Dyonisi.” More recently, Julia Bolton Holloway has pointed out that Julian may have known a manuscript owned by her contemporary, Cardinal Adam Easton, which contained Pseudo-Dionysios’ works. But is Julian’s theology “Dionysian”?

This paper proposes that neither Julian, nor Pseudo-Dionysios (whom the author identifies with Peter the Iberian) was “Dionysian” as Dionysios was, and often still is, understood in the West. Rather, as understood in the Eastern Church, his works use Neoplatonic language to explain Orthodox Christianity. Notably, however, Julian does not borrow either the primary arguments nor the puzzling and technical language of Pseudo-Dionysios’ works, although her theology is strongly reminiscent of Eastern Orthodox mysticism. The author concludes that whatever Julian may have known of Dionysios’s works, the two writers were describing similar experiences of near-death and of God’s all-encompassing Love, which they struggled to explain theologically to their contemporaries.


y task today is to examine Julian of Norwich with relation the theology of Dionysios the Areopagite, who is known in academic circles as Pseudo-Dionysius. We shall approach the topic in terms of major themes and with regard to the milieu in which the Dionysian corpus was produced.
In this kind of exercise, we must always remember that we are in fact talking about two people whose names we do not actually know, who lived centuries apart in different parts of the world, and whose churches were very different. Though this brief study is hardly definitive, it is nevertheless interesting to speculate about what Julian may have known about Dionysios, and how his writings may have influenced her.
Readers know that Julian’s Showing of Love refers briefly to “St. Dyonisi,” or “Denis of France,” who is meant to be Dionysios the Areopagite mentioned in Acts 17:34. Modern scholars agree that the person referred to by Julian would not have been the actual individual known to St. Paul, but a much later writer—possibly a Syrian, almost certainly a monk, possibly of the fifth century—who produced a number of spiritual reflections that became known in Europe several centuries later in Latin translation. These later gave rise, by Julian’s time, to English paraphrases such as the Hid Divinity, attributed at the time to the Areopagite mentioned in Acts; and The Cloud of Unknowing, which attempts to summarize Dionysian concepts.
There is no doubt that the Dionysian corpus as it was known in Latin influenced many western mystics, including Thomas Aquinas, Birgitta of Sweden and Julian’s contemporary Walter Hilton; as well as the author of the Ancrene Riwle. Elements of Dionysian ideas can be seen, for example, in the common medieval assumption that contemplative life consists of three major steps on the way towards union with God, known in English theology as “Purgation, Illumination, Union” or as Beginner, Proficient, and Perfect; or as “Dowell (Do-well), Dobet (Do better), Dobest.”1
By Julian’s day it was assumed that the biblical figure, Dionysios the Areopagite, had travelled to Gaul (hence, “St Denis of France”) and that he was buried at the abbey church of St-Denys. Indeed, there seem to be several figures called “Dionysius” whose identities were muddled in legend. These included not only the Greek philosopher mentioned in Acts—who, in Eastern Church tradition, became Bishop of Athens (his feast-day is October 3)—but a martyr whose head was cut off and who carried it around with him for several days before expiring.
Julian’s mention of Denis raises several interesting questions. Was she familiar with his works directly? Or, did she know of him through English paraphrases or translations of his works? But even if she did read his theology, how did she understand it? Are there elements of Dionysian thought in Julian’s Showing which we can identify?
I am unqualified to answer the question whether or how Julian knew the actual works of Dionysios. Julia Bolton Holloway has pointed out the possibility, perhaps even probability, that Julian knew a manuscript owned by the Cardinal Adam Easton, her contemporary.2 Cardinal Easton lived close to Julian’s cell in Norwich, was multilingual, and This manuscript included Pseudo-Dionysios’ works both in Latin and in Greek. If Julian did not read these directly, she could easily have known about them and known of their content through discussions with the Cardinal or others who were familiar with Dionysian works. She almost certainly would have been familiar with Dionysian ideas as they were translated or paraphrased in English. Dionysios was in the air, and had been for a long time.
It is a different question, however, whether in fact Julian’s theology is Dionysian. She does have certain stylistic elements in common with Dionysios’ works, as was pointed out many years ago by Sr. Anna Marie Reynolds.3 On the other hand, as I wrote nearly forty years ago, Julian’s theology itself does not represent Dionysian thought as it was understood in England. This point must be made carefully. It is not that Julian is not Dionysian; rather, that she does not duplicate Dionysian thought as it was understood by her English contemporaries, or even by scholars in the West today.4
To analyze Julian on this score is to enter a theological minefield. First there is the question whether Dionysios was correctly understood in England in Julian’s day, at least as Pseudo-Dionysios is viewed from the standpoint of Eastern Christian tradition. Even today, Orthodox theologians would say that Dionysios is a saint (leaving aside the issue of the actual identity of the writer) who draws out some of the deepest aspects of Orthodox spirituality; but that his work was misunderstood in the West to represent a form of Neoplatonism or Originism, variously embraced or rejected by Western mystics.
I must admit that this analysis is not universal among Orthodox, at least in America. Only last summer I spoke with a Greek-American academic who casually remarked that, of course, early Orthodox Christian theology is Neoplatonic. He not only did not see Neoplatonism as any sort of obstacle to Christian theology, but seemed to refer to it reverentially. However on this point I think nearly all Orthodox theologians would disagree. In general the Eastern perspective is that early Christian theology was not only not Neoplatonic, but that it was deliberately anti-Platonic in certain respects, even where Platonic language was adopted by Christian theologians and even where certain aspects of Platonic thought (including elements of Plato’s dialogues) were seen as pointing towards the incarnate Christ. Furthermore, to grasp this point is to grasp Orthodoxy as opposed to Augustinianism, Thomism and much of Western mysticism in general.
Second, it is important to evaluate whether Julian’s theology is “Platonic” or not. I have written about this at some length previously and will only touch on it here. My conclusion is that in essential matters Julian is not Platonic at all, even though she mentions Dionysios and even though she duplicates some of his thought.
Finally, once we have arrived at some understanding of Dionysios as he is understood in the East, we can look for points of similarity in Julian’s theological framework. I will argue here that Julian does not simply pass on phrases here and there which sound Dionysian, but rather that she puts forward an Orthodox mysticism which is profoundly Dionysian and profoundly Orthodox; while neither she, nor the original Dionysios, is a Neoplatonist.
Our task today is not to prove the identity of the actual author of the Dionysian corpus, nor to trace the transmission of the texts to medieval England by way of the court of Charles the Bald. Over the last century, and up to the present time, volumes have been written about these topics.  I would suggest, however, that we should not dismiss the tradition in the East that Dionysios was…well, Dionysios. In Orthodox tradition, the Dionysian corpus is understood as stemming from the teachings of the original Dionysios, even if redacted a number of times over several centuries. This is the tradition summarized in 1895 by the Rev. John Parker and resurrected each year on October 3 by John Sanidopoulos on his blog site, Mystagogy.5
I personally find compelling the argument that the identity of Dionysios the writer, however, was Peter the Iberian. Peter was a fourth-century monastic from Georgia (d. 492) who lived in the court of the Empress Evdokia (“Eudocia” or “Eudoxia”) in Constantinople, and who probably composed the original work in the 460’s—the corpus seeing some revision later on, perhaps in the 490’s.
The tradition that “Dionysios” is Peter the Iberian is very strong, to the point of certainty, in the Church of Georgia. According to ancient Georgian tradition, Peter/Dionysios was a “peace child,” originally known as Naburnagus (Naburnagos or Naburnagios), who was brought up in the Byzantine court and educated there. He eventually became a missionary to the “Arab Camp” near the lavra of St. Evthymios and the cenobium of St. Theoctistis. He was monastically trained in the desert tradition as embodied in contemporary saints such as Melania the Younger—a close friend of the Empress Evdokia—Evthymios, Sabbas, and others. Naburnagus had a mentor named John, a eunuch who experienced near-death and a marvellous vision of Paradise.
According to tradition, at some point Peter left the court of the Empress to accompany his mentor to Damascus, where the two lived as monks. Thus, Peter—the writer of the Dionysian corpus—was well educated in the Byzantine court and knew Platonic philosophy well, along with the very important Syrian monastic and liturgical tradition. This Syrian tradition notably includes the work of great and influential contemporary hymnographers such as Ephrem the Syrian, whose liturgical hymns are nothing less than profound Orthodox theology and prayer set to music. Ephrem, moreover, is known to us today as the author of the wonderful description of a vision of after-life known as the Hymns on Paradise.6
Basil Lourié has recently revived the argument that Peter the Iberian was indeed the author of the Dionysian corpus.7 This argument was put forward in modern times by Shalva Nusybidze (1942) and Ernst Honigmann (1952), and revisited by Michel van Esbroeck in the 1990’s. Although, in Lourie’s words, van Esbroeck’s work was “largely ignored,” Lourie makes the case in considerable detail.
Lourié notes that only a few candidates could possibly fit the numerous criteria required for the “real” Dionyisios, the writer. These include the close relationship to a mentor, a eunuch, who had experienced near-death and a vision of Paradise; the particular style of language used in the Dionysian corpus; the author’s intimate knowledge of so many things, including the monastic life, the liturgies of the Eastern Church, the Syrian milieu, Platonic philosophy, the writings of the Empress Evdokia, contemporary controversies (especially the Trisagion Controversy and Dionysios’ “theopaschite” convictions), and so on. In this scheme, Peter/Dionysios is writing as an apologetic to pagan philosophy, but also to counter heresy, relying in part on Clement of Alexandria; and additionally to pass on the monastic tradition he had learned, as well as the visions of afterlife recalled by his mentor.
Following Honigmann, Lourié points out that John the Eunuch is surely the mentor who had the vision of Paradise. Furthermore, the Empress Evdokia’s father was a pagan Platonic philosopher. According to Nicephorus Callistus, Evdokia herself is credited with formulating an apologetic to Platonists using their own beautifully poetic linguistic style, being much influenced by Melania the Younger. There is some thought that Melania may also have composed some of the Dionysian corpus. In any case, the Dionysian author relies directly upon Evdokia’s ideas if not her actual words.
Whomever we find most likely to be the author of the Dionysian corpus, there are several characteristics of these works which we may underscore here:

 ·  First, the Dionysian works possess a peculiar vocabulary which would presumably have been understood in its own milieu, but which would not be typical anywhere else. Specifically, this is the language of monasticism and more specifically the school of Melania the Younger. The Dionysian works also reflect the peculiarities of the so-called Trisagion Controversy, being argued toward the end of the fifth century; and a Syrian Christian setting. Furthermore, there are references in Dionysios to liturgical phrases and elements (such as what are apparently the “deacon’s doors” in the iconostasis, through which the deacons enter and exit the Holy of Holies in an Orthodox Church) which would not likely have been recognized as such in the West.

·   Second, the themes which are important to the Dionysian works are not especially compelling to us in the West today, because (once again) they belong to a particular milieu which is not well understood outside the Eastern Orthodox tradition. These themes were, however, fascinating to medieval Western writers who first encountered them, precisely because they seemed “foreign” and exotic. They quickly became highly influential in western mysTIal literature, especially for writers like John Scotus Eriugena (who translated these works from Greek into Latin), who were already familiar with elements of Eastern Christian tradition.

·   Major themes in the Dionysian works include the idea that there is a celestial hierarchy which is replicated in the hierarchical structure of the Church and in its liturgies; the idea that the essence of God cannot be known, even though the “energies” or works of God are known; that it is possible to encounter angelic beings in prayer; that all that exists participates in some way in the goodness or positive existence which is God and which is God-given; and that, therefore, pure evil has no positive existence (since evil is what is not-God).        
At the risk of encountering objections from some quarters, I am going to argue that the Pseudo-Dionysius who is so well known in the West and who was so influential was therefore not the “real” Dionysios at all. In other words, once Dionysios’ works reached the West and were put into Latin, then later loosely rendered into English, they were seriously misinterpreted, even though highly influential. In essence, the Dionysian works were understood in a Neoplatonic way which was acceptable, and even compelling, in the West, but which would have been rejected in the Orthodox East.8
This western “neoplatonism” appears chiefly in the idea that it is possible to know the essence of God, but only through various means of rising above, or escaping, the sensual life—that is, the physical, observable life of this world. Thus, as we noted earlier, the works of “St. Denis” gave rise in the West to several ideas which became commonplace among the mystics: that the material world is an impediment to knowing God, because the nature of God is spiritual (or supremely Rational) and not material; that, therefore, it is necessary to rise above the material world through prayer and certain spiritual exercises; and that the contemplative must pass through “stages” of experience, as mentioned earlier, in a sort of hierarchy of mystical knowledge.
All these are Neoplatonic concepts. In Western Christian mysticism the means of acquiring knowledge of the divine essence varies from writer to writer: it may be through reason (Aquinas), love (Bernard and many of the western mystics), an act of the will (Duns Scotus), and so on. This ascent is possible, if difficult, the emphasis being not so much on the grace and gift of God as on the process and effort of the aspirant. The divine Knowledge, in any case, is not for “ordinary” Christians.
I believe that a long-standing tendency in western Christian theology, from Augustine and Boethius onward, was to platonize Christian theology and contemplative prayer. This tendency naturally invited a Platonic reading of Dionysios. However, the “real” Dionysios was actually saying something quite different. To understand this, we must return to the milieu in which Dionysios wrote.
Earlier, we noted that if Peter the Iberian were indeed the author of (most or all of) the Dionysian corpus, an important part of the milieu in which he wrote was Syrian: and specifically, the tradition of Syrian hymnography, in which theology is developed as part of the sung Liturgy of the Eastern Church. If so, “Dionysios’ ” primary personal orientation was not Neoplatonic philosophy but the Divine Liturgy and the context of the monastic services that are observed throughout the day and night.
Moreover, Dionysios/Peter was not chiefly concerned with philosophical speculation about the nature of God (as Reason, Love, Prime Mover, etc.) or even about the contemplative life. Rather, the language of the Dionysian corpus is that of experiential prayer, and specifically, Desert monastic contemplative prayer, hymnography and exposition of the Scriptures, in the context of the liturgical celebrations of the Eastern Church. We have to read his account of progression in the spiritual life in the context of other similar works from the same time—most famously, The Ladder of Divine Ascent by John Climacus (“Of the Ladder”) who lived at Mt. Sinai and who composed his work at about the same time (St. John reposed in 603).
The Syrian milieu of the Dionysian writer is partially available to us today in English translation, for example in some of the paradigmatic hymns of St. Ephrem the Syrian.9 Here we see precisely the themes which are addressed in the Dionysian corpus. These include the ideas that, ultimately, the essence of God is unknowable to human beings; that in Paradise there are realms or “hierarchies” about which we know very little in this life, but which are iconically portrayed in the Church; that the energies of God are at work around us in all that exists, even though we cannot know the Essence of God at all; and that everything that exists is good, insofar as it exists at all. These hymnographers also point out that therefore, evil is a kind of non-being, though evil things participate in God’s goodness by virtue of their existence.
These concepts are not specifically Syrian but permeate the work of Eastern theologians as early as the second century but certainly from the fourth century onward. They are part of a tradition which is seen in the work of monastic theologians such as SS Athanasios, Gregory of Nyssa, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, Maximos the Confessor, and eventually, Gregory Palamas, who was contemporary with Julian.
Where did these important Dionysian ideas originate? Many writers today continue to attribute Pseudo-Dionysius’ ideas to philosophers such as Plotinus or Origen. However, we observed that Dionysian language reflects the actual experience of monastic prayer, Trinitarian teaching, the Divine Liturgy, and Syrian hymnography. We also noted the tradition that the Dionysian corpus was in part a theological reflection upon the near-death experience of the author’s mentor. This mentor, like Ephrem the Syrian himself, had “seen” the after-life, and struggled to describe these extraordinary visions and to understand them theologically.  We should not simply ignore these elements of the tradition about the author.
Thus Peter/Dionysios, writing in a poetic style similar to that of St Ephrem, speaks of heavenly realms and heavenly bodies, Paradise, and the fact that human beings have no idea of the transcendent reality of the Divine Nature—things which were revealed to certain saints but which can cannot be understood by the rational mind. Rather than being a “Neoplatonist with a tinge of Christianity”,10 Dionysios/Peter was in fact a Christian apologist to Neoplatonists as well as a poet reflecting on the Liturgies and theology of the Eastern Church. We can even say that he would have rejected the most important premises of Neoplatonism that we see in later Western mysticism. Hence:

·   Dionysios is not arguing that God cannot be known unless we rise above this material existence. Rather, he is saying that the essence of God cannot be known at all because we are creatures, not the Creator. This point was mistaken in the West, and gave rise to a different kind of apophaticism in western mysticism. In the West, one can rise to the knowledge of God through various means (understood differently by different writers, based upon their grasp of the divine attributes such as Divine Love, or pure Reason, and so on).  But in the East, knowledge of the essence of God is simply and eternally impossible to the creature.

·   Dionysios is not arguing that only contemplatives can know God, by passing through certain hierarchical levels of experience. Rather, he is saying that through the workings of God, any person of prayer can experience God directly, that is, energetically, even though we cannot know the divine Essence. However, this intimacy with God, the Trinity, requires a cleansing of our lives from sin and the passions, which is iconically depicted and experienced in the Liturgies and sacraments of the Church.

·   Dionysios is not saying that there is a super-essential “godhead” or divine Essence (like the Hindu brahman) that transcends the personhood of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Rather, he is arguing (perhaps to a non-Christian audience) that the Essence of God is to be found in the union of the Three Persons, who are mysteriously One—something which the human mind cannot comprehend. This triadic unity must have been fascinating to Platonists to whom Dionysios’ writing is addressed, but it was first of all significant for theological hymns which he would have heard in the Divine Liturgy and the accompanying services of Great Vespers, Orthros (“Matins”) and the Hours. Furthermore, his reflections upon the nature of the Incarnation were important to a contemporary controversy over additions to the Trisagion hymn (“Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us”) which is repeated constantly in the Eastern Liturgies and personal prayers. This addition (which became known as the theopaschal position) was: “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, crucified for us in the flesh...” The real question was whether God could somehow suffer. The author says “yes.”

·  Dionysios is saying that Christ is ‘o ōn,  “He Who Is” (as is traditionally inscribed in the nimbus around the head of Christ in all Orthodox iconography). These are the words which God uses to describe Himself to Moses (Exodus 3:14). Thus, if true Being is Christ, then nothing else that exists, exists in itself, but has being only insofar as there is the empowering, immediate, presence of God. Therefore the lover of God meets Christ in all things.        
Now let us compare Julian with Peter/Dionysios. Like Peter’s mentor John, Julian experienced visions of Paradise in her own near-death experience. Here she saw such things as Christ enthroned (which, interestingly, recalls the Eastern icon of Christ enthroned in Judgment); of a soul ascending into Heaven like a small child (again, recalling the Orthodox icon of the soul of Mary the Theotokos, in the arms of Christ at the time of her falling-asleep); of the divine revelation of the Father and the Spirit, in and through the incarnate Son; and so on. In developing these themes, however, Julian seems at first glance to be very different from the Dionysian writer on key points:
· Unlike Dionysios, Julian speaks repeatedly of the individual Persons of the Holy Trinity, and the salvific work which is peculiar to each of the Persons individually—even though all Three are always at work together in everything.

· Apparently unlike Dionysios, Julian wants to stress that the Persons of the Trinity were known to her specifically in Christ: that in Christ, we see the Father and the Spirit, for in Christ she “understood” the Trinity.

· Unlike Dionysios, Julian insists that she received her revelations, not from angels or any intermediaries but from God Himself—the Trinity, revealed through the Incarnate and crucified Son of God.

· Unlike Dionysios, Julian refers constantly to her “even-Christians,” and in this sense she seems opposed to the idea that there is any sort of hierarchy in the Christian life.

· Unlike Dionysios, who mentions Jesus occasionally, Julian speaks constantly of Jesus as her dearly beloved Lord and Savior.       
In all these points, Julian seems very nearly opposite Dionysios, though both share an emphasis on the Trinity. Thus at first glance it is nearly impossible to see how Dionysios might have directly influenced Julian—the two writers seem to have little in common. Certainly Julian was not a Syrian monk writing to other contemplatives who were already highly experienced in the practice of silence and psalmody.
However, another argument can be made: that in fact Julian’s theological outlook is profoundly Eastern, and for that reason highly reminiscent of Dionysian theology.  To appreciate this, we have to be aware of the Eastern Christian mystical tradition as a whole. A broad view, commonly assumed in the West, is that Dionysios was highly influential upon the works of later Eastern writers.  An even more broad view, however, is the Eastern perspective that there is an Apostolic tradition of mystical, supernatural prayer—attributable even to Dionysios the Areopagite who was known to St. Paul—which is adhered to consistently in the East. It is not derived from speculative philosophy but from the actual experience of the ascetics. This tradition is seen particularly in the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the 3rd-5th centuries, precisely the time in which the Dionysian corpus was produced. It was never abandoned in the East and is still very important today.
If Julian’s Showing of Love is read in light of Byzantine theology and mysticism, as presented for example in the 18th- and 19th-century collections of spiritual works known as the Philokalia, it becomes clear that her theology is remarkably similar on a number of key points. Frequently, these stand in contradiction to the arguments of her contemporaries. Some themes which demonstrate Julian’s “Orthodoxy” (with a capital “O”) are as follows :
· Emphasis on the Trinity: In Julian’s scheme, as in Eastern Orthodoxy in general, everything must be expressed in trinitarian ways because God is Trinity and cannot be known in any other way. Prayer itself is always trinitarian.

· Apophaticism: Although Julian does not labor the concept of “divine darkness,” she does clearly develop the idea of two “secrets” or “mysteries” in God. One of these mysteries is known to us through the revelation of Jesus Christ and is taught in the Church. However, the other we do not know; and this “secret” is the nature of God, the Trinity, within Himself, as well as the manner in which God will judge all things. Therefore we do not know, nor can we grasp, how divine Love will ultimately make “all things well.”

· Essence and Energies: As part of her apophatic theology, Julian makes the Dionysian distinction between the Being of God (the divine Essence) and the Energies of God (which she calls “workings,” an exact translation from the Greek energeia); and therefore between apophatic and cataphatic theology. Her explanation of apophatic theology is Eastern, not Western: she argues that it is impossible for the creature to know the Essence of God at all, because we are creatures and not Creator. And this is true, even though the contemplative can be fully immersed in God and (in Julian’s words), might not be able to distinguish between herself and God, while experiencing prayer and the “touching” of God.

· Glory: Julian continuously refers to the glory of Christ, as in the Transfiguration, as opposed to the emphasis in the West upon the immense suffering of Christ on the cross. Julian does clearly see the blood of Christ in the crucifixion itself; but she emphasizes the joy which the Son of God felt in suffering on our behalf. For Julian, the cross is surrounded by light.

· Theosis:  Julian’s understanding of salvation is of a process of growth into the divine likeness, in which we are glorified and share in the glory, beauty and joy of the transfigured Christ (the concept called theosis in Orthodoxy).

· Cleansing: The blood which fell down from the cross in profusion, like “scales on a herring,” is cleansing and life-giving blood. It washes clean from sin, even into Hades. This is very different from the general western emphasis (after Anselm) on the crucifixion as a payment for sin; but Julian’s understanding is depicted even today in Orthodox icons of the crucifixion, in which the blood flows down to Hades onto the skull of Adam.

· Redemption through the Incarnation: For Julian, the whole of the Trinity is revealed in Christ; and salvation is due to the “knitting” of humanity with divinity in His person. While this theme is found in the West as well as the East (for example, in the hymns that were chanted in the West at Easter midnight) Julian develops this theme theologically in a way which is not typical in the West—where the cross becomes the central, or even only, event which saves humankind. For Julian, it is the Incarnation which saves. Interestingly, this theme was important in the “theopaschism” of Peter the Iberian and his contemporaries, in which it is emphasized that on the cross it was the eternal Son of God who suffered in the flesh.

· Joy: Julian’s is not the fearful theology of an Anselm but the joyful and glorious theology of St. Symeon the New Theologian.

· Love: Julian does not see the Judgment of an angry God, but the joyful Love of God which is in Christ and which permeates all that exists. “There is no wrath in God.”

· Prayer: Julian has a balanced approach to contemplative prayer and asceticism, laboring to prove that her “even-Christians” (laypersons, not simply monks or contemplatives) can experience divine grace and even the vision of God. This is a theme we see in Eastern writers like Gregory the Theologian, Symeon the New Theologian, and Maximos the Confessor, but which we do not see in most of Julian’s contemporaries.

· A cosmic theology: Julian sees the inclusion of all the cosmos in the redemptive and re-creative acts of God, a theme which underlies Dionysian theology. Further, she sees the Divine Presence in everything that exists, at its center; and hence, that all that exists is good, by virtue of its participation in Being—a Dionysian argument which is pervasive in Orthodox tradition.

· The community of the Church: Julian emphasizes the community of believers rather than the individual in relationship to God, as in many Western writers.

· “No time”: Julian understands space/time with regard to creation, incarnation and resurrection in an Orthodox way—in which all space/time come together in Christ. This is depicted frequently in icons of Christ, such as the “Descent into Hades” (or “Resurrection”), which depicts before and after in terms of saints arranged on the left- and right-hand sides of the risen Christ.11

· Christ as Mother: Julian exactly replicates an Orthodox idea of Christ as our divine Mother (described, for example, by Maximos the Confessor), in which we, ourselves, become “bearers of Christ.”      
The nature of sin and evil: For Julian, as in the Eastern fathers, evil has “no manner of being” (it is mē ōn); and sin is therefore “no-deed,” a malevolent negation of what is good. We note that Julian, like Dionysios, refers to evil deeds or evil things in the world as being a mixture of this non-being, or negativity, with goodness (insofar as all things that exist are good, and God is present in all things); hence, in the language of the Eastern fathers, sin is ouk ōn, a sort of malevolent or chaotic negativity.
In these and other respects, Julian’s theology converges with that of Dionysios, but need not be derived directly from it. In a short paper it is impossible to treat these points at any length. I hope to do so eventually in a book dedicated entirely to the subject of Julian and Eastern Orthodox monastic tradition. However, in this brief reflection I want to suggest that Julian is unique for her time and place in this very Eastern approach to theology and revelation, as well as to contemplative prayer itself. I would moreover argue that her theology is strikingly similar to that of St Gregory Palamas, the celebrated Archbishop of Thessaloniki, in all of these points.12
It will be remembered that exactly contemporary with Julian, a controversy was taking place in the Orthodox world over the vision of the divine Light as described by hesychastic monks in the East. The champions of the two opposing sides were St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki, and the Italian monk Barlaam. I cannot account for whether Julian was familiar with the controversy; nor, if she were, how she might have found out about it; perhaps it was through Cardinal Easton, or while on her own pilgrimage to Italy.13  However, what can be said with some certainty is that Julian would not have taken Barlaam’s side if she had known about it.
Julian’s own experience is one of seeing divine Light, which she is quite sure is not a delusion nor a fantasy nor an evil imitation of the divine glory. Spending the remainder of her life in silent reflection and prayer, she would have smiled at Barlaam’s famous accusation that the Hesychasts were dizzy from staring at their own navels. And, like Palamas, she argues that while the contemplative can see the divine Light, no one can see or comprehend the Essential divine Being. Taken as a whole, her theology seems to spring much more from the pages of St. Gregory’s reflections, or from the Philokalia, than from the arguments of her peer Walter Hilton or the meditations of Anselm.
As to her own contemplative outlook, Julian could easily have been familiar with a strand of Eastern practical theology originating in the deserts of Egypt and passed down through the Latin Sayings and Lives of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. This desert tradition, which we see behind the works of all the later Hesychasts, was well known in the West as reported faithfully by John Cassian centuries before. It was faithfully incarnated into Irish monasticism, which sprang directly from the great lavras in Egypt and North Africa. This is the Irish tradition which produced Eriugena, who translated Dionysios’ works. It may be that in Julian’s Norwich, remnants of this Irish/Desert tradition were known and even practiced.
If Julian replicates many of the underlying themes of Dionysian theology, as we see them in the East—but not necessarily as Dionysios was understood in the West—why has this point not been recognized more consistently in modern commentaries about Julian? Perhaps it is because readers continue to stumble on the stone of Dionysios’ name in the Shewings, and consequently fall headlong into the usual (false) assumptions about Dionysios which have prevailed for so long in the West—namely, that the Dionysian corpus is Neoplatonic and that (consequently) Julian shared a Platonic outlook in theology.
I conclude with the recommendation that to understand the real Julian, as well as the “real” Peter/Dionysios, it is helpful to read the two strands side-by-side. For the uninitiated, it may be best not to begin with the Dionysian corpus, which is difficult to grasp in our western milieu, but with the works of Eastern writers such as Gregory of Nyssa (especially The Life of Moses), Maximos the Confessor, Symeon the New Theologian, and Gregory Palamas; and the hymns of Ephrem the Syrian. Here we see the elements of traditions which were already strong in the fourth century, and which are reflected in the Dionysian corpus of Peter the Iberian. Then, in Julian, we encounter the same themes again, but this time in language more familiar to the West.
Finally, with regard to how Julian knew these things, I bow to the opinion of my own spiritual mentor, the hermit Roland Walls, who used to say: There is a realm of the Holy Spirit shared by all the great mystics who have experienced divine grace. Let us not waste too much time trying to figure out what Julian may have read. Rather, let us recognize that there is a spiritual reality known well to Julian and to many others like her—her “even-Christians”—to whom were shown the mysteries of divine Love and the glory of the afterlife in Paradise. This is the milieu of the Holy Spirit, the Court of Christ, the Realm of Heaven, where Love fills all and is in all, and is All.

1 The characters, “Do-Well,” etc. were described by Julian’s near-contemporary, William Langland, in Piers Plowman.
2 See Julia Bolton Holloway and Sr. Anna Marie Reynolds, C.P., Julian of Norwich: Showing of Love, diplomatic edition of all extant texts and translation, SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2001, esp. pp. 13 ff.
3 Reynolds, Sr. A.M., “Some Literary Influences in the Revelations of Julian of Norwich,” Trinity and All Saints’ Colleges, Horsforth, Leeds, 1973.
4 My early work has recently been republished as Lo, How I Love Thee: Divine Love in Julian of Norwich, Spring Deer Studio, 2013. See esp. pp. 49 ff.
5 See Mystagogy, the web blog of John Sanidopoulos, under “Dionyios the Areopagite.” He has published several articles on this topic; the most recent is, “Are the Writings of Dionysios the Areopagite Genuine?” published on October 3, 2012.
6 Ephrem’s Hymns on Paradise is available in English in several editions, of which the translation by Sebastian Brock may be the most attractive.
7 Basil Lourié, “Peter the Iberian and Dionysius the Areopagite: Honigmann-Van Esbroeck’s Thesis Revisited,” in Srinium VI (2010), Patrologia Pacifica Secunda.
8 C.E. Rolt, in his translator’s preface, praises what he supposes to be Pseudo-Dionyisus’ Neoplatonism which he believes subsequently influenced Julian of Norwich and other western mystics.
9 See also Ephraim the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter Or Reflections on God (excerpted by Bishop Theophan the Recluse from the works of Ephraim the Syrian), tr. Br. Isaac Lambertsen, The St. John of Kronstadt Press, 1990.
10 This phrase and the following argument was coined by Vladimir Lossky in The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, James Clarke and Co. Ltd, 1957, esp. pp. 99-100.
11 For this and the following see my article, “Leaving the Womb of Christ: Love, Doomsday, and Space/Time in Julian of Norwich and Eastern Orthodox Mysticism,” in McEntire, Sandra (ed.), Julian of Norwich: A Book of Essays, Garland Publishing, 1998.
12 See Meyendorff, John, St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality, tr. Adele Fiske, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1974.
13 It has been suggested by Sr Ritamary Bradley and Julia Bolton Holloway that Julian may have accompanied Adam Easton to Italy, perhaps for the canonization of St. Birgitta/Bridget of Sweden (to whom Julian refers as “Bride”). There is internal evidence in the Showing of Love of some knowledge on Julian’s part of things she would have seen in Rome, such as the display of the “Holy Vernicle” or Veronica’s Veil; St Birgitta’s board on which she wrote, ate, and died, both displayed to pilgrims in the Holy City; contemporary Italian Church art, and so on.

sun-warmed sapling, opening each leaf,
My soul unfolded in your quickening ray.
'The inner brought the outer into life',

I found the light within the light of day,
The Consolation of Philosophy, 
Turning a page in Cambridge, found my way,

My mind delighting in discovery,
As love of learning turned to learning love
And explanation deepened mystery,

Drawing me out beyond what I could  prove
Towards the next adventure. Every chance 
Discovery a sweet come-hither wave,

Philosophy a kind of circle dance,
Weaving between the present and the past,
The whole truth present in a single glance 

That looked on me and everything in Christ!
Threefold Beholding, look me into being,
Make me in Love again from first to last,

And let me still partake your holy seeing
Beyond the shifting shadow of the earth;
Minute particulars, eternal in their being,

Forming themselves into a single path
From heaven to earth and back again to heaven,
All patterned and perfected, from each birth

To each fruition, and all freely given
To glory in and give the glory back!
Call me again to set out from this haven

And follow Truth along her shining track.

Rev Malcolm Guite



            Rev Jeremy Haselock                            Juliana Dresvina

aul Hurst and Jeremy Haselock have visited twenty-four selected Norfolk churches to discover, study and photograph their medieval rood screens for this book. This number represents only a quarter of the churches where screens with painted figures or scenes survive.

Yet more have extensive remains of bright colour, floral patterns and stencilled decoration. Hurst has developed new techniques with his photographic knowledge and experience to capture the screens in a way that provides a unique record.  These images have had very little post processing so they convey accurately the colours on the panels and the delicate brush strokes that model the figures. Haselock has carefully examined the screens themselves and all the available literature to provide a brief and accessible account of their subject matter, style and date. Norfolk is blessed with an abundance of wonder-filled medieval churches. With this book the authors hope to encourage people to visit them and experience the outstanding quality and splendour of the works of art within. Visiting these churches helps keep them open and alive and supports the dedicated people who love them, maintain them and ensure their future as places of worship and of encounter with our heritage.

ou bore for me the One who came to bless
And bear for all, to make the broken whole.
You heard his call, and in your open 'yes'
You spoke aloud for every living soul.
Oh gracious Lady, child of your own child,
Whose mother-love still calls the child in me,
Call me again, for I am lost and wild
Waves surround me now. On this dark sea
Shine as a star and call me to the shore.
Open a door that all my sins would close
And hold me in your garden. Let me share
The prayer that folds the petals of the Rose.
Enfold me too in Love's last mystery,
And bring me to the One you bore for me.
his is the gospel of the primal light,
The first beginning, and the fruitful end,
The soaring glory of an eagle's flight,
The quiet touch of a beloved friend.
This is the gospel of our transformation,
Water to wine and grain to living bread,
Blindness to sight and sorrow to elation,
And Lazarus himself back from the dead!
This is the gospel of all inner meaning,
The heart of heaven opened to the earth,
A gentle friend on Jesus' bosom leaning,
And Nicodemus offered a new birth.
No need to search the heavens high above,
Come close with John, and feel the pulse of Love                       

Rev Malcolm Guite

The East Anglian Rood Screens show the Crucifix flanked  by Mary and John, often with the Apostles and Saints, the Four Doctors of the Church on the pulpit. The Crucifix that spoke to St Francis at St Damian's and the Norwich Despenser Retable, instead,, show Mary and John together to our left, on Christ's right, with the figures arranging for the tomb to the right, on Christ's left.

Photograph of Despenser Retable, Paul Hurst



Gabriella Del Lungo                                                    Santha Bhattacharji

n Ch. 51 of the Long Text, Julian comments, concerning the complete sequence of her visions, that ‘oure lorde god of his goodness bryngyth [it] oftymes freely to the sight of my vnderstondyng’, and, when perplexed by the Parable of the Lord and the Servant, she is directed to scrutinise its images more closely.  She is not asked to look at any previous written versions of the visions that she might have produced, or reflect on any words used. Our print culture privileges the written word, and assumes that verbal discourse is for the sophisticated, while the visual is for the illiterate, who are assumed to be unsophisticated. We see the beginnings of this assumption in the late 15th Century text Dives and Pauper, where Pauper’s presumed too literal response to holy images is a point of debate. In Julian, however, we see reflected a culture where the verbal and the visual are equally complex and many-layered methods of reflection, including reflection on quite abstract concepts. This would account for the lack of realism in some of the great visions of the medieval period, such as Bridget of Sweden’s vision of the birth of Christ: it is the meaning of the event that is being visualised, not the event itself. The visionary tradition of the late Middle Ages arises in a culture which deliberately cultivates the ‘imagination’, the capacity of the mind to make pictures. These pictures can be a way of representing and thinking through profouncly abstract discussions. This is what we see Julian doing in ch. 51, her longest, most daring, and most multi-layered chapter. This paper seeks to re-alert modern scholars to the verbal and the visual as absolutely equal partners in late medieval theologising.


ollowing the ‘cognitive turn’ in the Humanities, I would like to offer some reflections on the nature of medieval mystical discourse as reflecting the use of different parts of the mind, and then examine Julian’s Parable of the Lord and the Servant as a particularly instructive example of this discourse.

Medieval mystical texts are the only means we have of getting at the spiritual insights that the medieval writers wish to share with us.  However, these insights were not the result of a logically worked out verbal argument, but the fruit of using the mind in a way which was  receptive and prayerful. Consequently, the texts themselves use a discourse that points us beyond the verbal and logical, to the insight itself. To do this, they use a variety of stratagems, of which the heavy use of long sequences of visual imagery is the most obvious. 

In the 12th century Schools and 13th century universities, we see a fascination with formal logic and the rational ordering of all knowlege into a coherent and intellectually satisfying whole (the project of Scholasticism). But side by side with this, we see medieval writers critiquing this use of the mind – in the words of Nicholas Watson (Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Mysticism, 2011) -- ’as a cerebral, academic, and unspiritual absence of fear, wonder, gratitude, and love.’ We see the medieval awareness of two different ways of using the mind in the Cloud-author’s famous distinction between knowing and loving:
‘...alle resonable creatures, aungel & man, hath in hem, ilch-one by hemself, o principal worching mi3t, the whiche is clepid a knowable mi3t, & a-nother principal working mi3t, the whiche is clepid a louing mi3t: of the whiche two mi3tes, to the first, the whiche is a knowing mi3t,God, that is the maker of hem, is euermore incomprehensible; & to the second, the which is the louyng mi3t, in ilch one diuersly he is al comprehensible at the fulle. (ch 4; ed. Hodgson, p. 19)
I am arguing that ‘loving’, in this medieval usage, refers to an alternative way of thinking: that is, another way of apprehending and working an insight through to its conclusion, but one marked by reverence ,wonder, gratitude and love, in Watson’s terms. We have tended to use the term ‘affective’ to pinpoint the difference between ‘loving’ and the academic approach to God. But this sets up an apparent opposition between intellect and emotion which seems to me to miss the point. The Latin term affectus seems to denote not so much an emotion as a more neutral but significant sense of connection, akin to the modern psychological term ‘affect’. The Cloud-author, for instance, may talk about comprehending God through love, but specifies that in the kind of prayer he recommends there is no 'sweetness':
This derknes & this cloude is, how-so-euer thou dost, betwix thee & thi God, & letteth thee that thou maist not see him cleerly by li3t of vnderstanding in thi reson, ne fele him in swetnes of loue in thine affeccion.  & therefore shape thee to bide in this darkness as long as thou mayest, evermore crying after Him that thou lovest. For if ever thou shalt feel Him or see Him, as it may be here, it behoveth always to be in this cloud, in this darkness. (ch 3; ed Hodgson, p.17)
Medieval mystics themselves used the term ‘contemplation’ to describe what they were writing about. This term derives from the Greek word ‘te’ meaning ‘to see’, which is also the root of ‘temple’, a place of vision and the organ of vision in the brain (the 'temples').  ‘Contemplation’ may arise only because the person concerned loves and seeks God, but in itself it is not a word about ‘loving’ in an emotional sense, but about a certain kind of beholding and perceiving: a form of ‘seeing’ with the mind, which implies insight and understanding which come upon the person as a gift, as when one catches sight of something which was already there, but one was not aware of.  It is therefore not surprising that ‘seeing’ , visions, and visual imagery predominate in contemplative writing.

I want to draw atttention to Julian’s own use of ‘knowing’ and ‘seeing’ in the Parable of the Lord and the Servant. She seems to oppose these two operations of her mind: she ‘knows’ the teaching of Holy Church concerning God’s wrath against sin, but she ‘sees’ no wrath in God: ‘I know sothly that we sin grevously all day and be mekille blamewurthy. And I may neither leve the knowing of this sooth, nor I see not the shewing to us no manner of blame. How may this be?’ (ch.50, ed Watson and Jenkins, p. 271)  However, there is nothing illogical, incoherent or ill-defined about ‘seeing’: in Julian's Ch 51 of the Long Text, her longest and most daring chapter, we find a precise and careful working out of her theological problem, using the visual to unfold the argument.

Julian prepares the ground in Ch 50, where she gives a vivid description of the mental conflict in which she found herself over the concept of God's wrath with sin.  Scholars have long been aware of this issue of doctrinal conflict in Julian; I want to look at what she says as the conflict between two different operations of her mind.  From what she says later in Ch. 51, she received the Parable at the same time as the Showings, but could not understand it at the time, partly becuase she wanted to go on gazing at the Showings.  The parable comes in response to the conflict she expresses thus: 
Betwene theyse two contraries, my reson was gretly traveyled by my blindhede  and culde have no rest, for dred ethat his blessed presens shulde passe fro my sight, and I to be leftein unknowing how he beholde us in oure sinne .... My longing endured, him continuantly beholding. And yet I culde have no patience for gret feer and perplexite ... I cryde inwardly with all my might, seking into God for helpe, mening thus:  A, lorde Jhesu, king of blisse, how shall I be esede? Who shall tell me and tech methat me needeth to wit, if I may not at this time se it in the? (Watson and Jenkins, p. 273)
There seems to be a contrast between ‘reason’, ‘unknowing’, ‘perplexity’, ‘teach’, tell’, wit’ on the one hand, and ‘presence’, ‘sight’,‘beholding’ , ‘see’on the other . Her mind is working furiously to resolve the conflict logically, but at the same time she doesn't want to lose the contemplative 'seeing' by which she is aware of the Lord's presence; consequenently, she could ‘have no patience’.

She does not have the opportunity to wrestle fully with the Parable until it is brought before her mind again many years later. Julian comments, concerning the complete sequence of her visions, that ‘oure lorde god of his goodnes bringeth [it] oftimes frely to the sight of my understondyng’ (ch 51). She is not asked to look at any previous written versions of the visions that she might have produced, but is directed to scrutinise the Parable’s images more closely. In each of her two scrutinies of the Parable, there are two levels of meaning, one to do with the concrete outer details and one more’inward’ or abstract, so that she gives us a fourfold exigesis in all: thus she uses images to disclose multiple layers of meaning in the same way that a medieval scholar would examine a Scriptural text. 

Briefly (as I assume this audience knows the Parable well), there is first the picture of the Lord seated ‘solempnely in rest and in pees’ and the Servant standing before him ‘reverently, redy to do his lordes wille.’ The Servant runs off in haste to do the Lord’s bidding, motivated only by love and good will, and falls into a pit.  Here, the two most striking aspects of his suffering are that ‘he culde not turne his face to loke uppe on his loving lorde, which was to him full neer’ and that he is ‘blinded in his reson and stoned in his minde so ferforth that almost he had forgeten his owne love’. I would argue that this loss of the vision of God is the loss of ‘affect’ as I used it above: he is no longer aware of the connection between himself and God, who is in fact near.  Julian then sees into the Lord’s attitude to the Servant, seeing that he takes joy in the reward he is going to give the Servant for all his woe, greater than if he had not fallen.  But this is not Julian herself extrapolating on the possible meaning of the images; as she says, ‘an inwarde gostely shewing of the lordes mening descended into my soule’.  Although this is a more abstract dimension of the image, she emphaises that this also was a ‘showing’, which she received.

Before embarking on the second scrutiny of the Parable, Julian has a surprisingly long passage on the actual process of scrutiny, given how compactly she usually epresses herself:
For twenty yere after the time of the shewing, save thre monthes, I had teching inwardly, as I shall sey: "It longeth to the to take hede to all the propertes and the condetions that were shewed in the example, though the thinke that it be misty and indifferent to thy sight." I assented wilfullly with gret desyer, seeing inwardly, with avisement, all the pointes and the propertes that were shewed in the same time, as ferforth as my wit and my understanding wolde serve: beginning my beholding at the lorde and at the servant; at the manner of sitting of the lorde and the place that he sat on, and the coloure of his clothing and the manner of shape, and his chere withoute and his nobley and his goodnes within; at the manner of stonding of the servant, and the place, where and how; at his manner of clothing, the coloure and the shape; at his outward behaving; and at his inwarde goodnes and his unlothfulhede. (Watson and Jenkins ed, p. 277)
Thus, faced with the most difficult theological problem of her Showing, which causes her intense inner conflict, what she is told to resort to is a heightened use of her capacity to visualise. This heightened use is not only sharply focused but surprisingly systematic: she is to go methodically through the details of colour, place, clothing, stance and so on.

Her second gazing at the Parable brings immediate clarity on one point: she had already known that the servant was Adam, but had seen ‘many diverse properteys that might by no means be derecte to singel Adam’ (Watson and Jenkins, p. 277).  Considering the amount of scholarly ink that has been spilt on whether Julian is rewriting the story of the Fall, this is one of her epic understatements. However, she now sees that Adam stands for all men: ‘one man was shewed that time, and his falling, to make thereby to be understonde how God beholdeth alle manne and his falling.’(p.277-79). And what God beholds is that man’s will remains ‘hole’, though man himself can no longer see his own good, intact will.

And now we get some of the most arresting details of the Parable: the lord is seated on tthe ground ‘bareyn and deserte, alone in widernesse’; his clothing is ample and ‘blew as asure’; his eyes are black; within him is a place of safety, full of endless heavens; and his face shows both pity and bliss. His pity is for the fall of Adam; we are perhaps not expecting his bliss to be ‘for the falling of his deerwurthy son, which is even with the fader’. The father sits on the ground, waiting for the time when he can reside in the city of man’s soul.  Likewise the Servant is rather startlingly depicted as dressed in a short, tight, sweat-stained tunic, ‘redy to be ragged and rent’;  Julian comments that she ‘marveled’ at how ‘unsemely’ this was for such a loved sevant. Here we find another aspect of this visual use of the mind: however focused and systematic, it is not in control of what it is going to find, but can be surprised by elements that are contrary to what seems to it fitting and appropriate. God sitting on the bare ground, filled with bliss at the ‘falling’ of his Son, who is dressed in a stained, ragged tunic: none of these are what we might normally expect to find in medieval writing as ‘semely’.

Julian sees ‘inward’ into the Servant, just as she had done into the Lord, and she sees that the Servant loves the Lord in the same way the Lord loves him; and his love allows him to see that the Lord desires a treasure from the earth, which the Servant, of his own volition, runs off to find, falling ‘ full lowe in the maiden’s wombe’ (p. 285). We can see that the figure of Adam is morphing into that of the Son, and Julian now goes on to bring Christ and the Trinity explicitly into her exigesis.

Eventually she comes to a point where she can confidently state what each visual detail represents theologically, using the verb ‘betokeneth’ from the standard medieval vocabulary of allegory: ‘the sitting of the fader betokeneth the godhede...the standen of the servant betokeneth traveyle ...’ and so on (p.287). This verb ‘betokeneth’ indicates, I think, that Julian has found resolution because her two modes of thinking have now joined up: ‘knowing’ on the one hand and ‘seeing’ on the other. With the two sets of vocabulary working in tandem – that of Trinitarian theology on the one hand and the visual on the other – she is now able to move into a narrative mode, in which the Son completes his task so that both Persons can sit side by side, enthroned in splendour, thus bringing her strenuous thought to a magnificent conclusion, expressed in carefully crafted rhetoric. 

Our modern print culture privileges the written word, and assumes that verbal discourse is for the sophisticated, while the visual is for the illiterate, who are assumed to be unsophisticated. In Julian, however, we see reflected a culture where the verbal and the visual are equally complex and many-layered methods of reflection, including reflection on quite abstract concepts. In Julian’s Parable of the Lord and the Servant, we see the verbal and the visual being used as absolutely equal partners in late medieval theologising.

Gabriella Del Lungo     Sr Julia                                                   Rev Malcolm Guite  Juliana Dresvina
n the Beginning, not in time or space,
But in the quick before both space and time,
In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,
In three in one and one in three, in rhyme,
In music, in the whole creation story,
In His own image, His imagination,
The Triune Poet makes us for His glory,
And makes us each the other's inspiration.
He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance,
To improvise a music of our own,
To sing the chord that calls us to the dance,
Three notes resounding from a single tone,
To sing the End in whom we all begin;
Our God beyond, beside us, and within.

Rev Malcolm Guite



                                                                                       Juliana Dresvina  Gabriella Del Lungo

ollowing Paul Hurst/Rev Jeremy Haselock's presentation and Santha Bhattacharji's paper I would like to further assess the visual nature of some of Julian's revelations. I do believe that they suggest the influence of an artistic medium, which allows close - and repeated - examination: an illustrated book. The most likely codex a 14th century reasonably well-off woman may have possessed, or at least had access to, would be a Psalter. Psalters were perhaps the most popular books for lay devotions until the late 14th century, when they were superseded in this function by Books of Hours. Ancrene Wisse contains numerous references to the Psalter, with which the anchoresses were expected to be familiar; they were also employed as learning means, even containing ABCs (to which Julian herself refers). There was a very strong tradition of 14th-century  illustrated East Anglian Psalters, with a plethora of richly illuminated books for (presumably) aristocratic patrons, of which the most famous are perhaps the recently published facsimiles of the Luttrell and the Macclesfield Psalters. I am hoping to demonstrate that some of the perplexing imagery appearing in Julian's revelations may come directly with such illustrated books.

                                                                                                            Juliana Dresvina             Sr Julia

e made the stones that pave the roads of Zion
And well he knows the path we make him tread;
He met the devil as a roaring lion
And still refused to turn these stones to bread,
Choosing instead, as Love will always choose,
This darker path into the heart of pain.
And now he falls upon the stones that bruise
The flesh, that break and scrape the tender skin.
He and the earth he made were never closer,
Divinity and dust come face to face.
We flinch back from his via dolorosa,
He sets his face like flint and takes our place,
Staggers beneath the black weight of us all
And falls with us that he might break our fall.

Rev Malcolm Guite



Gabriella Del Lungo


he Book of Margery Kempe, often described as the first autobiography in English, was probably written in the late 1430s and presents an account of the visionary encounters and conversations with Christ experienced by a woman from a prosperous urban mercantile family, who lived in Lynn in Norfolk. This statement, which opens the preface to a recent Companion to the Book of Margery Kempe (Arnold and Lewis 2004: xvii), emphasises Margery’s attempts to follow a life of intense spirituality while living in the world, rather than withdrawing from it as an anchoress or nun. A no less important aspect of the Book is represented by the many contacts Margery established with spiritually-minded people; among these is Julian of Norwich, whose counsel Margery sought to validate her experience as religious and pious woman. My paper will focus on this aspect in the context of late medieval spirituality.

n examination of the texts by Margery and Julian has traditionally produced the fairly widespread view that these holy women illustrate different kinds of piety. This view is currently being revised (see for instance Warren 2010). Of course there are striking differences between the two holy women, but these seem to refer to their form of living and to the form and style of their texts rather than to the affective piety underlying their incarnational spirituality: both reach the union with the divinity through the visual and experiential engagement with Christ’s life and passion. It is in fact my contention that the spirituality of both holy women is characterised by corporeally-focused piety, which attributes an extraordinary spiritual power to holy bodies and to Christ’s body in particular. This is in line with late medieval devotional practices which were in no small part centred on the crucifix, images of saints and relics (Freeman 2011) and connected the crucial anxiety about sinfulness and salvation to the incarnate Christ (Warren 2010). The two pious women not only focus on the devotion to the suffering body of Christ but also on their own suffering bodies, a crucial aspect of both Margery’s and Julian’s way of experiencing the union with the divine. It is in fact a severe illness after the birth of Margery’s first child that causes her repentance and makes her desire to devote herself to a pious way of life. It is Julian’s express desire to receive from God a severe illness that opens her book of revelations. In short they both participate in the cultural context of late medieval religiosity. This is even more striking considering that their way of life differs dramatically as does their textual way of expressing their meditations on the Passion.

In this paper, I will focus on the spiritual encounter between Margery and Julian to illustrate points of convergence as well as different modes of perceiving their visions of the crucified Christ. In this paper I’ll focus on their devotional meditations on the Passion in order to show how stylistic differences reveal that different cultural backgrounds shape their experiencing the mystical union with the divinity. After briefly summarising the main differences between the lives of the two holy women and their texts, I will examine how a passage textualising a meditation on the Passion in The Book overlaps with Julian’s text reporting a similar experience. Beyond their stylistic variance both passages involve imagination and visualization in that,despite their following dissimilar cultural traditions of meditation, embodied piety and body language plays a central role in the spiritual and textual life of both women.

It is also hoped that this study will contribute to show the relevance of stylistic analysis in confirming research results and in adding a facet to our knowledge of medieval English mystical literature.

argery and Julian were near contemporary women living not far apart in East Anglia, where they conducted utterly different ways of life. While much is known about Margery social and biographical background, which has been reconstructed from the information contained in The Book and local documents (Goodman 2002), not much of Julian’s social and biographical background can be inferred from her work, though links with the Norwich Benedictine milieu and Cardinal Adam Easton have been highlighted by Julia Bolton Holloway.

As is well known, Julian was a contemplative, lived as an anchoress in a cell attached to the church of Saint Julian in Conisford, Norwich. She had stability of place and gave advice to people seeking spiritual counsel. She was certainly apt to exercise such a role as she had written a treatise, which differently from The Book of Margery Kempe does not contain many biographical references, but focuses on the explanation of the meaning of her visions and thus constitutes a vernacular theology.

Margery’s Book, on the other hand, is so rich in biographical elements that it has often been defined as the first autobiography in English. It does not have the theological sophistication of Julian’s Revelation of Love but presents, in addition to external events, a narrative of her spiritual development over a period of about forty years (Bhattacharji 1997), in short an exemplary life, a mirror for sinners who want to repent and convert to a religious way of life. It depicts a form of living which differs greatly from that of Julian. Margery’s spirituality  has two crucial components in that her life is characterised not only by visions and colloquies with Christ and para-mystical experiences, but it also reports pilgrimages and repeated encounters with spiritually-minded people whom she seeks in order to discern her spirits and validate her form of living as that of a saintly woman. She is restless, always on the move to visit shrines or to meet confessors, counsellors and prelates. The number of her journeys is not small and ranges from trips to English shrines accompanied by her husband to visits to continental holy places and a voyage to Holy Land. Also the number of her encounters with spiritual advisors is not small ranging from spiritual directors and confessors in England and abroad to Church dignitaries such as bishops and archbishops. To sum up, there are conspicuous differences in the form of living of the two English mystic women.

lso their works show striking differences, both of content, aim and style. It is, however, my contention that Margery and Julian share a similar spirituality, though they express it differently in their works. To prove this point I’ll focus on their meditations on the Passion, a crucial focus of late medieval devotion and an important component of both women’s piety.

Before dealing with their Christocentric visionary experiences let me introduce this topic by exploring the motives of Margery’s visit to Dame Julian. Margery’s spiritual life is marked by her belonging to a network of spiritual friendships. Her visits to the noted anchoress Julian is certainly motivated by Margery’s desire to test her spirits (Bhattacharji 1997), but may also be due to her wish to seek support by encountering similarly-minded spiritual friends.We know from The Book that they had several days of conversation together discussing many topics (Bolton Holloway b), which seems to indicate that a companionable relationship was established between the two devout women.

Judging from their works, it seems that striking parallels exist in the Christocentric experiences of Margery and Julian. Both focus on the corpus of Christ on the crucifix and his experience of suffering. Their knowledge of Christ is gained both textually and experientially: they come to know Christ through the discourse of affective piety and by identifying themselves with his sufferings. Julian’s and Margery’s spirituality is informed by the late medieval piety centring on visual and experiential engagement with Christ’s passion and by contemporary devotional writings. Both have meditations based on complex relations of bodily and spiritual sight and show a detailed attention to the suffering body of Christ. Beyond their different lifestyles, the striking parallels existing in the Christocentric experiences of Margery and Julian blur the fairly widespread view that there is a distinction between the piety of Margery and that of Julian.
However there are important differences in their reporting their visionary experience; these are primarily stylistic, but may also be due to their different cultural backgrounds. While the style of Margery’s meditation on the crucified Christ resonates with echoes of contemporary popular Franciscan and Cistercian meditative manuals inspiring devotees actively to participate in the events of the life of Christ, Julian’s contemplation on the crucifix has been linked to the tradition of the more sophisticated Benedictine Lectio Divina (Bolton Holloway a).

In the context of the recent re-evaluation of the Book within the genre of devotional literature (Yoshikawa 2007), The Book of Margery Kempe is now considered not just a discursive reconstruction of a recollected life by a pious laywoman, but also the reporting of a spiritual growth centred on meditative experience. Within this framework, the contemplation on the Passion is one of the major meditational experiences recounted in The Book. Margery focuses on this event twice: first during the Jerusalem pilgrimage (chs 28-30) and later in the context of the Easter liturgy (chs 78-81). Both accounts are intensively emotional and highly visual.1 While in the first case her response to the Passion is triggered by the sight of the holy places, in the second it is influenced by the dramatic performance of the Easter ritual. Margery is both an observer and a participant through her senses.

In chapter 28 of The Book the inner vision of Christ recalls to Margery the vivid memory of the passion and reminds her of the love between humankind and God according to the meditational process recommended in contemporary treatises# such as, for instance, The Mirror by Nicholas Love. A detailed stylistic analysis of this passage compared to a similar passage in The Revelation of Love is contained in Del LungoCamiciotti (2008), of which I report some extracts commenting on the following passages in note 2.2 I will here only point to crucial stylistic differences between the meditations on the Passion by Margery and Julian revealing not their belonging to completely different contemplative traditions but reflecting slightly dissimilar cultural backgrounds.

A. The Book of Margery Kempe (Windeatt 2000: 166-7, ll. 2265-80)
She had so very contemplacyon in the syght of hyr [sowle] as yf Crist had hangyng befor hir bodily eye in hys manhode. And whan thorw dispensacyon of the hy mercy of owyr Sovereyn Savyowr, Crist Jhesu, it was grawntyd this creatur to beholdyn so verily hys precyows tendyr body - alto-rent and toryn wyth scorgys, morful of wowndys than evyr was duffehows of holys, hangyng upon the cros wyth the corown of thorn upon hys hevyd, hys blysful handys, hys tendyr fete nayled to the hard tre, the reverys of blood flowing owt plentevowsly of every membre, the gresly and grevows wownde in hys precyows syde schedyng owt blood and watyr for hys lofe and hyr salvacyon - than schefel down and cryed wyth lowde voys, wondyrfully turnyng and wrestyng hir body on every side, spredyng hir armys abrode as yf sche schulde a deyd, and not cowde kepyn hir fro crying and these bodily mevyngys, for the fyer of lofe that brent so fervently in hir sowle wyth purpyte and compassyon.

B. A Revelation of Love (Glasscoe 1993: 24)
I saw hys swete face as it was drye and blodeles with pale deyeng; and sithen more pale, dede, langoring, and than turnid more dede into blew, and sithen more brown blew, as the flesh turnyd more depedede; for his passion shewid to me most propirly in his blissid face, and namly in his lippis; there I saw these iiii colowres, tho that were aforn freshe, redy and likyngto my sigte. This was a swemful chonge to sene this depe deyeng, and also the nose clange and dryed, to my sigte, and the swete body was brown and blak, al turnyd oute of faire lifely colowr of hymselfe onto dryedeyeng; for that eche tyme that our lord and blissid savior deyid upon the rode it was a dry, harre wynde and wond colde, as to my sigte; and what tyme the pretious blode was blede oute of the swete body that migte pass therfro, yet there dwellid a moysture in the swete flesh of Criste, as it was shewyd. Blodeleshede and peyne dryden within and blowyng of wynde and cold commyng fro withouten metten togeter in the swete body of Criste. And these iiii, tweyn withouten, and tweyn within, dryden the fleshe of Criste be process of tyme. And thow this peyne was bitter and sharpe, it was full longe lestyng, as to my sighte, and peynfully dreyden up all the lively spirits of Crists fleshe. Thus I saw the swete fleshe dey, in semyng be party after party, dryande with marvelous peynys. And as longe as any spirit has life in Crists fleshe, so longe sufferid he peyne.

The passage reporting Margery’s meditation (A) begins with a description of what she sees, the wounded body of Christ, for the benefit of the scribe and the implied audience. Yet what is foregrounded in end-position of the passage is Margery's visceral response triggered by the sight of the suffering body of Christ. In short, after describing the mental image of Christ, she recounts what occurred to her, how she perceived the meaning of the Passion. The language is intimately bound up with devotional practices; Margery, in fact, uses the typical imagery and vocabulary employed in innumerable late medieval texts, but the organisation of the passage is very personal. The language contributes to building up a spatial perspective, where details and actions are observed from a detached point of view, without any causal connection.

The specificity of Margery's meditation is better understood if compared to one by Julian of Norwich with similar content (B).In the eighth meditation in chapter 16 (Glasscoe 1993: 24-25) Christ reveals to Julian a partie of his passion nere his deyeng. Julian observes from a fixed perspective the physical change occurring in Christ's body: the slow discolouring and the drying up of parts of his body in succession. The description is dynamic in the sense that Julian remains motionless while she watches the picture unfold before her eyes. The description of the slow changes occurring in Christ's body is interspersed with compassionate remarks on what she sees and phrases indicating her personal involvement (I saw, I said),and concludes with a comment interpreting the revelation.

As is apparent from this example, both mystics focus on the suffering body of Christ, albeit they do so from different perspectives. Julian is a serious and well-educated theologian and her book of revelations is both a spiritual autobiography and a theological treatise. In short, she is an intellectual using reasoning to explain her spiritual doctrine to his audience, while Margery uses the language of her senses to report her experience of the divinity as involved observer.

To sum up, Julian and Margery are the first women mystics in England to occupy the only public space allowed to women by authoring religious works of meditation and contemplation. Julian analyses her revelations and explains the meaning and the doctrinal content of her faith following the tradition of lectio divina. Margery, on the other hand, focuses on her spiritual experience expressing it in an emotive and sensory language inspired by the late medieval popular religiosity for the laity.  In brief, they focus on the same evangelical events but adopt different perspectives in reporting them in their works: experiential in the case of Margery who tends to follow the Franciscan meditative tradition by participating in the recollected evangelical stories, while Julian meditates on the evangelical events by reflecting on their meaning and offering her audience a more systematised set of comments, a vernacular theology.

n summary, it is easy to highlight the contrasting elements existing between the two mystical works authored by Margery and Julian, as many scholars have done, and certainly such contrasts exist. However, they should not be overemphasised. Despite the differences of cultural background and reporting style, the works share a genuine concern for inner life and the bodily nature of late medieval religious culture is common to both.

Arnold John H. and Lewis Katherine J. (2004). A Companion to the Book of Margery Kempe. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer.
Bhattacharji Santha (1997). God is an Earthquake. The Spirituality of Margery Kempe. London: Darton, Longman and Todd.
Bolton Holloway Julia a,
Bolton Holloway Julia b. The Soul a City: Margery and Julian.
Bolton Holloway Julia c (1987).The Pilgrim and the Book. A Study of Dante, Langland and Chaucer. New York/Berne: Peter Lang.
Del Lungo Camiciotti Gabriella (2008). 'Margery Kempe as pilgrim and mystic writer: a reappraisal from a stylistic perspective'. In Iamartino G., Maggioni M. L., and Facchinetti R. (eds). Thou sittest at another boke…English Studies in Honour of Domenico Pezzini. Monza: Polimetrica, 289-303.
Freeman Charles (2011). Holy Bones, Holy Dust, How Relics Shaped the History of Medieval Europe. New Haven: Yale University press.
Goodman Anthony (2002). Margery Kempe and her World. London: Longman.
Julian of Norwich (1993). A Revelation of Love. Edited by M. Glasscoe Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
Julian of Norwich (2001). Showing of Love: Extant Texts and Translations. Edited by Sister Anna Maria Reynolds, C.P. and Julia Bolton Holloway. Florence: SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo.
Il Libro di MargeryKempe. Autobiografia spirituale di una laica del Quattrocento (2002). Traduzione e introduzione a cura di Del Lungo Camiciotti Gabriella. Milano: Ancora.
Love Nicholas (2004).The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ. Edited by Michael G. Sargent. Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
The Book of Margery Kempe (2000).Edited by Windeatt Barry. Harlow, Essex: Longman.
Yoshikawa Naoë K. 2007, Margey Kempe' s Meditations: The context of medieval devotional literature, liturgy and iconography. University of Wales Press, Cardiff.
Warren Nancy Bradley (2010). The Embodied Word. Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700.  Notre Dame, Indiana, University of Notre Dame Press.

1 The visual quality of her meditation is stated in The Book, where it is said that she had the inner vision of Christ hanging before her bodily sight in his humanity (Windeatt 2000: 166, ll. 2265-6).
2 The compositional style of The Book is of a simplicity usually associated with straightforward narrative: the sequencing of clauses and sentences is organised paratactically: a series of clauses of similar status are loosely linked by and and then; very few subordinate clauses or non temporal cohesive ties are used. Because most sentences are declarative, the clause elements occur most often in the order SVO, which is normally associated with the expression of actions in narrative. But Margery's recollections are not organised in plain, chronological sequencing of events; these are recorded according to a pattern which is predominantly associational, following her perceptual point of view, and interspersed with meditations. Her characteristic narrative mode is visual: in reading her book, we are not merely told what happens, we are invited to see things through her eyes. This is even more so in the report of meditations, which are either dramatic, that is, reporting dialogic scenes she participates in, or descriptive, that is, giving information, through description, as to what her senses perceive. A very complex and analytic description of a vision is that of the crucified Christ on Mount Calvary.
(Del Lungo Camiciotti 2008: 298)
The best place to start analysing this passage [A. from Margery’s Book] is with syntax since this leads straight to the heart of the passage. It is a long and complex period (16 lines), stretching from line 2265 to line 2280 (Windeatt 2000: 166-167) composed of two sentences. In the first, we are told that she experienced a true contemplation of Christ; in the second, we have a detailed description of the vision and Margery's reaction to it, which had already been anticipated at lines 2205-2211 (Windeatt 2000: 162-163). The second sentence is composed of two clauses: a temporal clause beginning with whan (line 2266) followed by the main clause beginning with than at line 2275. The temporal clause begins with an adverbial phrase followed by the main verb phrase (an agentless passive construction introduced by it) containing the object of meditation hys precyows tendyr body. This is followed by seven lines of piling up of details usually in couplets, sometimes linked by allitteration or echoing. It is only at line 2275 that we encounter the main clause, than sche fel down and cryed, which causes a shift of attention from the body of Christ to the reaction of Margery. The remainder of the passage consists in a sequence of phrases and clauses adding information about Margery's behaviour in an incremental way. As can be seen, the prevailing structure is right-branching; phrases and clauses are added to the right of each important element of the description -- the body of Christ and Margery's reaction -- one after the other without any hierarchical order. The two foci of attention constitute a balanced structure: the first is predominantly static as the description of the suffering body of Christ is constructed through past participles, while the second is all action as the bodily pain endured by Margery is mostly expressed through -ing forms. The first part of the meditation is pictorial, a piling up of visual and physical details, which are perceived by Margery one by one as they present themselves to her inner sight. The trailing, right-branching syntax leads us through this sequencing of impressions, which seem to follow the eye of the observer from the first pole of attention to the second one; no account of thoughts and feelings is given, just the report of the external effects of the piteous sight. To sum up, language contributes to building up a spatial perspective, where details and actions are observed from a detached point of view, without any causal connection.
(Del LungoCamiciotti 2008: 299)
The passage [B.from Julian’s Revelation of Love] consists in a series of sentences of equal status which flow till the end of the chapter so that the attention remains focused on Christ and the pains he endured. The participation of Julian is signalled by the use of clauses such as I saw, I said, which anchor the point of view, and causative connections such as for and thus, which foreground her role as interpreter of the revelation. Her vision is prompted by her compassion for the suffering of the dying Christ, but there is no explicit transfer of pain from Christ to Julian. She remains a detached observer and describer of the mental image. The stylistic analysis supports this interpretation. She does not use the bodily language employed by Margery; on the contrary, her report is characterised by the theological language of causation and the fixed perspective of an observer. Moreover, she very clearly points out that what she reports is seen from her point of view through the use of phrases such as as to my sigte and to my sigte.
(Del LungoCamiciotti 2008: 301)

Not to forget the laughter that is in Julian

ere is a meeting made of hidden joys,
Of lightenings cloistered in a narrow place,
From quiet hearts the sudden flame of praise
And in the womb the quickening kick of grace.
Two women on the very edge of things
Unnoticed and unknown to men of power
But in their flesh the hidden Spirit sings
And in their lives the buds of blessing flower.
And Mary stands with all we call ‘too young’,
Elizabeth with all called ‘past their prime’.
They sing today for all the great unsung,
Women who turned eternity to time,
Favoured of heaven, outcast on the earth,
Prophets who bring the best in us to birth.

Rev Malcolm Guite

Luca della Robbia, Visitation, Pistoia

Following a delicious lunch prepared by the Carrow Abbey Conference Centre we had explored the Carrow Priory ruins where perhaps Julian
had been a Benedictine novice and people browsed amongst the books available at the Book Fair



Gabriella Del Lungo                                                      Bradford Manderfield                                                                                   Juliana Dresvina                                           


n his work Julian of Norwich, Theologian,1 Denys Turner makes the speculative argument that aspects of Julian’s work display ostensible contradictions, as well as enduring paradoxes, because she is a woman contextually divided between two worlds. Her monastic cell places her outside Church and city, yet she is also deeply attached to Church and living in a bustling metropolis. She adheres to orthodoxy, yet she is also devoted to the enigmatic authority of her visions. And she is a woman writing in a male world, where women have paid for their theological indiscretions. As Turner says, “…an anchorhold embodies a paradox.”2 Most dramatically, Julian’s life and manner of doing theology situates her at a threshold between life and death, where all her visions emerge. This paper will speculate on the theological ramifications of these liminal spaces. More specifically, the outer framework of her visionary narrative, which is too often neglected, will be carefully analyzed. The context in which she situates her own work is instrumental for appreciating the precise paradoxical balance she achieves in her Christology. Julian’s Christology undergoes a paradigm shift when the curate enters her room and redirects her vision. Because the curate bids her to concentrate on the cross, instead of looking heavenward, Julian’s Christology achieves the most paradoxical extremes: she teaches one how to engage Christ in his transcendence amidst the cruel physical sufferings he undergoes.

1 Denys Turner, Julian of Norwich, Theologian (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2011), p. 10.
2 Ibid, p. 14


ccording to Denys Turner, . . . an anchorhold embodies a paradox,” In Turner’s work on Julian he briefly speculates about some of the effects this paradoxical positioning of her life might have had for her theology. She lives at once in the solitude of a monastic cell, in the greater context of a bustling metropolis. She is a woman writing in a male world, where women have paid for their theological indiscretions. These liminalities also extend to the stress she felt between her orthodoxy and the transgressive authority of her visions. And, existentially, her writing occurs in the binary between life and death, writing always on the verge of eternity. This paper will briefly examine how these contextual antinomies affect her theology. Specifically, examining how the events in the outer narrative of Julian’s treatise affected her Christology. Additionally, a brief analysis will be offered of her uniquely stressed paradoxical Christology.

  close treatment of Julian’s “outer-narrative” reveals the transformation at the outset of her experience, which shifted her theological reflection to a more seminally paradoxical space, with greater focus on the particularity of the environment out of which she was writing. Specifically, the tension of opposites, between Father and Son, Cross and Heaven, particular and universal, becomes more pronounced at the outset of her work. This growing tension, which we witness at the beginning of her treatise, refuses the proliferation of either the presentation of Christ or the Idea of the Father. A dialectical middle is engaged. Most of Julian’s treatises are concentrated on her visions and her exegesis of those visions. Initially, however, the framework to her visionary narrative defines the ‘concrete’ catalyst out of which her theology will be constructed. Here we see a tapestry, of sorts, between her disparate surroundings and her restlessly speculative and visually rich treatises. The outer narratives serve as a rich vein for appreciating the energizing source of her subsequent visions.

Our first encounter with Julian is one of her lying prostrate in bed, staring fixedly upward, expecting to die. Her visions proper have not yet begun:

The persone sette the crosse before my face, and saide: ‘Doughter, I have brought the image of thy savioure. Loke thereupon, and comforthe the therewith in reverence of him that diede for the and me.’ Me thought than that I was welle, for mine eyen ware sette upward into hevene, whether I trustede for to come. Botte neverthelesse (my italics) I assended to sette mine eyen in the face of the crucifixe…
(The person set the cross before my face, and said: “Daughter, I have brought the image of your savior. Look upon it, and comfort yourself with it, in reverence for him that died for you and me”. I thought that I was well, for my eyes looked up to heaven, where I trusted help to come. But nevertheless (my italics) I agreed to place my eyes before the face of the crucifix… (Watson and Jenkins 2006, 68).
The curate then lowers Julian’s eyes and her attention to the Cross, the fountain from which her visions will pour forth. Initially, her attention is not demonstrably fixed upon the Cross. She is gazing upward to the heavens. The external cross had not yet catalyzed her ever-expanding visions of the Passion. Her own vertical priorities are subverted at the priest’s bidding. She lowers her eyes upon the Cross. In the modern taxonomy, she was more fixated upon an Idea, of Christ or Divinity or Heaven. Her meditation was supersensible, lacking the intensifying mediation of particularity. The priest paradigmatically redirects Julian’s eyes to an object, redirecting the ‘nature’ of her Christology. The isolated Category, or Idea, in Kantian terms, receives a viable form of particularity, which proves to intensify the Idea itself.

In the merest “botte nevertheless”, which begins the final sentence above, Julian expresses the most consequential disjunction in her mystical treatise. Her decision to follow the advice of the priest refocuses her attention to the suffering Christ. At this early moment, a spirituality that might be engulfed in divinity, dispensing with all images and body, is suddenly particularized by the humanity of Christ. The Idea no longer hovers indefinitely, without interacting with a quasi-concrete reality. If left to her own inclinations on her sickbed, however, as the clauses preceding the “botte” suggest, she would have continued to look vertically, ideationally: “Me thought than that I was welle.” (“I thought that I was well”). No clause intervenes that would make the reader believe she was unsatisfied with her upwardly fixed stare. Although at this point, the Julian we all know is still visionless. Despite her quickly dissipating life, her strongly apophatic experience, with no kataphatic pressures, is more tolerable, less stressed, and certainly visionless, compared with what will follow. The kataphatic onslaught of images, the approximating particularity, are what stress. For Julian, the creation-oriented stare more abrasively violates her autonomy than her fixity toward heaven.

At the suggestion of her parish priest, she “assends” (assents) to his wishes and directs her gaze to the cross before her face. From that moment, the visions themselves unreel. At this moment in her narrative, she adopts a regimen for the most demanding mystic Christology. The axiomatic shift in her Christology is definite:
…my sight begane to faile, and it was alle dyrke aboute me in the chaumber, and mirke as it hadde bene night, save in the image of the crosse there helde a common light, and I wiste nevere howe. Alle that was beside the crosse was huglye to me, as if it hadde bene mekille occupied with fendes.

…my sight began to fail, and it was all dark around me in the chamber, and much had happened in the night, but in the image of the cross was a common light, and I never knew how. Everything besides the cross was ugly to me, as if it had been covered in demons (Watson and Jenkins 2006, 67).
Once her eyes are trained upon the cross, the cross exerts a blend of ideas and unstinting flesh. Her escalating concentration on the figure of Christ always wrests her concentration from a clearly ideational resting place, neither divinity nor humanity predominate. From that moment her eyes do not waver. All other sights become dreadful. From the standpoint of the onlookers, at the foot of Julian’s bed, the reel of visions seem to spring from her intent gaze upon the cross.

Eight sections later in A Vision, after an involved reel of visions, but still at the outset of her treatise, Julian returns us for one of the last times to the outer narrative of her text. At this time, Julian’s experience becomes more distinctly Trinitarian. Here is the first explicit encounter with the fully human and fully divine status of Christ. She reiterates to her reader the safety she feels in the Cross, besides which were, “botte uglinesse of feendes” (only the ugliness of fiends). She expresses overwhelming confidence in the visions. All else becomes blighted in ugliness. At this time she receives a decisive “proposition” in her reason. “That hadde I a profer in my resone, as if it hadde beene frendeyly, it saide to me: ‘Luke uppe to heven to his fadere’” (“Then I had a proposition in my reason, as if it had been friendly, it said to me: ‘Look up to heaven to the father’” (Watson and Jenkins 2006, 85)). By means of this proposition, Julian recalls to the reader the beginning of her treatise. We are returned to the contrasting theological import of Julian on a sickbed before the curate entered, with her eyes fixed upward. Eight sections later her intellect manifests another proposition, which returns the reader to the paradigmatic question of her Christology: whether the focus of her vision will be upwardly inclined or horizontal, whether the accent will be on Idea or instantiation. She is again faced with the decision. This time the invocation has the allure of “Father”, seemingly commending her toward greater divinity.

The sentences following the proposition return to the outer circumstances at the beginning of the text and suggest new considerations: “Than sawe I wele, with the faithe that I feled, that thare ware nathinge betwyx the crosse and heven that might hafe desesed me” (“Then I saw well with the faith I felt that there was nothing between the cross and heaven that might have given me trouble”(Watson and Jenkins 2006, 85)). The “feendes” she has so recently referred to are provisionally stayed. The problematic bifurcation created at the beginning between “heven” and the cross is neutralized. Nothing, now, about a bodily dwelling or a heavenly ascent appear incompatible, according to this line. The final clause of the sentence runs thus: “and othere me behoved loke upppe or els answere” (“I must either look up or else answer”(Watson and Jenkins 2006, 85)). The emergent proposition in her psyche is not idle. According to Julian. “Luke uppe to heven to his fadere,” expects an answer of some kind, which thusly takes shape in Julian’s mind: “I answered and saide: ‘Naye, I may nought! For thowe erte mine heven.’”  (“I answered and said: ‘No, I may not! For you are my heaven’”(Watson and Jenkins 2006, 85)). With this response, her Christology assumes the perfect consanguinity between Father and Son, Idea and instantiation, which will remain throughout her work. She has opted for the Son, which proves to be a decision that does not preclude the Father. After being fully absorbed into the Son, a Trinitarian dynamic emerges, which allows her to join Son and Father, humanity and divinity.

Her “balanced” Christology supplies her with the fruits of simultaneously affirming divinity and humanity, visibility and invisibility. Each is affirmed in tandem. If the Father had not descended upon the Son and she had not become cognizant of their unanimity, an asymmetry would have occurred. She may have submerged herself in the humanity and particularity of Christ, forgetting his fuller identity. The transcendence of Christ may have been abridged and Christ’s visibility may have satisfied Julian. Instead, she perceives the compatibility between Father and Son, realizing that no amount of suffering need compromise the divinity. Julian may indulge the most upbraiding depictions of Christ’s Passion precisely because of the equipollent Christology she has realized.

By illustrating the unity of the Son and Father, she has deepened the Son without domesticating the Father. By realizing their compatibility, she has problematized the divinity of Christ, without eradicating any of his humanity. The humanity, for Julian, becomes imbued with the aspects of God’s ineffability usually assigned solely to his Divinity. In finitude and visibility lies a scope that can only be denoted by divinity. She’s adamant about attributing the transcendent reach of divinity within corporal things themselves, and especially within suffering. By swelling the images of Christ’s Passion, she has sharpened the locus theologicus of all theologizing to the visible realm.

The fruition of her desires make the difference between life and death very thin for Julian. From that place she gives us her visions and theological understanding:
If there is in any sense a boundary line dividing the theological from the ultimate vision of God, then, at every point, Julian’s Revelation straddles it. Indeed, its character as theology consists in its precarious positioning on the cusp formed by theological knowing and mystical unknowing, and so it is in its entirety mystical theology (xii).
Her work abides at the boundary line of light and dark, life and death. She is theological insofar as she attempts, again and again, to speak of a content that lies beyond the ken of words. Her mystical unknowing is her ongoing testament to the ultimate ineffability that tinges all of her writing and experience.

he Cross commits her to a paradox that remains, in her case, restlessly fecund: In Dennis Turner’s words: “It is paradoxical that the Cross’s demolition of the intellectually mediating space that explanations seek to occupy is exactly where our salvation is to be found.”3  The visible Cross is at once a mode of salvation and a place that thwarts explanation. Julian places her salvation, and her explanations, precisely in the place where explanations stall out. The Cross that spurs her theologizing commits it to paradoxical incompletion.

Paul Mommaers, in the Riddle of Christian Mystical Experience, stresses the dialectical nature of the suffering, divine image, for Julian, and in general: this agonistic image is simultaneously and unstintingly visible but at the same time does not hinder the invisible portions of Christ’s divinity. The image can become mistaken for the un-presentable reality in golden-calf idolatry. The image may also obsolesce, smoldering the intensity it hopes to create. Also, as Mommaers points out, the image or concept may only be a provisional stepping stone, en route to higher ranks of divinity that compromise visibility. For Mommaers, in order to remain theologically balanced, a mystic needs to articulate a space for a visibility that is in itself a prism for the invisibility:
Significantly, those who witness the crucifixion are looking at something quite visible – it is a ‘spectacle’ – even as they appear to respond to an invisible event. As it comes into contact with the image, the human gaze at once sees, falters, and opens onto what cannot be seen.
Mommaers terms this particular balance the “downward ecstasy”. A dialectic occurs in an ordinate Christology in which the visible and invisible are inseparable, divulging a polyphony of moments in which the visible and invisible aspects of Christ appear, in which the humanity and divinity are twined. The suffering transmogrifies the visible aspects of divinity into an increasingly unpalatable aesthetic. The grotesque aspects of this visible divinity challenge a further deepening for the mystic that at the same time refuses strict invisibility. Like the sight of a disgusting image that both repels and allures, the provocation of this divine suffering keeps the observer glued, because the visibility of divine suffering is inexhaustible. The visible portions of this divine spectacle always reveal latencies the visionary has not unearthed. The conveyance of divinity by means of suffering images roots the observer in the earth while simultaneously buoying her forward.

William Desmond conveys this harrowing balance between the visible that does not cease from being visible no matter how much the visible is stressed. Desmond, like Mommaers, expresses the visible that baffles and opens onto what cannot be seen and ultimately redounds upon itself, always preserving the show of the aesthetic. Desmond offers an account of the Christological dialectic Mommaers wishes to capture, which is also embodied in Julian:
For one is not dissolving in formless night but seeing the day itself enshrouded with the most extraordinary mystery. Everything is as it is, yet it is not as it is; or it is as it is, and it is not as it is; it is itself and also the showing of more. It is doubled into an icon of what itself is beyond showing in showing, and that resists idolization; a showing that entrances without bewitching, for one is falling into a love that holds one fast, yet lightens one. Nothing is as it seems to be, or it is as it seems to be; but in what seems, one sees something shown. 
Desmond captures the balance an adequate Christology must contain if it is to ward off idolization. The mode of awareness moves between a disintegrative formlessness and a virginal light cast over objects. The experience of the objects contains a deeply equivocal veneer, in which the weight of ambiguity cannot be shirked. Desmond’s descriptions add cogency to the potency of this balance between the visible and invisible. His words enrich the uniqueness of the kind of Christology Julian gives us, which is able to entrance, bringing one into profounder layers of visibility, without becoming lost in a nebulous divinity.
3 Denis Turner, Julian of Norwich, Theologian, p. 20.

en called you light so as to load you down,
And burden you with their own weight of sin,
A woman forced to cover and contain Those seven devils sent by Everyman. But one man set you free and took your part, One man knew and loved you to the core. The broken alabaster of your heart Revealed to him alone a hidden door, Into a garden where the fountain sealed, Could flow at last for him in healing tears, Till, in another garden, he revealed The perfect Love that cast out all your fears, And quickened you with loves own sway and swing, As light and lovely as the news you bring.

Rev Malcolm Guite



                                                                                                                       Stefan Reynolds

ulian of Norwich received her Showing at a time of personal illness. This paper will show that an understanding of illness is part of the lens through which Julian sees and interprets the content of her Showing. The Body of Christ is read according to various extreme physical states expressed in an exaggeration of the bodily humours of wet, dry, hot and cold. Julian's portrayal of Christ's Passion is influenced by late medieval understanding of what constitutes illness. This also has implications for the meaning she derives from what she sees. All possible human suffering is taken on in the Passion so that, as Jesus says; 'if I could have suffered more I would have suffered more'. Medieval medical theory helps explain how Julian sees Christ's body as a complete somatic expression of his identification with and compassion for the human condition. By studying the way Julian sees the transmogrifications in Christ’s body in the light of medieval attitudes to the humours of the body it is possible to get a clearer picture of the relation between suffering and theological meaning in the Showings.


n their descriptions of the experience of prayer and encounter with the body of Christ both Rolle and Julian use language that evoked the medieval understanding of the four ‘humours’. The relation and relevance of medieval medical theory to mystical writing has received inadequate scholarly attention something I would like to address in this paper. I will be using Rolle - who was a highly influential spiritual writer for those of Julian’s generation - to show how Julian develops and expands his use of the language of bodily humours for spiritual experience. Some scholars have commented on Julian’s use of the medical motif of purgation. Frederick Bauerschmidt and Elizabeth Robertson both see the release of excess moisture as the dominant purgative metaphor in Julian’s vision. However they differ in their interpretation of this. Where Robertson sees this purgation of moisture as redemptive Bauerschmidt interprets it as not leading to physical healing but to a further purgation. The body of Christ become medically ‘a failed body’ that has gone to the other extreme of dryness.1

Bauerschmidt is right that in Julian’s vision of Christ moisture is followed by dryness but he doesn’t note how heat and cold are also included in the corporeal experience Julian describes. Purgation is not linked to healing. However purgation of moisture (and the whole process that follows it) does result in the healing of Julian’s body. It is to the medieval understandings of humours that we must look to understand what Julian is trying to express and how her visions result in both spiritual meaning and physical healing. The linking of language about spiritual sensation with that of the body was an equally strong theme in Rolle’s writings. In order to understand the tradition Julian was working with, and her own originality, I will set her in dialogue with Rolle’s use of humeral motifs. Rolle uses the physical senses to describe his encounter with God. However both his ecstatic experiences and his evocations of the Passion of Christ retain a metaphorical and symbolic distance to the body. Julian through her illness and the given-ness, rather than constructed nature, of her visions means she expresses a strongly realist link between what is happening in her soul and in her body. The meaning of her Showing – that all things will be well – is substantiated in her own physical healing.

According to the medieval theories of materialism, all of creation was formed from the four universal elements of fire, air, water and earth. These were arranged in a hierarchy with the more immaterial elements (first fire and then air) taking priority over the grosser substances (water and, lastly, earth). Regardless of gender, all four elements were present in the composition of the human body, though in varying proportions. In medical terms, the four universal elements were said to be carried by the four humours, or physiological fluids: yellow bile (in which the element of fire was dominant), blood (dominated by air), phlegm (primarily water), and black bile (mostly earth). The balance of the four humours within the body was determined partly by gender: males usually being dominated by yellow bile and blood; women characterized by a high admixture of phlegm and black bile.2
Each bodily humour or fluid was aligned, not only with a particular element in the chain of universal matter, but also with a set of four physical qualities: hot, cold, moist and dry. Thus yellow bile, containing fire, was primarily hot and secondarily dry. Blood, dominated by air, was primarily moist and secondarily hot. Phlegm, which was mostly water, was primarily cold and secondarily moist. Lastly, black bile, containing earth, was primarily dry and secondarily cold. The balance of the four humours resulted in a particular combination of the four qualities, the resulting admixture was known as a person’s complexion. Thus the masculine complexion was primarily hot and dry, while the feminine complexion was primarily cold and moist: they are opposites.3

n Incendium Amoris  and other Latin works Rolle describes his experience of God in terms of heat. He begins Incendium with a description of an experience of heat in realistic, sensual terms.4 His concern right from the beginning is to convince the reader that this experience was ‘real’ and not ‘imaginary’: ‘Admirabar magis quam enuncio quando siquidem sentiui cor meum primitus incalescere, et vere non imaginarie, quasi sensibile igne estuare’ (I cannot tell you how surprised I was the first time I felt my heart begin to warm. It was a real warmth too, not imaginary, and it felt as if it were actually on fire).5 Rolle puts across the realness of his experience by describing heat as a very ‘physical’ sensation: ‘Sed sicut si digitus in igne poneretur feruorem induerit sensibilem, sic animus amare quemadmodum predixi succensus, ardorem sentit veracissimum’ (It was as it were if thy finger was put into a fire and was clad with sensible burning, so, the soul set afire with love truly feels most very real heat).6 Later in the same text he says that: ‘Cor eodem modo amore ardere non estimatiue sed realiter sensitur. Cor enim in igne conversum sensum prebet incendii amoris’ (The heart is not hopingly but verily felt to burn. For the heart turned into fire gives the feeling of burning love).7

Rolle therefore describes an experience of devotion as a physical sensation and yet not ‘actually’ physical: Note the use of quasi and sicut (‘as if’) and how he uses ‘ignis spirituali’ in various places. At times he also explicitly refers to ‘fire’ as a metaphor for ‘burning love’: ‘flammam quam sub metaphora ignem apellaui, eo quod urit et lucet’, (the flame which under a figure I call fire, because it burns and lightens).8 Love then is a fire because it purges the soul from sin as a body is burnt up by fire and also because it enkindles devotion in the soul – distractions, he says, cause the person praying to ‘grow cold’.9

The use of the word ‘heat’ by Rolle to describe warmth of devotion, and the bodily realism with which he uses the term, therefore carries a meaning that is related to popular physiological understanding. In psycho-physical theory ‘frigidus’ represents a proclivity towards ‘the flesh’.10 Likewise in Rolle’s writings:
Sordes carnis [obrepunt] et temptant tranquillos. Necessitas quoque corporalis atque affections humanitus impresse, erumpuosique exilii anguscie ardorem ipsum interpolant [...] Et ego quasi frigidus remanens donec redeat mihi, uideor desolates, dum sensum illum ignis interni, cui cuncta corporis et spiritus applaudunt [...] Evigilans uero animam meam tanquam frigiditate tenebratam calefacere conor.11
(The filth of the flesh flows in to tempt slothful minds. And bodily need, and the weak desires of man, and the anguish of this wretched exile sometimes lessen this heat... but I, stone cold and desolate, await its return. When I have it not, I once more experience that feeling of fire deep inside, permeating my whole being body and soul [...] I busy myself warming up my soul, pierced with icicles as it is.)
From this we see that ‘heat’, for Rolle, is not an aspect of natural constitution but is a grace increased through the effort of devotion. We also see that although it comes from within the human person it affects the ‘exterior’ as well as ‘interior’ senses.

In Rolle’s Passion Meditations the dominant motif is wetness.12Generally in late medieval devotional writing cold is seen as a negative state but wetness was associated with tears, blood, saliva and wounds: The gift of tears was closely related to the wounds of Christ in the later Middle Ages and the spittle of contempt he received in his Passion. Bernard of Clairvaux said that Christ wept with every part of his body not just his eyes.13 In Rolle’s ‘Meditation on Christ’s Passion’ in Ego Dormio the skin of Christ is rendered porous and moist:
My keyng, that water grette and blode swete;
Sythen ful sare bette, so that hys blode hym wette,
When their scowrges mette.
Ful fast thai gan hym dyng and at the pyler swyng,
And his fayre face defowlyng with spittyng
Naked es his whit breste, and rede es his blody side;
Wan was his fayre hew, his wowndes depe and wyde.
In five steeds of his fesch the blode gan downe glyde
Als stremes of the strande; hys pyne es noght to hyde.14
(My king much water wept and much blood he let; And was most sorely beat until his own blood ran wet, When their scourges met. Most hard they did them fling, And at the pillar swing; his dear face smeared with spitting. Naked is his white breast, and red is his bloody side; Pale was his fair face, his wounds deep and wide. In five holes of his flesh the blood glided down, As streams on a beach; his languishing cannot be hidden.)
This is connected to medieval medical theory where it was believed that the purgation of excess moisture was beneficial for physical health. Such imagery, maybe through the influence of Rolle, was used in Middle English devotional writing in the later fourteenth century. The Chastising of God’s Children, a highly popular guide to the spiritual life (written probably soon after 1382 by an anonymous author) writes:
In [God’s] absence we bein al cold and drie, swetnesse haue we noon [...] thanne drawith the the sunne the humours vp into the eir, of the whiche cometh dew and reyn [...] In the same maner, whanne the cliere sonne, oure lord iesu, is lift in oure hertis aboue al other thinge [...] if uertues, whiche I call goostli humours, then cometh a swete reyn and an heuenli dew of swetnesse of the godhede.15
(In [God’s] absence we are all cold and dry, we have no sweetness [...] then the sun draws the humours up into the air, from which comes dew and rain [...] In the same way the bright sun, our lord Jesus Christ, is lifted up in our hearts above all other things [...] releasing the virtues, which I call the spiritual humours, so that there follows a sweet rain and a heavenly dew of Divine sweetness.)
The sensual concrete language notable in the writings of Rolle show a fusion of carnal and spiritual meanings. The body of Christ has a healing effect, first on the soul but then also on the body of those who contemplate it. Rolle prays that he ‘myyte turne thorow that swet [of Christ] owt of al sekenesse of soule into lyf of hele of body’, (might turn through the sweat [of Christ] out of all sickness of soul into a healthy bodily life.).16

In both cases of heat and moisture, the same process is at work whereby an exaggeration of a particular bodily complexion becomes anagogic for spiritual transformation. In Incendium the contemplative orientation is from coldness to heat, whereas in the passion narratives it is from dryness of heart to the moisture of devotion. Both, however, are an encounter with the body of Christ. The catalytic effect of Christ’s body engages the complexions of both genders. The predominantly male ‘heat’ drives out feminine ‘coldness’ but feminine ‘moisture’ counteracts the masculine preponderance to dryness. The first - as recorded in Incendium - is an ecstatic experience, the second, for Rolle, is a deeply painful one. This may not be surprising for according to medieval physiology the male mystic has an advantage in the quest for ‘heat’ since he is by nature already in possession of it. However there is also a feminine dynamic to Rolle’s mysticism which, as Anne Astell observes, “bears eloquent testimony to the inner marriage that has taken place within him, reconciling him to his own feminine otherness”.17 This otherness, accepted by Christ, is ‘unworthyest of alle mennys haldyng’ (most unworthy in all men’s estimation) and is therefore painful for Rolle.18 It is a pain however that Rolle recognises will moisten his soul:
Woundys of reuthe is al my desyr, peyne and compassyoun of my Lord Jhesu Cryst. Werste and unworthyest of alle mennys haldyng, I have appetyte to peyne, to beseke my Lorde a drope of hys reed blod to make blody my soule, a drope of that watur, whiche he swet at hys scourging, to washen it with.19
(Wounds of deep remorse are all I yearn for, anguish and sympathy for my Lord Jesus Christ. Most unworthy in all men’s estimation, I have a craving for pain, to implore my Lord for a drop of his red blood to make my soul bloody with, a drop of that water which he sweat at his scourging to wash it with.)

t must have been a passage such as the above which Julian had been reading when she desired from God the gift of three wounds: contrition, compassion and genuine (wylfulle) longing for God.20 Rolle’s influence on devotion in the later fourteenth century is clear. As in Rolle’s description Julian describes Jesus’ whole body as porous and wet:
I saw, beholding the body, plenteous bledyng in semyng of the scoregyng as thus. The feyer skynne was broken full depe in to the tendyr flessch with sharpe smytynges all a bout the sweete body. The hote blode ranne out so plentuously that ther was neyther seen skynne ne wounde, but as it were all blode.21
(I saw, looking at the body bleeding abundantly in appearance like the scourging that it looked like this: The fair skin was very deeply broken, down into the tender flesh, sharply slashed all over the dear body; the hot blood ran out so abundantly that no skin or wound could be seen, it seemed to be all blood.)
However we can see here that Julian manages to bind together the two strands of Rolle’s use of the complexions in her visions of Christ; the blood is ‘hote’ and ‘plentuous’. The same two terms are used together by Julian to describe the bleeding of Christ’s head in her first Showing.22 Christ’s body in the Crucifixion is seen as combining simultaneously the dominant masculine and feminine complexions of medieval medical theory. Rolle’s use of them, in describing Christ and the mystical experience, had been divided between his different genres, his Latin works emphasising ‘heat’, his English ‘moisture’. Julian combines them as unified in the description of her experience.
Also, unlike Rolle, Julian does not contrast the positive effect of heat and moisture with their negations, ‘coldness’ and ‘dryness’. No commentary on Julian’s Showing of Love have read her descriptions of Christ in the light of medieval medical theory. If one does so it is clear that the four humours, or physiological fluids, are all present in Julian’s description of the crucified Christ. In Julian’s eighth vision, the body of Christ takes on the complexions of the lower humours - phlegm, which was primarily cold and secondarily moist and black bile which was primarily dry and secondarily cold:  
And the swete body waxed browne and blacke, alle chaungyd and turned oute of the feyer, fressch, and lyvely coloure of hym selfe in to drye dyeng. For that same tyme that oure blessyd Savyour dyed upon the rode it was a dry, sharp wynd, wonder coldde as to my sight. And what tyme that the precious blode was bled out of the swete body that might passe ther fro [...] Blodlessehed and payne dryed with in and blowing of the wynde and colde coming from with out mett to geder in the swete body of Christ.23
(And the dear body was turned dark and black, quite transformed from his own fair, fresh lively colour into parched mortification; for at the same time that our blessed saviour died upon the cross there was a bitter, dry wind that was loss of blood and pain drying him from within, and blasts of wind and cold coming from without, met together in the dear body of Christ.)
Julian’s Christ therefore contains the extremes of all four complexions. There is surely a link here between Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and the purging of the humours common in medical healing. According to medieval medical understanding, health of the body lay in the balance of the bodily humours. Though gender and other conditions caused one or the other to predominate, if there was an excess, illness would follow. Hence the medieval practice of blood-letting, cold baths, treatment with oils and hot presses. However for Julian this ‘thirst of Christ’ was also part of the process of redemption. Bauerschmidt sees this movement from plenitude to privation in the body of Christ as an apophatic image that points not to a physical but to a spiritual healing: “It is an image of a nowted body, a body which has been transmogrified by suffering into an icon of God’s compassion.”24

If we look at this motif of dryness we see a close correlation between the physical symptoms and the spiritual meaning. Julian reads a double sense in Christ’s thirst, ‘oon bodely and a nother gostly’. The ‘bodely’ thirst arises from a lack of ‘blode and moyster in the swete flessche’.25 For Christ’s ‘gostly’ thirst the full analysis is deferred until the thirteenth revelation where it is defined as his ‘love longyng of us all to geder here in hym to oure endlesse blysse’.26 As Sarah Alison Miller has pointed out - like its bodily counterpart - this is a desiring thirst that arises from lack, namely from the incompleteness of Christ’s body which thirsts for the unification in him of his corporeal members.27 As Miller puts it: “While the pain of ‘bodely thirst’ generates a ‘great onyng’ between Christ and his children through corporeal compassion, full communion, imagined here as enclosure within Christ’s body, awaits fulfillment of his ‘gostly thirst’ [...] Here, Julian locates Christ’s ‘gostly’ thirst in the lacking portions of his flesh, so that even the non-bodily sense of thirst is inextricable from Christ’s corporeality.”

As Caroline Walker Bynum has shown the ability of the physical to express a spiritual meaning was particularly charged when it came to the signification of blood for life and death in the late Middle Ages.28 Certainly Julian described the haemorrhaging body of Christ as both ‘hydows [hideous] and dredfulle’ and ‘swete and lovely’.29 The outward flow of his blood shows Julian both his vitality and the draining of his life-force. Bynum has identified the expression of “this paradoxical sense of continuity in discontinuity” in a “curious motif of late medieval piety: the devotion to Christ’s complete exsanguination in the crucifixion”.30 As Miller points out, although Bynum does not consider the function of this motif in Showings Julian’s vision of the transformation of Christ’s supple body into a desiccated corpse is a clear example of how devotion to Christ’s blood because of its redemptive meaning, finds its fullest expression in devotion to his bloodless body.31 In this sense the desiccated body is both an apophatic image and an icon of God’s compassion, as Bauershmidt puts it. However, as Miller argues, both the bleeding and the drying of Christ’s body in the Showings serve the same role - underscoring its ‘permeability’. The ultimate purpose of this permeability becomes clear in Revelation thirteen when Christ’s ‘gostly’ thirst transforms these points of egress into points of entry.32
As ‘heat’ and ‘moisture’ go together, so do ‘dry’ and ‘cold’. There is a move toward a full corporeal kenesis in Julian’s vision. Speaking of ‘the skynne and the flesshe that semyd (appeared) of the face and the body’, Julian writes:
Theyse were ii paynes that shewed in the bleyssed hed. The furst wrought to the drying whyle it was moyst; and that other, slow, with clyngyng and drying, with blowing of wynde fro without that dryed hym more and payned with colde than my hart can thingke.33
(The pains that appeared in the blessed head were two: The first done to the dying body while it was moist; the second a slow pain as the body dried and shrank with the blowing of the wind from without which dried him more, and tormented him with cold as much as I can imagine.)
In Julian’s description of the kenosis of Christ the first purgation was of ‘hote blod (moyst)’ and the second of ‘dry, colde’. To favour either the ‘cataphatic’ moment of purgation, as Robertson does, or its ‘apophatic’ conclusion, as Bauerschmidt does, is to fail to notice both the integral nature of the Showing and its ultimate purpose. Surely what Julian is trying to express is that all the humours of Christ’s body suffered, that he took on the full human condition without any predominance of one or the other.34 Julian says that ‘tho paynes of Cristes passion passé all payne’, or, as Jesus puts it to her; ‘yf I might have sufferyd more, I wolde a sufferyd more’.35 The will is there, but the four elements that make up the human body are fully engaged in Christ’s passion. They are brought to their extremes. As a somatic expression there is nothing lacking.

It was understood in the Middle Ages that the more perfect flesh is the more it experiences.36 For Jesus – the Word made flesh – every sense was acute on the cross. The catalytic effect of Christ’s body engages the dominant complexions of both genders. For Rolle both were positive even if they were experienced differently; ‘Heat’ is ecstatic, ‘moisture’ is painful. For Julian these humours were combined simultaneously. Nor were they used in contrast to the secondary complexions of ‘cold’ and ‘dry’ as in Rolle’s use. All complexions are included in the encounter with Christ.

Christ’s body is a place of meeting of all the bodily humours to an exaggerated degree. This would explain Christ’s bodily mutability in Julian’s visions. However, the important thing for Julian is that the reader moves on from there to recognise what the Passion expresses. By studying the way Julian sees the transmogrifications in Christ’s body in the light of medieval attitudes to the humours of the body, a clearer picture of the relation between suffering and theological meaning emerges in the Showings. It is not the suffering itself but the love revealed in the suffering which saves. The full implications of Christ’s kenosis are made clear in a final change from pain to joy.

This ‘change of countenance’ shows that, though sickness takes its natural course to death, this is not the ultimate meaning of the event. This death heals. Julian writes:
The chaungyng of hys blessyd chere chaungyd myne, and I was as glad and as mery as it was possible. Then brought oure Lorde meryly to mynd, ‘Wher is now any poynt of thy payne or of thy anguysse?’ And I was fulle mery.37
(The changing of his blessed expression changed mine, and I was as glad and as happy as it was possible to be. Then our Lord made me think happily, ‘where is there now one jot of your pain or your sorrow?’ And I was very happy.)
Where the analogy with medieval medical practice ends is that for Julian this is not a natural healing but a foretaste of Resurrection. This heavenly state however shows itself in bodily terms as a miracle. A neglected aspect of scholarly commentaries on Julian’s Showing is that it is an account of miaculous physical healing. Christ does die, Julian in her illness mirrors completely the one she contemplates, and yet she lives. In Julian’s Showing there is a continuous interaction between the real physical body, its perceptions and that which is signified, that which is ‘shown’. Bodily experience and interpretation are thus very closely linked for Julian, and yet distinct, as passion is the premise of compassion. It is the sharing of suffering with Christ which gives meaning to bodily pain, and can also give actual physical healing.

It is not new to read Julian’s account of her physical sensations through a medical lens, as a narrative of illness.# To try to ‘diagnose’ Julian may be helpful (though hypothetical) in so far as illness highlights the body as the catalyst and expressive context of her Showing, although to explain the bodily symptoms does not explain the way Julian constitutes meaning from them. Julian herself attests that her sickness was of divine origin and yet was a bodily sickness. As Paul Molinari observes, sickness is mysterious enough to make these not incompatible, the meaning lies in the way she interprets what is happening to her.38 This is also the case with her ‘cure’ which she describes as miraculous.

Rolle and Julian are witness to a continuous interaction between the real physical body and the theological meanings it expresses. This is because, in both Rolle and Julian’s writings, the body of Christ is not just an image but a real encounter that involves physical perception. Their form of visionary mysticism did not displace sense experience but expands it beyond the inevitable limitations of individual identity. All corporeal experience was contained in the Logos Ensarkos. Imitation of Christ made the bodily humours of both genders fully accessible, with no need for one gender’s bodily experience to be tamed, rendered insentient, or transfigured into that of another.
Julian understood her own bodily sickness as not just purgative but imitative of Christ: for her Christ’s Passion was not just a somatic kenosis but a ‘showing of love’. For both Julian and Rolle, Christ’s body - because it is human - is a meeting place of the four bodily humours and because it is redemptive, it integrates the masculine and feminine complexions by suffering in all of them. The meeting of the four humours is the new Adam, the full undivided human being, healing the division and disorder of sin. However the very wholeness of Christ means that when his body suffers all human suffering is taken on. God suffering in the flesh is the ultimate Showing of compassion.

1 Robertson, ‘Medieval Medical views of Women and Female Spirituality in the Ancrene Wisse and Julian of Norwich’s Showings’, in Feminist Approaches to the Body in Medieval Literature, eds. Linda Lomperis & Sarah Stanbury (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1993), pp. 154-155. Bauerschmidt, Julian of Norwich and the Mystical Body Politic of Christ (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press,1999), pp. 84-89.
2 Danielle Jacquart and Claude Thomasset, Sexuality and Medicine in the Middle Ages, tr. Mathew Adamson (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1988),  pp. 20-32.
3 Nancy Caciola, Discerning Spirits: Divine and Demonic Possession in the Middle Ages (London: Cornell University Press, 2003), p. 143.
4 This autobiographical account takes pride of place in Rolle’s work right at the beginning, and, as Clifton Wolters rightly points out, the whole rest of the book can be seen as a defence of this primary experience. Fire of Love (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972), Introduction, p. 9.
5 The Incendium Amoris of Richard Rolle of Hampole, ed. Margaret Deanesly (London, NY: Manchester University Press, 1915),  Prologue, p.145.
6 Incendium, Prologue, p. 146.
7 Incendium, Ch. 14, p.185.
8 Incendium, Prologue, p. 146.
9 Incendium, Prologue, pp. 146-147 & 20/203 (c.f. also Ch. 8, p. 166, which describes the fire of love as a purgative fire).
10 Caciola, Discerning Spirits, pp. 144-145.
11 Incendium, Prologue, p. 146.
12 Robertson points out that the dominant image in Incendium Amoris  is ‘heat’ whereas in the passion writings it is moisture. She asks whether this can be explained by a gendered audience, the English writings which use moisture being specifically written for women. She writes that “given the fact that heat is more important physiologically to men than moisture, it is not surprising that the work of Rolle’s that is probably most clearly intended for male readers, Incendium, should focus primarily on the heat of desire rather than on moisture.” Feminist Approaches to the Body, eds. Lomperis & Stanbury p. 165, note 36.
13 ‘Sermon 3’, Opera Omnia, 5, ed. Jean LeClercq (Rome: Editiones Cistercienses, 1968), p. 55.
14Ego Dormio’, English Writings of Richard Rolle, ed. Hope Emily Allen (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), pp.  67-68, lines 218-222, 227-230.
15 Ed. Joyce Bazire & Eric Colledge (Oxford: Blackwell, 1957), pp. 98, line 11, p. 102, lines 7-17.
16 ‘Meditations on the Passion’, English Writings,p.  20, lines 15-16.
17 The Song of Song in the Middle Agex (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 1995), p. 118. See also Patricia. Fite, ‘To Sytt-And-Sing-Of-Luf-Langyng: The Feminine Dynamic of Richard Rolle’s Mysticism’, Studia Mystica, 14, (1991), 13-29. Neither Astell nor Fite draw out the physiological implications of Rolle’s gender inclusivity.
18 ‘Meditations on the Passion’, English Writings, p. 23.
19 Short Text (Amherst MS Additional 37790, circa 1450), A Book of Showings to the Ancress Julian of Norwich, Part 1, ed. Edmund College and James Walsh, (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1978), p. 206, lines 52-53.
20 Long Text, Ch. 12, The Showings of Julian of Norwich, ed. Denise N. Baker, (NY, London: Norton & Co., 2005), p. 22. (Also Short Text, eds. College & Walsh, p. 227, lines, 14-19). It is the ‘plenteousness’ of this precious blood which allows it to flow abundantly into hell, freeing chosen souls there, to wash away sins on earth and to intercede in heaven. I have used Baker’s edition of  the ‘Paris Manuscript’ Bibliothèque nationale anglais MS 40. Based as it is on a manuscript readied for printing in the 1530s  it is much earlier than the two seventeenth century ‘Sloane manuscripts’ used in Walsh & Colledge’s critical edition of the Long Text.  In their modern English translation College and Walsh themselves agree that ‘Paris’ is ‘the most important long-text manuscript’, ‘Introduction‘, Julian of Norwich Showings, (NY: Paulist Press, 1978), p. 21. Baker supplies an edition of ‘Paris’, though slightly modernized.
21 Long Text, Ch. 4, ed. Baker, p. 8. Short Text, eds. College & Walsh, p. 210, line 12.
22 Long Text, Ch. 16, ed. Baker, p. 27.  Also Short Text, eds. College & Walsh, p. 233, lines 1-13.
23 Bauerschmidt, Body Politic, p. 106.
24 Long Text, Ch. 17, ed. Baker, p. 27.
25 Long Text, Ch. 31, ed. Baker,  p. 43.
26 Medieval Monstrosity and the Female Body (NY: Routledge, 2010), Ch. 3; ‘Monstrous Love: The permeable body of Christ in Julian of Norwich’s Showings’, p. 118.
27 Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania University Press, 2007), pp. 1-5.
28 Long Text, Ch. 7, ed. Baker, p. 13.
29  Bynum, Wonderful Blood, p. 163.
30 See Miller, Medieval Monstrosity, pp. 116-117.
31  Ibid, p. 119.
32 Long Text, Ch. 17, ed. Baker, pp. 28-29.
33 Julian relates the bodily humours in a way that subverts conventional gendered associations. These ‘two’ pains - dryness and coldness - are not divided along gender lines. Commonly the masculine complexion was primarily hot and dry, while the feminine complexion was primarily cold and moist. 
34 Long Text,Chs. 20 & 22, ed. Baker, pp. 32 & 34.
35  Bynum, Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336 (NY: Columbia University Press, 1995), pp. 251, 333.
36 Long Text, Ch. 21, ed Baker, p. 33.
37  See James T. McIlwain, ‘The Bodelye syeknes of Julian of Norwich’, Journal of Medieval History, 10, (1984), 167-180. McIlwain concluded that Julian’s sickness was botulism.
38 Julian of Norwich: The Teaching of a 14th Century English Mystic (New York: Longmans, Green & Co, 1958), pp. 21-31.

oday we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in  every nation.

Rev Malcolm Guite




n this paper, I plan to synthesize the research I have done on the fifteenth-century manuscripts that contain the short version and fragments of the long version of Julian of Norwich’s Showings: London, British Library, MS Additional 37790 (Amherst) and London, Westminster Cathedral Treasury, MS 4 (Westminster). I will discuss how her texts have been contextualized within the manuscripts, and what we can learn about the dissemination of her texts from these witnesses. I will also comment on the questions that remain about her text, and how it came to form part of the Amherst anthology and the Westminster compilation.




om Augustine Baker, OSB (1575-1641), is known above all for Sancta Sophia (Holy Wisdom), distilled from his treatises written principally for the English Benedictine nuns of Cambrai (now at Stanbrook) by his confrère Dom Serenus Cressy, and first published at Douai in 1657. His unpublished treatises are now in process of publication in the series Analecta Cartusiana (Salzburg University), which makes for a more direct and intimate appreciation of Fr Baker himself./1 He was a boarder (supplementary priest) at the Cambrai convent from the end of 1624 to the summer of 1633, when he was moved to the Benedictine house at Douai; in 1638 he was sent on the English Mission. Though not the Vicar (official chaplain) to the nuns, he became confessor and spiritual director to very many of them. Dame Catherine Gascoigne, who became Abbess in 1629, was a life-long supporter of his teaching on the spiritual life.

Father Baker was very widely read in the classical writers on prayer and spirituality, from the Desert Fathers and John  Cassian (with Dorotheus of Gaza and John Climacus in Latin translation), through the principal Latin writers of his own day. He made many translations from Latin authors into English for the nuns. A significant part of his programme was to encourage the reading of significant pre-Reformation English texts, either from printed editions if these were available, or else from manuscript copies; if the nuns did not already have a copy in their library, he sought out copies for them. His reading-list for the nuns exists in various forms./2 In the fullest form known to survive, it includes Walter Hilton's Scale of Perfection, William Bond's Pilgrimage of Perfection, Remedies against Temptations (ascribed to Richard Rolle of Hampole, but actually the Augustinian Friar William Flete), The Twelve Fruits of the Holy Ghost, 'Hampolls Works in one volume', William Whitford's Tunne or Pipe of Perfection, and The Cloud of Unknowing./3

Julian's Revelations of Divine Love are not included in Fr Baker's reading-lists, nor does he himself directly refer to or quote from Julian in his own treatises giving directions for prayer.

However, there is clear evidence that Julian's Revelations were accessible to the Cambrai nuns, if not during Father Baker's residence at Cambrai, then at any rate very shortly after his departure. Dame Margaret Gascoigne, a younger sister of Abbess Catherine Gascoigne, died in 1637. Father Baker assembled Dame Margaret's devotional papers, and also wrote an account of her Life./4 Father Baker describes Dame Margaret's preparation for death:
Towards the said good preparation for death, and to hold her the more continuallie and efficaciouslie therein, she caused one that was the most conuersant and familiar with her, to place (written at and vnderneath the Crucifix, that remained there before her, and wch she regarded wth her eyes during her sicknes and till her death), thes holie wordes, that had sometimes ben spoken by God to the holie virgin Julian the clustresse of Norwich, as appeareth by the old manuscript booke of her Reuelations, and wth the wch wordes our Dame had euer formerlie ben much delighted: "Inteade (or attende) to me; I am inough for thee; reioice in me thy Sauiour and in thy saluation."/5
These words are taken from chapter 36 of the Long Text of Julian's Revelations. In chapter 42 of Margaret's Devotions there is a longer direct quotation from this same chapter of the Long Text where Father Baker adds a note to highlight the quotation from Julian:
Thou hast saide (O.L.), to a deare childe of thine: 'Let me alone, my deare-worthy childe, intend (or attend) to me, I am enough to thee: reioyce in thy Sauior & saluation'. (This was spoken to Julian ye ankresse of Norwch, as appeareth by ye Booke of Reuelations).
and more briefly in chapter 43: 'Attend to me, for I am enough to thee'.

One of the two extant copies of Dame Margaret's Devotions, now at Colwich Abbey/6, was made by Dame Bridget More, a descendant of St Thomas More, who was professed at Cambrai in 1630, and was sent with the colony of nuns to found the daughter house in Paris (now Colwich), where she was elected the first Prioress in 1652. Dame Bridget also copied an extract from Julian, found in another Colwich manuscript, which so far as I know has not been noticed:
Out of an old Einglish booke.                                                                                                                                       
Our good Lord shewed yt it is full great pleasure to him yt a seelie soule come to him naked, planly, & homely. For this is ye kind [naturall supra] dwelling of ye soule by ye touching of ye Holy Ghost, as by ye vnderstanding in this shewing. God of thy goodnes : giue me thy-self, for thou art inough to me, & I may aske nothing vnles yt may be full worship to thee; & if I aske any-thing yt is les, euer me wanteth; only in thee I haue all. And therefore I may aske of our louer wth reuerance all yt I will, for our kindly will is to haue God, & we may neuer cease of willing nor of longing till we haue him in fullness of love. And then we may no more will, for he will yt we be occupied in knowing & louing till ye time yt we shall be filled in heaven./7
The words 'Thou art inough to me' suggest the passage from Julian's Long Text associated with Dame Margaret's death-bed, but in fact this passage is a combination of two extracts from chapters 5 and 6 of the Long Text where it is Julian who addresses Christ in response to his revelation: 'Thou art Inough to me'./8

The form 'Thou art enough to mee' is also found in Dame Margaret's Devotions, chapters 17, 18, 28, 31, 49. In chapter 28 this is linked with the Franciscan motto, 'Deus meus et omnia, My God and my all', which is also found in chapter 48, looking forward to chapter 49.

A further witness to the continued access by the Cambrai nuns to a copy of Julian's Revelations has long been known: the Upholland Anthology/9 collection of extracts, principally from Father Baker's writings and translations, but also from some other sources, in four seventeenth-century hands, including that of Dame Barbara Constable (1617-84; professed at Cambrai 1649, died 1684), a devoted and accurate copyist of Father Baker's writings and of records of the Cambrai community. It has been suggested that another hand in this manuscript, may have been that of Dame Bridget More/10, but this has not been clearly made out.

The Upholland Anthology contains in Dame Barbara's hand a full transcription of Julian's twelfth revelation (Long Text, chapter 26), and a partial transcription of her thirteenth revelation (Long Text, part of chapter 27, all of chapter 28; part of chapter 30, part of chapter 32)./11 [Since these are available in the printed and on-line editions to which I refer in the notes, I do not reproduce them here.]

There are three extant manuscripts of the complete Long Text dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The first is Paris, Bibliothèque National, Fonds anglais 40, which Fathers Colledge and Walsh in their edition used as their base text. They dated the manuscript as circa 1650; however Sister Anna Maria Reynolds, C.P., in her Leeds University theses, 1947, 1956, dated it correctly to the sixteenth century, and more recently Dr A.I. Doyle has identified a watermark in the paper as circa 1580./12 The second, used by Marion Glasscoe for her edition/13, is British Library, Sloane 2499, which Fathers Colledge and Walsh also dated circa 1650; they note that the hand closely resembles that of Mother Clementia Cary (died 1671), foundress of the Paris English Benedictine convent, and daughter of Henry Cary, Viscount Falkland, Viceroy of Ireland, and Elizabeth, Lady Falkland. Father Cressy was confessor to the English Benedictine nuns in Paris for about a year from 1651. British Library, Sloane 3705, copies the same manuscript as does Sloane 2499, but modernises Julian's text, while Sloane 2499, though hastily written, takes great pains to replicate the original Norwich dialect of its exemplar.

The Julian extract in Colwich MS 22 must have been copied from a manuscript closely related to the Paris Julian manuscript. It has the reading 'ye kind dwelling of ye soule' in common with Paris where Sloane has, surely more correctly, 'the kinde yerninge of the soule' - a point noted by Colledge and Walsh in their edition. The Upholland extracts have some modernisations by comparison with the Paris text, but again they are compatible with it. Thus, in the extract from chapter 28, Upholland has 'right no thing alone' (fol. 115) where Paris has 'ryght nought aloone' (fol. 52v) and Sloane has 'not alone' (fol. 38)/

Father Baker makes references throughout his treatises to women religious, always in terms of high respect. It may therefore be asked, why has he no reference in his own teachings on prayer (as distinct from incidental notes to explain references in his presentation of Dame Margaret Gascoigne) to Julian?

On the knowledge that we have, a conceivable explanation might be that the manuscript of Julian at Cambrai - related to the extant Paris manuscript - reached the community only after Father Baker had drawn up his most complete reading list (or at any rate the most complete list known to us), or even after his departure from Cambrai.

Alternatively, the manuscript may have been present at Cambrai, and accessible to the nuns during Father Baker's ministry there. If this were the case, why should he have refrained from recommending it to the nuns for reading?

Julian emphasises strongly devotion to the Sacred Humanity of Christ, whereas Fr Baker repeatedly points to writers more or less influenced by the apophatic tradition. But in reality there is no conflict between the two ways: they are complementary the one in the other. Father Baker's devotion to the person of Christ, and to Our Lady, is evident in, for instance, the exercises in the Idiot's Devotions./15

Nor is there any reason why Father Baker should have felt any difficulty about Julian's visionary experiences; since Julian herself is clear that her visiions are not ends in themselves, but are points of departure for her deepening understanding of faith and growth in love of God and of her fellow Christians. A very comparable balanced approach to visionary experiences is found in Teresa of Avila, for whom (with Saint John of the Cross, and their fellow Carmelite John of Jesus and Mary), Father Baker had a very deep respect.

Could Julian's wrestlings with the problem of the reality of evil, and her hope for the salvation of all, have been a problem to Father Baker? Again, there would have been no reason for this. Julian never makes any dogmatic universalist statement. Rather, she says that Christians may and should hope for the salvation of all, and that what seems impossible to man is not impossible to God; from this point, she leaves the mystery of judgment and salvation in the hands of the God of love.

More problematic for Father Baker might perhaps have been Julian's application of the image of motherhood to God in Christ,. But again, the application of some female imagery to God, who in any case includes in himself all that is male and female, and infinitely more, has antecedents in Christian theology. Moreover, in Julian's profoundly balanced and fundamentally traditional (and very Augustinian) Trinitarian theology, it is to Christ, as the second Person of the Trinity, alone, that the image of motherhood is applied; in Christ, as God the Son, to whom Wisdom, Sapientia, represented as a female person in scripture, is applied.

                     Dame Bridget More, O.S.B.

       Dame Barbara Constable, O.S.B.

1 The series is published under the editorship of Professor James Hogg under the imprint of the University of Salzburg. Since 1997 nearly forty volumes devoted to Father Baker have been published (=AC). Earlier studies had been Memorials of Father Augustine Baker OSB, and Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in English and Foreign Libraries from the Works and Life of Father Augustine Baker OSB and Other Documents Relating to the English Benedictines, ed. Justin McCann and Hugh Connolly, Catholic Record Society, 55 (1933); Placid Spearitt, OSB, 'The Survival of Mediaeval Spirituality among the Exiled English Black Monks', American Benedictine Review 25 (1974), 287-309. Most recent is Nancy Bradley Warren, The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700, Notre Dame, 2010, particularly her second chapter on Julian of Norwich and the Benedictine nuns of Cambrai and Paris.
2 J.C. Rhodes, 'Dom Augustine Baker's Reading Lists', Downside Review 101 (1993), 157-193.
3 The most complete reading list is found in Baker, Directions for Contemplation, Book H, ed. J. Clark, AC 119:9, Salzburg 2000, Appendix p. 82-89.
4 The Life and Death of Dame Margaret Gascoigne, ed. J. Clark, AC 119:23, Salzburg, 2000; The Devotions of Dame Margaret Gascoigne, ed. J. Clark, AC 119:28, Salzburg, 2007. See also The Writings of Julian of Norwich, ed. N. Watson and J. Jenkins, Turnhout, 2006, Appendix D, pp. 437-448, using J.B. Holloway, The Julian Library Portfolio, Holmhurst, 1996, pamphlets:
[11] Margaret Gascoigne/Bridget More: Contemplating on Julian [12] Dame Barbara Constable, O.S.B., and the Upholland Julian Fragment, which diplomatically edit Colwich MS 18, Dame Margaret Gascoigne, Devotions; Stanbrook Abbey, photocopy of Upholland manuscript. I have edited Downside Abbey MS68370 (ex Gillow Library).
5 Life . . . of Margaret Gascoigne, AC 119:23, p. 66.
6 See note 4.
7 Colwich Abbey MS 22, p. 148.
8 A Book of Showings to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich, ed. E. Colledge and J. Walsh, Toronto, 1978, Part 2, pp. 301-302; 308-309;
Julian of Norwich, A Showing of Love, ed. Sister Anna Maria Reynolds, C.P., and Julia Bolton Holloway, Florence, 2001, I.v.10v, p. 162. Sister Anna Maria Reynolds and Julia Bolton Holloway's meticulously presented edition of Julian's Showing of Love provides diplomatic transcriptions of the Amherst Manuscript (BL Add. MS. 2779) Short Text; the Westminster MS (circa 1500) sections of the Long Text; the Paris MS and Sloane MS 2499 of the Long Text, with full lists of variants from other MSS, in the apparatus, and full glossary, indices, and appendices listing cross-references and scriptural references. There are excellent photographs of representative pages from the Amherst, Westminster, Paris and Sloane 2499 manuscripts and also from BL Sloane 3705 and the eighteenth-century Stowe 42 manuscript of the Long Text. Of particular importance is the abundant information relative to the place of Julian's Revelations in the context of the Recusant community, which provides a point of departure for further investigations, and opens up the perspectives in this area. See also Julia Bolton Holloway, Anchoress and Cardinal: Julian of Norwich and Adam Easton OSB, AC 35:20, Salzburg, 2008.
9 H.W. Owen, 'An Edition of the Upholland Anthology', University of Liverpool B.A. diss., 1962; 'Another Augustine Baker Manuscript', Dr. L. Reypens-Album,
ed. A. Ampe, Ruusbroec-Genootschap, Antwerp, 1963, pp 269-280; Hywel Wyn Owen and Luke Bell OSB, 'The Upholland Anthology: An Augustine Baker Manuscript', Downside Review, 107 (1989), 274-292;
'Extracts from the Upholland Anthology', 103 (1990), 49-61, 131-145; ed. Holloway,
10 Watson and Jenkins, pp. 439-440.
11 Ed. Owen, Downside Review 107 (1989), 286-289; ed. Holloway,; ed. Watson and Jenkins, pp. 446-448.
12 Reported in pp. 121, 136, n. 1, and confirmed by Dr Doyle.
13 Julian of Norwich
, A Revelation of Love, ed. Marion Glasscoe, revised edition, Exeter, 1986.
14 Upholland, 'right no thing alone', fol. 115; Paris: 'ryght nought aloone', Colledge and Walsh, p. 411, Reynolds and Holloway, XIII.xxviii.52v, p. 248; Sloane: 'not alone', Glasscoe, p. 40, Reynolds and Holloway, fol. 38, p. 550.
15 Baker, Idiot's Devotions - Directions: Parts One and Two, ed. J. Clark, AC 119:29, Salzburg, 2008.

16 On this point, see e.g. J.P.H. Clark, 'Nature, Grace and the Trinity', Downside Review 100 (1982), 203-220. There are many excellent treatments of Julian's theology, among which: Brant Pelphre
y, Love was his Meaning: The Theology and Mysticism of Julian of Norwich, Salzburg, 1982; Joan Nuth, Wisdom's Daughter: The Theology of Julian of Norwich, New York, 1991; Margaret Ann Palliser, Christ Our Mother of Mercy:
Divine Mercy and Compassion in the Theology of the Shewings of Julian of Norwich,Berlin, 1992; Denise Baker, Julian of Norwich's Showings: From Vision to Book, Princeton, 1993; Kerrie Hide, Gifted Origins of Graced Fulfillment: The Soteriology of Julian of Norwich, Collegeville, 2001; Denys Turner, Julian of Norwich, Theologian, New Haven, 2011. All deal with this last point.


atimer’s pulpit, you can touch the wood,
Sound for yourself the syllables of grace
That sounded and resounded through this place;
A quickened word, a kindling for good
In evil times; when malice held the cards
And played them, in the play of politics,
When knaves with knives were taking all the tricks,
When Christendom was shivered into shards,
When King and Queen were pitched in different camps,
When burning books could stoke the fire for men,
When such were stacked against him –even then
Latimer knew that hearts alone are trumps.
    He gave the King of Hearts his proper name,
    He touched this wood, and kindled love to flame.



                                                                                Nancy Bradley Warren   Juliana Dresvina


n a 1673 contribution to the “Stillingfleet Controversy,” an extended textual exchange condemning and defending Julian of Norwich's Revelations, an anonymous Catholic writer excuses Julian from charges of fanaticism, saying, "If Mother Iulian's Revelations have many things new and strange, yet, if therin be nothing contrary to Faith or Good manners, nor words taken in a modern-improper sense will amount to Heresy, I hope this Author [that is, Stillingfleet] will not put her in the List of his Fanaticks…, or, that he can prove her old English to be Fanaticism, but then let Chaucer also look to himself."  In other words, if Julian is guilty of producing "Fanatick Revelations of distempered brains" as Stillingfleet insists, then so too is Chaucer. This joining of Chaucer and Julian of Norwich as exemplars of orthodox English religion likely seems, to twenty-first century readers, fairly odd. Critical considerations of Chaucer as a serious religious writer are not much in critical vogue, and the only place we tend to find Chaucer and Julian in neighborly proximity is on the syllabus of a medieval literature survey course or in the pages of the Norton Anthology. The anonymous writer's joining of the two provides, however, a glimpse into a largely unexplored literary history.

While much critical ink has been spilled on the development of the proto-Protestant figure of Chaucer in early modern textual culture, little attention has been given to a competing early modern tradition of the figure of Catholic Chaucer. Much as early modern Protestant polemicists like John Foxe invoke the figure of Chaucer the "right Wiclevvian" to argue for the reformed church as the authentic, legitimate English church, writers like this anonymous Catholic, and the writer's contemporary the Catholic convert John Dryden, find in the figure of Chaucer, Chaucer's writings, and Chaucer's era, ample material to craft alternative visions of English history as well as of the English literary canon. Through an analysis of Serenus Cressy's XVI Revelations of Divine Love (particularly its dedication to Lady Mary Blount), texts that participated in the "Stillingfleet Controversy" sparked by Cressy’s edition, and John Dryden's roughly contemporaneous dedicatory poems in his Fables Ancient and Modern, I analyze the dynamics of gender, lineage, and religion as these writers mobilize the English medieval past embodied by Julian of Norwich and Chaucer to negotiate the religious and political conflict that characterized post-Restoration England. Julian and Chaucer serve as foremother and forefather, giving authority and legitimacy to a Catholic counternarrative of English religious history in the eighteenth century.

his paper brings together a trio of English writers not typically found to keep each other's company outside the pages of a British literature anthology or the syllabus of an undergraduate survey class covering the so-called first "half" of British literature (typically Anglo-Saxon through the 18th century in universities where I have taught).  These writes are Julian of Norwich, Geoffrey Chaucer, and John Dryden.  In this paper, though it will take me nearly until the end to get to Chaucer, Chaucer actually serves as a point of linkage joining Julian of Norwich and Dryden.  To consider how and why these writers come together in the late seventeenth-century, and what their juxtaposition means, I will focus on Serenus Cressy's edition of Julian of Norwich (published in 1670), Edward Stillingfleet's  A Discourse Concerning the Idolatry Practised in the Church of Rome (1671), The Roman Church's Devotions Vindicated from Doctor Stillingfleet's Mis-Representation (1672) (one of the pro-Catholic texts published in the polemical exchange known as the "Stillingfleet Controversy" that followed Cressy's and Stillingfleet's  publications),  and Dryden's Fables Ancient and Modern (published in 1699, after his conversion to Roman Catholicism).  For Cressy and for Catholic writers in the Stillingfleet controversy, as for Dryden, Julian and Chaucer provide a means of accessing the past textually in order to reanimate England as a Catholic realm and Roman Catholic devotion as the English faith in the late seventeenth-century Protestant present.  In the modes of textual encounter theorized by these early modern Catholic writers, there are complex, and complexly gendered, imbrications of bodies and words, interlocking sets of generative and genealogical relationships in which words make bodies, as well as the histories associated with those bodies, have presence and be present.  Where there are bodies and words, so too there is gender, and questions of gender, language, and legitimacy also shape the relationships of Julian, Chaucer, and Dryden in late seventeenth-century textual culture.  Indeed, the ways in which these three writers interact in this culture sheds light on competing Catholic and Protestant processes of canon formation, processed with broader political implications than I can address in this paper but which are of central interest to me in the larger book project of which this work constitutes a small part.

Serenus Cressy published his edition of Julian's revelations accompanied by a dedication "To his most Honoured Lady, the Lady Mary Blount of Sodington" and by an epistle "To the Reader."  In these prefatory materials, Cressy makes clear both his religio-political aim of framing the edition as what Jennifer Summit calls "an exile's return"  and his related commitment to a mode of textual encounter that I have, in other work on Julian of Norwich, described as incarnational textuality, a mode that is fundamentally concerned with recursivity and return.1 Summit observes that Cressy appeals "to Lady Mary to consider Julian of Norwich her contemporary" (32).  I would actually go further to say that Cressy encourages Lady Mary in some sense to be Julian, to re-embody, by means of reading her text, Julian's experience.2  

In the dedicatory letter to Lady Mary, Cressy emphasizes the similarities between Lady Mary and Julian, despite the historical gap separating them, stating, "The Author of it, is a Person of Your Sex, who lived about Three Hundred Years since" (Watson and Jenkins 449).  He continues by noting that Julian "intended it for You, and for such Readers as yourself" (Watson and Jenkins 449).  Cressy also underlines the corporeal, affective, experiential aspects attached to Lady Mary's reading of Julian's text, framing the textual encounter in terms of visual perception and bodily sensation.  He says, "you will enjoy her Saint-like Conversation, attending to her, whilst with Humility and Joy, She recounts to you the Wonders of our Lords Love to Her, and of his Grace in Her.  And being thus employed, I make no doubt but you will be sensible of many Beams of her Lights, and much warmth of her Charity, by reflection darted into your own Soul" (Watson and Jenkins 450).3  

It is significant too that the experiential scene of reading is framed as "saint-like conversation," and that Cressy writes of Julian "recounting to you" her experience.  Such a person-to-person understanding of textual encounter places a special importance on the words as Julian's own words; the words do not merely describe Julian's experiences of divine love and grace and her thoughts about those experiences, but rather they seem to embody Julian herself, making her present to, and her experience alive in, Lady Mary.   The crucial role the words themselves play helps make sense of Cressy's desire not to modernize Julian's language to make it more comprehensible for seventeenth-century readers, but rather to provide glosses.  Cressy writes in the epistle to the devout reader, "I conceived it would have been a prejudice to the agreeable simplicity of the Stile, to have changed the Dress of it into our Modern Language, as some advised. Yet certain more out of Fashion, Words or Phrases, I thought meet to explain in the Margine" (Watson and Jenkins 450).  As Watson and Jenkins observes, "Clearly, something real was at stake for Cressy and his Catholic contemporaries in defending the Middle English idiom of the fourteenth-century spiritual writers they admired" (449).  The Middle English idiom matters so much to Cressy at least, I believe, in part because of the nature of his understanding of reading. To translate the words (to carry them across from one language into another) would inhibit the ability of those words to translate the past, to bear it across the historical gulf from Julian's body to the body of the reader.

In 1671, Edward Stillingfleet, bishop of Worcester, and a well-known preacher, theologian, and apologist for the Church of England, published A Discourse Concerning the Idolatry Practised in the Church of Rome and the danger of Salvation in the communion of it. Nicholas Watson and Jenkins observes that Stillingfleet's central aim is "to shift charges that the Protestant Churches have encouraged 'fanaticism' (a term associated, in the 1670s, with dissident groups such as the Quakers and the Ranters) onto Catholicism, by claiming that it is Catholics, with their tolerance for visions, miracles, and mysticism, that are the true 'fanatics'" (448).  Stillingfleet was also "enraged" by the "strangeness of Julian's idiom" (Watson and Jenkins 449).  In other words, both the distinctively personal elements of her text and its Middle English language that Cressy thought so important to preserve rather than to modernize were problems for Stillingfleet, and both were problems because of their associations with the feminine.  

Stillingfleet's attack on Cressy's edition of Julian's text contains, not surprisingly, strongly gendered aspects.  Indeed, Stillingfleet adopts a strategy widespread in anti-Catholic polemic of the second half of the seventeenth century of using major female mystics and visionaries of the Middle Ages (very frequently St. Birgitta of Sweden and St. Catherine of Siena) to emblematize Catholicism's falsity, superstition, and fanaticism. Catholicism is, in short, feminine faith, irrevocably tainted by the sorts of female carnality and female weakness both intellectual and spiritual demonstrated by the lives of such women as Birgitta and Catherine. In an illustrative passage that brings together all the negative associations of the medieval, the feminine, and the Catholic, Stillingfleet writes:
Blosius in his works hath one Book called Monile Spirituale, which consists of nothing but the new and strange revelations which were made to four Women Saints St. Gertrude, St. Mathilde, St. Bridgett, and St. Catharine; and in his Preface saith, it is a sign of a carnal mind to despise such revelations as these are: for the Church of God is wonderfully enlightened by them.  What, saith he, did not the Prophets and Apostles receive truth from Heaven by Revelations?  As though the case were the very same in these melancholy Women and in the holy Prophets and Apostles: and we had just as much reason to believe the effects of hysterical vapours and the divine spirit.”4
For comparison, note that William Guild’s Anti-Christ pointed and painted out... (1655) describes the cross speaking to St. Birgitta in Rome as an example of a false popish miracle, and Walter Pope’s satirical “The Catholick Ballad: or an Invitation to Popery...” (1674) includes a mocking reference to St. Birgitta.5 So too does John Oldham’s “Satyr IV.  S. Ignatius his Image brought in...” (1684).  Oldham dismissively pairs St. Birgitta with St. Clare; mocking Catholic devotion to relics: “These Locks S. Bridget’s were, and those S. Clare’s / Some for S. Catherine go, and some for her’s / That wip’d her Saviour’s feet, wash’d with her tears” (emphasis in original).6  

Significantly, the nature of textual encounter—the very questions of what one should read and in what language that are so important to Cressy—provides the starting point for Stillingfleet's point by point effort to debunk passages from the Revelations.  Again pairing Julian with St. Birgitta of Sweden—that stand-by figure for those wishing to undermine contemporary Catholicism by associating it with what is represented as feminine irrationality—he points to both women's "Fantastical Revelations" and lampoons Gonsalvus Durantus and Serenus Cressy for publishing the work of these medieval mystics.  Stillingfleet continues, "We have, we thank God, other ways of imploying our devout retirements, than by reading such fopperies as those are.  Excellent men! That debar the people reading the Scriptures in their own tongue, and instead of them put them off with such Folleries, which deserve no other name at the best than the efforts of Religious madness" (Watson and Jenkins 452).  The vernacular Middle English of medieval Catholic texts—texts that are strongly and pejoratively feminized by Stillingfleet—problematically replaces for contemporary Catholics the vernacular Scriptures embraced by early modern Protestants.  Catholic texts and the Middle English represent the "mother tongue" in a debased, feminine form, while the vernacular Scripture represents the masculine divine Word.  Importantly in this regards, Stillingfleet repeatedly and mockingly calls Julian of Norwich "mother Juliana" (for example, he asks, "Have we any mother Juliana's among us?" and he describes "the sixteen Revelations of Divine Love shewed to a devout servant of our Lord (and Lady too) called Mother Juliana [Watson and Jenkins 452]).

In presenting his case for Julian of Norwich's fanaticism, Stillingfleet zeroes in on a set of Middle English words that are complexly multivalent and multi-layered in their meaning in Julian's Middle English: substance, sensuality, kindness, one-ing. These appear repeatedly in the passages he incorporates, and they are terms that all have a great deal to do with incarnation and epistemology, with bodies and words (both human and divine) and the ways the interactions between them produce knowledge.  Tellingly, Stillingfleet also focuses on Julian's Trinitarian theology, showing particular concern with the role she assigns to motherhood.  He writes, "Afterwards she discourseth of three properties in the Holy Trinity, of the Fatherhead, of the Motherhood, and of the Lordship, and she further saw that the second person which is our Mother substantially, the same dear worthy person is not become our Mother sensual; for we be double of God's making, substantial and sensual" (Watson and Jenkins 453).  This passage in which the feminine, the affective, and the "strangeness" of Julian's Middle English idiom converge powerfully seems the last straw for Stillingfleet, since it provokes him to pronounce judgment as follows:
We may justly admire what esteem Mr. Cressy had of that Lady to whose devout retirements he So gravely commends the blasphemous and senseless tittle tattle of this Hysterical Gossip.  It were endless to repeat the Canting and Enthusiastik expressions, which signifie nothing in Mother Juliana's Revelations.  (Watson and Jenkins 453)    
The Roman Church's Devotions Vindicated represents the response of "O.N. a Catholick," as the title page states, to Stillingfleet's arguments.  While there is some debate about O.N.'s identity, I am not concerned here with the question of authorship.7 Rather, I want to examine O. N.'s strategies in countering Stillingfleet's arguments, linking those strategies with outer seventeenth-century Catholic engagements with the English medieval past and its texts.

O. N. tackles the "woman problem," the negative association of the Catholic with the feminine so prominent in early modern Protestant polemic upon which Cressy draws so heavily, with a multi-pronged strategy.  Not surprisingly, O. N. works in a mention of Scriptural endorsement of female visionary experiences, writing, "In the last dayes God's powring out his Spirit Vpon all flesh, so that their sons, and daughters too shall Prophesy,” noting Acts 2:17 in the margin for good measure.8  He also turns the affective capacities so frequently associated with women in ways that Cressy finds valuable but Stillingfleet finds problematic back into an asset, including a defense (albeit one somewhat backhanded by modern sensibilities) of women's spiritual capabilities.  O. N. states, "[S]imple people, who are less nimble and subtle in their notions, and women, who are commonly stronger, and more tender in their Passions, by this way, which they can chiefly take, arrive many times to a greater degree of the Love of, and Vnion with, God, then persons of greater learning or witt, because, these are more apt to take the former way of speculation, and to vse their brain more, then the heart" (87-88).  Furthermore, the lives of medieval female mystics that Stillingfleet uses to reveal what he sees as the fanaticism and impossible contradictions of Catholicism are for O. N. evidence of the rigorous strictness with which the Catholic Church examines claims of "supernatural favours and extraordinary celestiall communications" (22).  To illustrate this point, he chooses the example of St. Theresa, saying, "I much recommend…the perusal of the life of S. Teresa" in which one can observe "the great diligence that Was vsed, for severall years in the Triall of the Spirit of that most Holy Virgin."  He continues by noting that the "33 Observations made by a Confessor of her in Approbation thereof" provide evidence of that her "works" are "approved by the most eminent persons for learning & Sanctity that were in her Age" (23).

Catholicism is for Stillingfleet a feminized inheritance, a corrupt bequest carried from the ignorant past into the deluded present through a female line, transmitted in debased vernacular by such women as "mother" Juliana.  O. N. transforms that inheritance and its means of transmission, regendering Catholicism and the language of its medieval texts as predominantly masculine and positioning holy women as well as their texts in a safely contained, carefully controlled position.  The maternal ("mother Juliana")  is made acceptable by the dominant presence of the paternal, as O. N. introduces a long list of Church Fathers and male English saintly ancestors into the picture.  Much as the lives of female medieval mystics are vouchsafed by the close supervision and approbation of male ecclesiastical authorities—as O. N. illustrates with reference to the case of St. Theresa—so too mystical experience itself as a form of devotion becomes safe because it is portrayed not purely as a realm of potentially hysterical femininity, but rather as a spiritual practice securely grounded in "more ancient and Primitive times" (5-6).  This legacy is then passed from those times to the English Middle Ages, and then to the English present, by a saintly male visionary genealogy.  O. N. writes, "Whereof he who doubts may read the relation S. Dionysus Areopage makes of St. Carpus: The life of S. Antony written by S. Athanasius, the reading of which was partly a cause of the conversion of S. Austin" (6).  He continues by calling the reader's attention to the lives of S. Benedict by S. Gregory: of our English  Saints by S. Bede; not long after the general conversion of England: Of S. Malachias by S. Bernard, his intimate acquaintance: and again of S. Bernard, by some Abbots, his familiar Friends: of S. Francis by S. Bonaventure, who lived immediately after his time.  I descend no further to later times, because, possibly, they may have with Protestants lesse credit" (6-7).  Similarly, when discussing "supernaturall and extraordinary Grace" (48), O. N. takes 15 pages to "sett down some passages I have met with in the Fathers" (48) on this topic.

O. N. also counters the gendered dimensions of the problems of language that Stillingfleet raises.  While Stillingfleet criticizes Catholics for depriving readers of vernacular Scripture, instead attempting to satisfy them with the Middle English writings of such women as Julian of Norwich, O. N. reunites the language of vernacular mystical texts with the language of the Scriptures.  He observes, "If then the language of our Mysticall Divines savours of Fanaticism, I see not how severall passages in the Scripture do not run the same risk" (17).  Then, significantly, he proceeds to give a long list of Scriptural passages, a list in which I find close correspondence thematically and linguistically with the very list of passages from Julian of Norwich's revelations that Stillingfleet incorporates as evidence of her fanaticism.  The result is that Middle English, Julian of Norwich's language, is not a debased and fantastical mother tongue but rather is aligned with the masculine divine Word of Scripture.  

It is taken me some time to get to Chaucer, but I want to turn at last to O. N.'s invocation of Chaucer as the culmination of his effort to legitimate Middle English devotional texts and the Catholic practices such writings carry into the seventeenth century.  O. N. has masculinizes and Anglicizes visionary experience, and he brings mystical texts and Scripture together.  Finally, in response to Stillingfleet's claim that if the "sixteen Revelations of Mother Juliana" (Discourse 341) "be not new and Strange, I think none ever ought to be accounted so (Discourse 342), O. N. argues, in what is very nearly his last word (only a page of the book remains), that if the Revelations are new and strange, if they contain anything that "will amount to Heresy," if Julian's "Old English…be Fanaticism," then "let Chaucer also look to himself" (112).  Such an invocation of Chaucer might seem a fairly odd choice for a seventeenth-century Catholic writer to make.  In the early modern period, Chaucer was strongly associated with proto-Protestantism.  The dominant reception of Chaucer was as a Wycliffite sympathizer and proto-Protestant, as a figure that provided significant symbolic resources for Protestant propagandists following the break with Rome as they sought to create a legacy for the reformed, non-Roman church as the authentically English true church.  Recall, for instance, that John Foxe, in his Acts and Monuments, calls Chaucer a “right Wiclevian,” and Speght promoted this interpretation of Chaucer (see Krier, Refiguring Chaucer, 45).  

What O. N. does with Chaucer is, though, very like what Dryden does with Chaucer in his Fables, published not so many years after the Stillingfleet controversy and after Dryden's conversion to Roman Catholicism. In the Preface to the Fables, Dryden acknowledges the dominant interpretation of Chaucer in his period, writing of Chaucer’s supposed Lollard proclivities. Dryden states, “As for the Religion of our Poet, he seems to have some little Byas toward the Opinions of Wickliff” (35).10  Dryden, though, excuses this tendency by attributing it in part to Chaucer’s loyalty to his patron John of Gaunt, who was considered to have Wycliffite sympathies.  Dryden then also reframes Chaucer not as a Proto-Protestant but as a Catholic, English writer on the side of orthodoxy and true religion—perhaps even a quasi-saint.  Dryden states, “Yet I cannot blame him for inveighing so sharply against the Vices of the Clergy in his Age….  For the Scandal which is given by particular Priests, reflects not on the Sacred Function….  A Satyrical Poet is the Check of the Laymen, on bad Priests” (35).  Dryden's Chaucer, famously dubbed in the Fables the "father of English poetry," is, like O. N.'s Chaucer, the Catholic alternative to Wycliffite Chaucer.  This orthodox Catholic Chaucer is an illustrious male progenitor who passes on the inheritance of a "pre-lapsarian" –that is, pre-Protestant—idealized medieval England of Catholic devotion and Catholic writers.  Furthermore, he serves to combat negative Protestant associations of the Catholic with the feminine, associations with which Dryden, like O.N., found himself forced to do battle after his conversion, since Dryden’s opponents frequently drew upon his Catholicism in effeminizing him in satirical writings.11 
Strikingly, I would point out in closing that Dryden in the Fables embraces a version of historical recursivity and incarnational textuality much like those which Cressy outlines in the his edition of Julian's Revelations.  In “To Her Grace the Duchess of Ormond,” which is included as one of the dedicatory poems in the Fables, Dryden sets up, as several critics have noted, a system of equivalencies in which the Duchess of Ormond doubles the ”Fair Maid of Kent”—that is, Joan, countess of Kent and Princess of Wales—and Dryden doubles Chaucer.  Dryden posits that, since as a poet he knows another poet’s mind, he can infer that Joan of Kent may well have inspired Chaucer to create Emily of the Knight’s Tale, the translation of which follows this poem in the Fables.  Dryden writes:
    If Chaucer by the best Idea wrought
And Poets can divine each others Thought
The fairest Nymph before his Eyes he set;
And then the fairest was Plantagenet (11-14).
He then suggests that the Duchess is, in effect, the reincarnation of Joan of Kent. Using the idea of the Platonic year to indicate a recursive cycle, he says, “Thus after length of Ages, she returns, / Restord in you and the same Place adorns” (26-27).  He continues to hail her as "true Plantagenet, O Race divine" (30), and he posits that, even as he is inspired to write poetry by the duchess of Ormond's beauty, so Chaucer would have been likewise inspired:  "Had Chaucer liv'd that Angel-Face to view, / Sure he had drawn his Emily from You" (32-33).  Much as Lady Mary Blount can in a sense re-embody Julian, can re-live her experiences and make the past present in her present moment, so too the duchess of Ormond can make the Fair Maid of Kent present and Dryden can make Chaucer present, can re-incarnate Chaucer through his poetic enterprise.  As Greg Clingham notes, Dryden’s process of textual production aligns with the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.  Clingham writes, “the transference and bodily presence that Catholicism stresses in the Eucharist, is close to both the spirit and the letter of Dryden’s procedure as a translator….  Metonymically, the presence of the Holy Spirit (the fire essential in the process of translation) in the Eucharist, linking the celebrant with the universal church back to Christ (the Logos), is acknowledged and recreated in the translator’s containment of the genius of the Other” (149-150).  Because Dryden can “divine” the thoughts of Chaucer (as he says, “And Poets can divine each others Thought”), the divinity of Chaucer lives again, is present again, and present in authentic, orthodox form, in the Fables.  For both Cressy and Dryden, medieval texts have the power to reanimate the past in the present.  For both O.N. and Dryden, Chaucer legitimates that living past in the present serving as a stabilizing and authorizing father figure who gives the English mother tongue sacred, orthodox power.

1  See Jennifer Summit, “From Anchorhold to Closet: Julian of Norwich in 1670 and the Immanence of the Past,” in Julian of Norwich’s Legacy: Medieval Mysticism and Poet-Medieval Reception, ed. Sarah Salih and Denise N. Baker (New York: Palgrave, 2009), 32.
2  This is a dynamic that, I have argued elsewhere, also emerges in writings of Margaret Gascoigne, in which through reading Julian's text she re-incarnates Julian's experience of the divine. Recall too the evocative lines from the end of Julian's revelations that "this boke is begonne by Goddes gifte and his grace, but it is not yet performed" (The Writings of Julian of Norwich: A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman and A Revelation of Love, ed. Nicholas Watson and Jacqueline Jenkins [University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006], 379; unless otherwise noted, I cite Julian’s writings, Cressy’s edition, and Stillingfleet’s Discourse from the selections included in this text).
3  In his epistle to the reader too Cressy highlights the affective dimension of textual encounter and the performance of past experience in the reader's present enabled by reading.  He writes, "And now, since she her self professes, that the Lights and Torches which God was pleased to give her, were intended not for her self alone, but for the Universality of God's true Servants, for whose benefit also she wrote them, the Devout Reader will, I hope, think himself obliged not to content himself with a fruitless admiring, but will, after her example, aspire to alike affectuous operative Comtemplation of the meer Nothingness of Creatures, of the inconceivable ugliness of Sin, of the infinite tenderness and indefectibility of God's Love to his Elect, and of the Omnipotency of Divine Grace working in them" (Watson and Jenkins 451).  
4  Edward Stillingfleet, Discourse Concerning the Idolatry Practised in the Church of Rome (London, 1671), 340; accessed via Early English Books Online.  Similarly, in his chapter "Of the Fanatics of the Roman Church," Stillingfleet highlights both St. Birgitta of Sweden and St. Catherine of Siena before he trains his sights on Julian.  As evidence of Catholic fanaticism, he cites "Of the Revelations pleaded for the immaculate Conception.  The Revelations of S. Brigitt and S. Catharin directly contrary in this point, yet both owned in the Church of Rome.  The large approbations of S. Brigitts by Popes and Councils; and both their revelations acknowledged to be divine in the lessons read upon their dayes.  S. Catharines wonderful faculty of smelling souls…." (Watson and Jenkins 451).  
5  William Guild, Anti-Christ pointed and painted out… (Aberdeen, 1655), Wing / G2203, 162; accessed via Early English Books Online.  Walter Pope, “The Catholick Ballad: or an Invitation to Popery on Considerable Grounds and Reasons” (London, 1674), Wing / P2906; accessed via Early English Books Online.
6  John Oldham, The Works of Mr. John Oldham, together with his Remains (London, 1684), Wing / O225; accessed via Early English Books Online.  An especially interesting later-seventeenth-century negative reference to medieval female spirituality mobilized to impugn Catholicism appears in Edward Fowler’s A Friendly Conference between a Minister and a Parishioner of his, Inclining to Quakerism (1676). In this text, which brings the language of fanaticism into play, Fowler ridicules the Quakers as heirs to the sort of Catholic falsity and superstition embodied by St. Birgitta and her “miraculous inspirations.”  He writes, “That the spirit helpeth us to understand old truths already revealed in Scripture, we confess and pray for his assistance therein, but to pretend to such miraculous inspirations as the Apostles once had, or to new revelations beyond what was discover’d to them, is a horrible cheat set up at first by St. Francis and St. Bridget, and some other Fanatical Friers and Nuns of the Romish Church, whose steps the Quakers now do follow” (Edward Fowler,  A Friendly Conference between a Minister and a Parishioner of His, Inclining to Quakerism (London, 1676), 103, Wing / F1706; accessed via Early English Books Online).
7  Wing attributes this text to Abraham Woodhead, while NUC actually attributes it in pre-1956 imprints to Cressy himself
8  The Roman Church’s Devotions Vindicated From Doctor Stillingfleet’s Mis-Representation, by O. N. a Catholick (n.p. 1672).
9  In a longer version of this piece, I examine the correspondences in greater detail, but just to give you a snapshot, consider Stillingfleet's progression from passages of Julian's revelations dealing with knowledge of God to “oneing” with God to the souls' enclosure within God to Jesus’s sitting in our soul.  Compare O. N.'s progression through Scriptural passages focusing on "attaining a knowledge of the love of Christ" to the passage from 2 Corinthians that states, "He that is joyned to the Lord is one Spirit;” O. N. continues, "The Kingdome of God not coming with observation from abroad, but within Vs.  If any man love me, my Father and I will come Vnto him, and make one habitation with him.  The Father in Christ and Christ in Vs, that we may be consummate in one" (18).
10  All passages from Dryden are taken from The Works of John Dryden, vol. 7, ed. Vinton A. Dearing (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000).
11  The process of setting up literary genealogies, genealogies in which Chaucer occupies the originary role as "Father of English Poetry" (33), centrally occupies Dryden in the Preface.  As is well known, Dryden writes:
[W]e have our Lineal Descents and Clans, as well as other Families:
Spencer more than once insinuates, that the Soul of Chaucer was transfus'd
Into his Body; and that he was begotten by him Two hundred years after his
Decease.  Milton has acknowledg'd to me, that Spencer was his Original. (25)

hough Satan breaks our dark glass into shards
Each shard still shines with Christ’s reflected light,
It glances from the eyes, kindles the words
Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright
With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed,
The witness of the ones we shunned and shamed.
Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing
He weaves them with us in the web of being
They stand beside us even as we grieve,
The lone and left behind whom no one claimed,
Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above
The shadow of the gibbet and the grave,
To triumph where all saints are known and named;
The gathered glories of His wounded love.

Rev Malcolm Guite



Bradford Manderfield  Monica Winter Nancy Bradley Warren
Janna Gosselin Juliana Dresvina  Stefan Reynolds Nicholas Winter Rev Nicola Winter
Santha Bhattacharji        Rev Malcom Guite  Gabriella Del Lungo Sr Julia Bolton Holloway Jeongho Yang  Richard Norton  Marie Hyland

ulian of Norwich became popular not only in academia, but also in non-scholarly readership. Because Julian’s integrity of passion and compassion provides messages of hope and healing, Julian’s spirituality fascinates not only scholars and theologians, but also ordinary readers. That is to say, Julian’s Showing of Love provides the source of spiritual care-giving and healing. In addition, her theological concepts of the “passion (parallels to han)” and the “compassion (parallels to jeong or jeong-han)” embody the wisdom of spiritual care-giving and healing.

This study presents hermeneutical dynamics by reading Julian’s text in terms of the “spirituality of suffering” and the “theology of remaining”, or surviving. Especially, in Transfiguring Loss, Jane Frances Maynard explores Julian’s spirituality as well as theology in terms of “transfiguring loss.” Considering Julian of Norwich as a woman who lost her own family to the plague, Maynard discusses Julian’s contributions to theology and spirituality, which provide guidance for survivors of traumatic loss; such as September 11, the Tsunami, and AIDS. Thus, Julian’s text is a resource for trauma studies.

Concerning Julian’s participation in her historical context, Shelly Rambo, the author of Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining, highlights one moment of Julian’s participation, focusing on the Despenser Crusade of 1383 in terms of “her engagement with issues of empire in her time.” This notion of balance between text and context as participation in worldly interaction is important in understanding Julian’s life as an anchoress, as well as her theological integrity, because her life in the anchorhold was not regarded as escaping from the secular life.

Rambo describes the importance of the context of Julian’s theology in terms of historical event of the Crusade of 1383, led disastrously by Julian's Bishop of Norwich, Henry le Despenser, who in 1281 had brutally suppressed the Peasants’ Revolt. As we discuss Julian’s theological integrity from the perspective of balance between text and context, we have to consider the historical background; because without that context, we might lose what we could see as the author’s intention and meaning. When we focus on peace and rest in the context of the wounded soldiers from the Crusade, we are able to say that God’s aim was to heal the city as well as souls. In this sense, we, too, can find whom we should care for in terms of healing in the context of reading the text. In this particular paper, the context of trauma and healing of Korean comfort women will be presented.

n order to reinterpret Julian’s theology of passion and compassion in the context of Korean women’s han and jeong, it is necessary to make a bridge between 14-15th century England and 20th-21st century Korea in the first place. There is more than 1500 years of time gap, on the one hand. On the other hand, there is a cultural difference between Western Christian Culture and multi-religious Korean culture. However, Jane F. Maynard’s work shows well how to build the bridge between the two different times in her Transfiguring Loss: Julian of Norwich as a Guide for Survivors of Traumatic Grief.1 She explores Julian of Norwich’s theology and spirituality in the context of those who suffer from grief and loss, especially from AIDS today. Even though the chronological and geographical factors are quite different, there is something common between the two. As Maynard juxtaposes the Black Death with AIDS in order to apply Julian’s theology to those who suffer from the perspective of pastoral counseling, I suggest comparing Julian’s time with 20th century Korea in terms of ‘an age of anxiety’2 in order to bring Julian into Korean context and introduce Julian to Korean women in the field of history, and vice versa.

Between the 14th century and the 20th century there are phenomenal parallels. 14th century England experienced the tremendous upheavals such as plague, war, and revolt. As some historians argue, the 14th century suffered many tragedies and losses. For instance, Barbara W. Tuchman suggests the list of 14th century tragedies as following: “plague, war, taxes, brigandage, bad government, insurrection, and church schism.”
3 And, after he compared the aftermaths of the Black death and of World War I, James Westfall Thomson made a longer list of tragedies in terms of common complaints: “economic chaos, social unrest, high prices, profiteering, depraved morals, lack of production, industrial indolence, frenetic gaiety, wild expenditure, luxury, debauchery, social and religious hysteria, greed, avarice, maladministration, decay of manners.”4 The 14th century was one of the calamitous centuries in history, as much as 20th century was.

The age of the significance of human sufferings might not be good enough to name it with one word. However, Joan M. Nuth titles the 14th century as ‘the age of anxiety’ in her book, God’s Lovers in An Age of Anxiety: The Medieval English Mystics.
5 20th Century Korea was the age of anxiety as much as 14th century England. Notably, some American missionaries who visited Korea in 1909 mentioned “the time of anxiety” in their reports.6 The anxiety became overwhelming after the year of 1910, when Japan began to colonize Korean peninsula, where Korean people, as the colonized, experienced a turbulent history in the early 20th century. By the term of ‘traumatic history,’ historical and cultural factors rather than psychological factor can be discussed. Therefore, in this historical framework a woman’s lifetime story can be the testimony of the traumatic history.

In order to explore the two contexts from the perspective of cross-cultural concern, we overview fourteenth century medieval England and twentieth and twenty-first century Korea for the purpose of understanding the problem of suffering in each context, naming “age of anxiety.” In doing so, Julian’s theology of passion and compassion can make room for considering theological ideas of han and jeong in the context of Korean history, culture, and spirituality. Julian’s theological ideas of passion and compassion as well as spirituality of suffering can support theological ideas of han and jeong.

ulian of Norwich’s passion and compassion are the main themes of the Showing of Love.
7 For Julian “passion”8 seems the feeling of pain and the suffering body of Christ, whereas compassion indicates the feeling of compassion and “to suffer with.” While Julian elaborated “what she saw,” she integrated passion and compassion in terms of passionate love and compassionate love; passionate love seems to signify “love beyond pain9 between lovers, and compassionate love seems to be “motherly love.” The notion of compassion can be investigated through the compassion of Jesus, the compassion of Mother Mary, compassion of Trinity, and Julian’s own compassion for her “even-christian.”
Passion in Julian’s Showing of Love is one of the key notions to construct her theology, because Julian combined the feeling of pain, joy, and bliss with the salvific work of Jesus Christ on the cross in her theological idea of passion. For Julian, the passion of Christ was understood as love, as the supreme manifestation of the love of God.
10 As Grace Jantzen points out, the notion of passion is important in understanding Julian’s theology, since Julian’s theological investigation started from and was centered in the passion of Christ as it had been given to her in her own experience of bodily suffering.11 Julian’s theology of passion can best be understood when we explore the fact that Julian, in her youth, had desired from God three special graces.

The three special graces seem to be mutually related to the bodily suffering and passion. Julian wrote, “This creature had previously desired three gifts from God: the first was a mind full of his Passion; the second was bodily sickness in youth, at thirty years of age; the third was to have by God’s gift three wounds.”
12 The first grace is to see the Passion of Jesus Christ. The second grace is to experience passion as Jesus Christ did, and the third grace is to have the evidence of passion in her body. Therefore, the three graces can be rendered into the connection between the suffering body of Jesus Christ and the suffering body of Julian herself in terms of “passionate love,” which involves intense feelings. Through the three special graces Julian internalized the Passion of Christ within her body and made the Passion of Christ a personal event of her own. According to Sr Anna Maria Reynolds, “First and foremost the anchoress learned that Christ has suffered and died for her personally.”13 Julian used her own experience of suffering to connect with His suffering and His love.

In the meanwhile, many Korean feminist theologians have been doing their theologies in the context of women’s suffering and from their own suffering experiences. For feminist theologians, the way in which they respond to the problem of suffering plays an important role in their doing theology, especially Christology. Even if Christian tradition has claimed that Jesus’ suffering or Passion of Christ was a representative of both suffering and love, some feminist theologians criticize the link. However, from the perspective of redemptive suffering, the notion of love and the notion of suffering are interconnected. The issue here is how to handle both suffering and love with care in order not to justify women’s suffering. Indeed, Korean feminist theologians have tried to construct the notion of redemptive suffering through the theology of han and jeong. Korean feminist theologians, Anne Joh and Chung Hyung Kyung elaborate the problem of suffering with the notion of jeong as well as han.

Han is well known Korean feeling. Han (한) is a Korean word, which expresses a deep feeling that rises out of the unjust experience of the people. According to Chung Hyun Kyung, han is not only “the most prevalent feeling among Korean people,” but also “physical and psychological suffering by the oppressor.” Those who have han have long lost their voices by physical and psychological suffering by the oppressor. Even more, han is related to powerlessness in social dimension. From the perspective of redemptive suffering, Chung regards han as “the desire to make things right,” which is expressed as resisting power against oppressive system and suffering. In other words, han is a collective as well as an individual feeling and experience which is formed through history in the process of suffering. Within the notion of han, suffering is an object which should be stopped.

Whereas Chung develops the notion of han, Anne Wonhee Joh develops the notion of jeong. While Chung explains the notion of han, she regards the relation between han and salvation. Han is also the object of the salvation, in that the salvific work of Christ resolves han. Therefore, it is quite right when Anne Wonhee Joh juxtaposes sin to han, and salvation to jeong. She asserts “the theological articulation of han and the ensuing discussion of jeong are crucial to understanding the possible power of jeong in overcoming han.” When she states that power of jeong could overcome han, it seems that she suggests jeong as love, which covers a multitudes of sins.

Jeong is derived from the notion of sticking together or relationship within Korean people. It is not the same as love and compassion alone. Jeong is similar to love, compassion, and eros. But it is not exactly the same. Seemingly, jeong compromises all the three. Jeong connotes agape, eros, and filial love with the compassion, empathy, solidarity, and understanding that emerges between connected hearts. Jeong is the power of eros that forges its presence in the interval between Self and the Other. Jeong is a supplement that comes into the interstitial site of relationality. The most important factor in jeong is relationship and mutuality. When Joh explains jeong, she emphasizes jeong as the power of eros. For example, Korean people overcame the financial crisis of 1997-98, practicing their jeong. I believe that many Korea people donated their gold to the government for the purpose of resolving the economic crisis because of jeong. Even though compassion is not the same with jeong, compassion can explain what jeong is. 

Compassion in Showing of Love is the other key notion to construct Julian’s theology of emotion. Julian’s theological idea of compassion is also undeniably related to Christian identity and women’s subjectivity. When it comes to women’s subjectivity we discuss it under the light of women’s experience and women’s feeling, because compassion is the sign of a “true Sponsa Christi,”14 a true bride of Christ. According to Sarah McNamer, “the yearning to feel Christ’s pain is easily assimilated to the longing of a lover.”15 Further, “Marriage to Christ requires marital affection, and because Christ endured the passion for love of his sponsa, marital affection demands compassion.”16

Compassion is also “feeling like a women”17 from the perspective of affective meditation and medieval compassion. As the etymological analysis shows18, the feeling of compassion is inseparable from the woman’s body, womb or matrix in Latin. In order to develop her notion of compassion as “feeling like a woman” Sarah McNamer presented the episode of the infant Christ’s circumcision. Then, she wrote, “Compassionate feeling is not presented as a natural human response, the kind of response that any human being has or ought to have at the sight of another human being’s pain. It is resolutely represented as a mother’s response.”19 Indeed, Julian described the compassion of Mother Mary. From the fact that Julian considers the compassion of Mother Mary in order to show “feeling like a woman,” especially feeling like a mother, it is necessary to explore the compassion of Jesus as Mother as well as the compassion of Mother Mary.

Julian’s theology of passion and compassion can best be comprehended when we investigate the three wounds and the three special graces, which Julian had desired from God. The three wounds are also mutually related to both the salvation and compassion.
As to the third, by the grace of God and teaching of holy Church, I conceived a mighty desire to receive three wounds in my life: that is to say, the wound of very contrition, the wound of kind compassion, and the wound of willful longing to God. And all this last petition I made without any condition. The first two of these aforesaid desires passed from my mind, and the third dwelled with me continually.20(the second chapter)
The first wound is “the wounds of true contrition,” the second wound is “the wounds of natural compassion,” and the third wound is “the wounds of longing to God.” Three wounds represent not just three aspects of her Christian life or three wounds as the grace of God. Even more, Julian used the notions of the contrition, compassion, and longing for God in the context of salvation, saying:
By contrition we are made clean, by compassion we are made ready, and by true longing to God we are made worthy. These are three means, as I understand, by which all souls come to heaven – that is to say, that have been sinners on earth and shall be saved – for by these medicines it behoves every soul be healed.21(the thirty-ninth chapter)
Through the three wounds Julian elaborated three developmental stages of Christian life in terms of spirituality of suffering.

When it comes to Korean women’s spirituality, both han and jeong are the crucial elements, as if passion and compassion are the key notions for Julian’s spirituality. From the suffering experience they have Korean women have compassion to others. If Chung described Jesus as co-sufferer, Joh described Jesus as “wounded healer.”22 The wounded healer can encompass sufferer with compassion, love, and eros. The image of Jesus as wounded healer is exactly the same image of Korean women who have both han and jeong. Within the context of Korean comfort women, we can understand the notion of the relationship between han and jeong from the perspective of Julian’s theological idea of passion and compassion on a deeper level.

n understanding Korean comfort women’s han and jeong, it is necessary to review one of the definitions of han. In the Dictionary of Feminist Theology, Kang Nam-Soon defines han as the following:
Han is a Korean word expression a deep feeling that rises out of the unjust experience of the people... It is often said that han is the underlying feeling of Korean people who have suffered from numerous invasions from surrounding powerful nations and have continually suffered the tyranny of their rulers.23
In order to explore Korean comfort women’s han, at least two things should be considered from the definition above. Firstly, it is necessary to understand han is not suffering itself but emotion and trauma formed through suffering. With the definition, one can understand the fact that even if the World War II was ended about 60 years ago, the survivors still suffer from the trauma. Secondly, it is necessary to understand that han is formed through suffering, especially suffering from invasions of powerful nations. When “suffering from invasions of powerful nations” is focused, Korean comfort women’s lives represent han more than anything else, because their sufferings have been derived from Japanese invasion and colonization. In other words, Korean comfort women’s han is derived from others’ sin and the guilty feeling of sin from others' sin. At this point, the notion of sin makes a bridge between Korean comfort women’s jeong and Julian’s notion of love and compassion, which “shall cover the multitude of sins.”24 Without the recognition of “suffering from others’ sin” one can falsely assert that “comfort women were in fact prostitutes plying their trade voluntarily in the war zone,”25 as if anti-apology activists in Japan do.

Korean comfort women’s han shows its real meaning through their recent activities, in that their han is expressed as resistance. After the year of 1994 and till now, comfort women have raised their voices for their dignity. The survivors are witnessing “to defend human rights and the dignity of the survivors of comfort stations and to prevent the recurrence of violence targeting girls and women during armed conflicts.”26 April 28th, 2007 a comfort station survivor testimonies “War Crimes against Humanity: Systematic Sexual Exploitation of Young Girls by Japanese Imperial Forces” at Kennedy School of Harvard University.27 Here is her voice:
When I resisted the rape by Japanese soldiers, my legs were severely damaged. Though my legs were bleeding, I didn’t feel the pain and begged them to let me live. But the Japanese soldiers tortured me with electric shocks. I can still remember calling out for my mother in fear… The Japanese may hope that a living witness as myself will die, but this will not be solved until there is an official apology and legal compensation from Japan.28
The testimony shows that she is struggling for “an official apology” and “legal compensation” from Japan. According to Lisa Isherwood, the survivor is struggling to “make things right.”29 When han is described as the desire to make thing rights, it can also be a resisting power against oppressive system and suffering. While han is a resisting power and energy, it is paralleled by Carol Christ’s notion of “anger as transforming energy.”30 However, we encounter the problem, again: whereas han or anger plays a role as the transforming energy, what can transform or transfigure han and anger itself? In other words, when han makes things right what can heal the trauma of history? When Julian’s notion of compassion and Korean women’s jeong can be considered at the same time, we can say that the healing or restoration is closely related the notion of salvation. While han collocates with sin, jeong with salvation. It is reasonable that Anne Wonhee Joh juxtaposed sin to han, and salvation to jeong.31 She asserted, “the theological articulation of han and the ensuing discussion of jeong are crucial to understanding the possible power of jeong in overcoming han.”32 Korean people regard other person’s suffering as their own suffering because of jeong, and then jeong makes people work together to overcome the suffering in terms of solidarity.

The most important factor of jeong is relationship and mutuality. From the perspective of jeong, enemy can also be an object of relationship. Once enemies confess their sins, they can be forgiven and then become friends. As survivors speak, all they want is “to receive clear apologies.”33 A survivor’s voice echoes the issues on relationality and mutuality, which should be based on the clear apologies:
If I were to speak to the Japanese government, there is only one question I would ask: Is it right to ignore me like this as if they did nothing to me? Are they justified after trampling an innocent and fragile teenage girl and making her suffer for the rest of her life? How would you feel if your own daughter met the same fate as mine? This should never happen again in this world. I hope the Japanese people will also join mankind’s march for justice and peace.34  
As the survivor says, the traumatic history should never happen again. Therefore, mutuality and relationality should be taken into consideration in the first place. When everyone realizes that he or she has the possibility and probability to have the same terrible experience, mutuality can show its meaning, making room for compassion and jeong. With this deep cognition of mutuality, jeong can be practiced. In the survivors’ eyes, mutuality can be actualized when apology comes first and forgiveness will follow. After then, the dreams of justice and peace will be come true. As Martin Luther King dreamed that “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers,”35 she dreams that the Korean and the Japanese will able to join hands as sisters and brothers and also join march for justice and peace.

he Korean emotions of han and jeong are key notions in doing Korean theology, which is parallel to Julian of Norwich’s passion and compassion. I juxtaposed 14th century England to 20th century Korea in terms of traumatic history, in that those two eras have a similar experience of anxieties. Because of the traumatic history, Korean comfort women have han in their hearts. However, because of this very han, they also have jeong at the same time. With the notion of compassion alone it is hard to explain Julian’s notion of love, and vice versa. Just as the notions of passion and compassion make it possible to apply Julian’s theology of love into the traumatic history of the context of the wounded soldiers from the Crusade of 1383, so han, together with jeong, can more effectively explain the way in which Korean comfort women respond to their trauma of history in terms of the spirituality of suffering. At this point, I suggest jeong as jeong-han; because Julian’s notion of passion and compassion led light on the relationship between han and jeong.

Even though suffering is not good in some sense, Korean women know what suffering is, because they have experienced it. From here they get to know how to respond it, or how to help others, who are suffering, and how to work together in resisting against those who commit sins that cause the suffering. In this way, the image of Jesus as a wounded healer is similar to the image of Korean women who have both han and jeong. While we apply Julian’s theology of love in the context of Korean comfort women, we prove that Julian’s love and jeong can be best understood from the relationship between “passion and compassion,” and “han and jeong-han.” In the context of Korean comfort women, we can say that jeong-han can heal another’s han.

Now, Julian’s notion of oneing is quite useful to explain the notion of jeong-han. Julian experienced oneing through her own physical suffering or illness. She participated with the passion of Christ, and Jesus participates with her physical suffering. In other words, Julian experienced salvation through her suffering, and she experiences profound identification with it. Through the profound identification she finds compassion. The image of the word oneing seem to be identical with that of “sticky,” which is another dimension of jeong-han. Joh explains the “sticky” as follows:
Even as jeong is acknowledged as a powerful way by which Koreans understand their relationship with one another, often it has been feminized, domesticated, spiritualized, trivialized, or psychologized and viewed as the “sticky” element of relationality not fit for the “rational” thinking man.
Her explanation of “sticky” shows the relationship of self and others, which is parallel to Julian’s notion of oneing. With the notion of “skicky” and “oneing,” the meaning of compassion can also be explained from the perspective of relationship.

As Julian explained, compassion is “to be with” and “to suffer with,” so much as jeong-han is. Matthew's Gospel says, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us,”36 which is expressed as “incarnation” with the theological term. Paul’s teaching of “Rejoice with them that do rejoice; and weep with them that weep”37 is the best example of practicing love and practicing jeong-han in terms of the spirituality of suffering. As the Gospels teach and Julian showed, love is to be with and to suffer with, so much as jeong-han is. The reason “to suffer with” can be love and jeong-han is that the suffering is not the problem of why, but the problem of how for Korean women.

The approach to the problem of suffering is familiar to that of Korean women. In order to understand Korean women’s way of thinking on the problem of suffering, it is necessary to understand the problem of suffering in Buddhism, because Korean culture has been deeply influenced from Buddhism. From the Buddhist perspective suffering is not caused by evil. This is a critical difference between the so-called monotheistic religions and Buddhism. While monotheistic theologians ask why questions, Buddhists ask how questions. If we do not want to suffer from anything, there is only one solution. That is to commit suicide, and it is not a solution. Therefore, in order to live a happy life people should focus on the matter of stopping suffering. At this moment and place of love for life and of hope for life, han and jeong-han are created. With the expression of Julian, one should have a hope for life with the hope of “all shall be well.”

1 Jane F. Maynard, Transfiguring Loss: Julian of Norwich as a Guide for Survivors of Traumatic Grief (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2007). 
2 Joan M. Nuth, God’s Lovers in An Age of Anxiety (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis books, 2001), 26.
3 Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978), xiii.
4 James Westfall Thompson, “The Aftermath of Black Death and the Aftermath of the Great War,” American Journal of Sociology 26.5 (March 1921), 565-572.
5 Joan M. Nuth, God’s Lovers in An Age of Anxiety (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis book, 2001), 26.
6 Arthur Judson Brown, Report on a second visit to China, Japan and Korea 1909; with a discussion of some problems of mission work (New York: The Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A, 1909), 23.
7 In this study we will present both Middle English and Modern English translation. All the Middle English will be quoted from Paris Manuscript of Showing of Love in SISMEL edition; Julian of Norwich, Showing of Love: Extant Texts and Translation, ed and trans. Anna Maria Reynolds. C.P. and Julia Bolton Holloway (Firenze, Italy: SISMEL, 2001). Modern English translation will be quoted from Dutton’s Edition: Julian of Norwich, A Revelation of Love, ed. and trans. Elisabeth M. Dutton (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008). While we present both the languages, Modern English translation will be placed in the body whereas Middle English will appear in the footnote with the pagination from Paris Manuscript.
8 For Evagrius Ponticus, John Cassian, and the Egyptian heritage, “passion” appeared as the very negative view of “passions.” According to Simo Knuuttila, “In Evagrius the perfect apatheia is not the same as refraining from assenting to tempting thought. It is a state of having no sinful thoughts either awake or asleep and also involves a deconstruction of one’s emotional memories.” Concerning emotion and Christian perfection, see Simo Knuuttila, Emotions in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 111-76. However, Julian regarded passion as a virtue as well as a gift from God.
9 The expression of “love beyond pain” is borrowed from Frederick Sontag’s Love Beyond Pain: Mysticism within Christianity. See, Sontag, Love Beyond Pain, 123.
10 Grace Jantzen, Julian of Norwich: Mystic and Theologian (New York: Paulist Press, 2000), 91.
11 Jantzen, Julian of Norwich, 90.
12 “which creature deòyred before thre gyftes by the grace of god. The firòt was mynd of the paòòion. The òecund was bodily òicknes. The thurde was to haue of godes gyfte thre woundys,” Prologue ii. 3.
13 Reynolds, “The Passion in Julian of Norwich,”
14 Sarah McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion (Philadelphia, University Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 25.
15 McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, 32.
16 McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, 52.
17 McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, 119.
18 With the etymological analysis Andrew Purves and Marcus Borg discuss the relationship between compassion and women’s subjectivity. The Hebrew word for compassion is rachamim. Rachamim describes a powerful emotion of deep concern for the good of others. Rachamim is derived from another Hebrew word, rechem, which means womb. Andrew Purves explains, “The literal meaning of compassion, then, is the womb pained in solidarity with the suffering of another” whereas Borg writes, “It has particularly rich resonances in Hebrew and Aramaic, where it is the plural of a noun “womb.” Thus “compassionate” bore the connotations of “wombishness”: nourishing, giving life, embracing; perhaps it also suggested feelings of tenderness.” See Andrew Purves, The Search for Compassion: Spirituality and Ministry (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1989), 69. See also, Marcus J. Borg, Jesus A New Vision: Spirit, Culture, and the Life of Discipleship (San Francisco: HarperOne, 1991), 102.
19 McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, 133.
20 “for the third by the grace of god and teeching of holie church I conceiued a mightie Deòyre to receive thre wound of verie contricion the wound of kind compaòòion and the wound of willfull longing to god. Right as I aòked the other twayne wt a condicion òo aòked I this third mightly wtout anie condicion theòe twayne Deòyres before òayd paòòid from my mynd and the third dwelled continually.” Prologue ii. 4v-5.
21 “by contryòion we be made clene by compaòòion we be made redy . And by tru longyng to god we be made wurthy  theyòe be thre menys as I vnderòtode wher by that alle òoules com to hevyn that is to òey that haue ben òynners in erth and  òhalle be òavyd ffor by theyòe medycins behovyth that every òynnfulle òoule be helyd.” XIII. xxxix. 70-70v.
22 Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society (New York: Doubleday, 1979).
23 Kang Nam-Soon, “Han,” in Dictionary of Feminist Theology, ed. Letty M. Russell and J. Shannon Clarkson (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), 134.
24 1 Peter 4:8, (KJV).
25 Yoshimi Yoshiaki, Comfort Women: Sexual Slaves in the Japanese Military During World War II, trans. Suzanne O’Brien (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 10.
29 Lisa Isherwood explains han as following: “There is a deep desire for revenge in their sense of putting things right. This is not to suggest that Christianity would, left to itself, be the liberator of women as we have seen this is not always the case. It is not surprising that many Korean Christian women are looking towards their own as well as Christianity to provide liberating alternatives.” Quoted from Lisa Isherwood, Introducing Feminist Christologies (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2001), 89.
30 Carol P. Christ, She Who Changes: Re-imagining the Divine in the World (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 220.
31 Joh, Heart of the Cross, 101-105.
32 Joh, Heart of the Cross, 23.
33 Sangmie Choi Schellstede ed., Comfort Women Speak: Testimony be Sex Slaves of the Japanese Military (New York: Holmes & Meier, 2000), 67.
34 Sangmie Choi Schellstede and Soon Mi Yu, Comfort Women Speak: Testimony be Sex Slaves of the Japanese Military: Includes New United Nations Human Right Reports (New York, Holmes & Meier, 2000), 105.
35 Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream: Writings and Speeches that Changed the World (New York: HarperCollins, 1986), 105.
36 Matthew 1:23, (KJV).
37 Romans 12:15, (KJV).

Bradford Manderfield  Monica Winter Nancy Bradley Warren Janna Gosselin Juliana Dresvina  Stefan Reynolds Nicholas Winter Rev Nicola Winter
Santha Bhattacharji        Rev Malcom Guite  Gabriella Del Lungo Sr Julia Bolton Holloway Jeongho Yang  Richard Norton  Marie Hyland

his darker path into the heart of pain
Was also hers whose love enfolded him
In flesh and wove him in her womb. Again
The sword is piercing. She, who cradled him
And gentled and protected her young son,
Must stand and watch the cruelty that mars
Her maiden making. Waves of pain that stun
And sicken pass across his face and hers
As their eyes meet. Now she enfolds the world
He loves in prayer; the mothers of the disappeared
Who know her pain, all bodies bowed and curled
In desperation on this road of tears,
All the grief-stricken in their last despair,
Are folded in the mantle of her prayer.

Rev Malcolm Guite



how me O anchoress, your anchor-hold
Deep in the love of God, and hold me fast,
Show me again in whose hands we are held
Speak to me from your window in the past,
Tell me again the tale of Love's compassion
For all of us who fall onto the mire
How he is wounded with us, how his passion
Quickens the love that haunted our desire.
Show me again the wonder of at-one-ment
Of Christ-in-us distinct and yet the same,
Who makes, and loves, and keeps us in each moment,
And looks on us with pity not with blame.
Keep telling me, for all my faith may waver,
Love is his meaning, only love, forever.

The Julian Cell. The death date is wrong because Julian is being confused with Carrow Abbey's Anchoress Julian Lampit, this
stone being placed before the WWII bombing of St Julian's Church and recycled for her reconstructed anchorhold.

Stefan Reynolds Jenna Gosselin Rev Malcolm Guite Marie Hyland Julia Holloway Juliana Dresvina Gabriella Del Lungo Bradford Manderfield Nancy Bradley Warren

Stefan Reynolds Jenna Gosselin Rev Malcolm Guite Marie Hyland Julia Holloway Jeongho Yang Gabriella Del Lungo Bradford Manderfield Nancy Bradley Warren
Taking umbrage, sanctuary, in the Julian Cell, in a downpour. a Magnificat place, 'O Sapientia!'

                    Bradford & Stefan                                                                     Gabriella, Rev Malcolm         Nancy                               Jenna


REVELATIONS OF DIVINE LOVE/ SHOWING OF LOVE                                                                                                     

Icon, Fr Nathanel Smyth, of Blessed Memory

Edited from the MSS. by Dom Roger Hudleston, O.S.B., Monk of Downside Abbey:

‘For this is the cause why we be not all in ease of heart and soul: that we seek here rest in those things that be so little, wherein is no rest, and know not our God that is Almighty, All-wise, All-good.’  Chapter 5 

‘For some of us believe that God is Almighty and may do all, and that he is All-Wisdom and can do all; but that he is All-Love and will do all, there we stop short.’   Chapter 73

‘And from that time that it was shewed I desired oftentimes to witten what was our Lord’s meaning. And fifteen years after, and more, I was answered in ghostly understanding, saying thus: “Wouldst thou witten thy Lord’s meaning in this thing? Wit it well: Love was his meaning. Who shewed it thee?  Love. What shewed he thee?  Love. Wherefore shewed it he? For Love. Hold thee therein and thou shalt witten and know more in the same.  But thou shalt never know nor witten therein other thing without end.” Thus was I learned that Love was our Lord’s meaning.

And I saw full surely in this and in all, that ere God made us he loved us; which love was never slacked, not ever shall be. And in this love he hath done all his works; and in this love he hath made all things profitable to us; and in this love our life is everlasting. In our making we had beginning; but the love wherein he made us was in him from without beginning; in which love we have our Beginning. And all this shall we see in God, without end. Which may Jesus grant us. Amen.’  Chapter 86

And edited from the Paris Manuscript, Sr Anna Maria Reynolds, C.P., and Julia Bolton Holloway, H.F.


        ¶Of this nedeth vs to
haue knowledge. that vs lyketh nought
all thing that is made. for to loue
and haue god that is vnmade, ¶ ffor this
is the cauʃe why we be not all in eaʃe of
hart and of sowle; for we ʃeeke heer reʃt
in this thing that is ʃo little wher no
reʃte is in, and we know not our god
that is almightie all wiʃe and all good
for he is verie reʃte,


¶And of this knowyng are we moʃt
blynde. ffor ʃome of vs beleue that
god is allmyghty and may do alle. and
that he is alle wysdom and can do alle
But that he is alle loue and will do
alle there we fayle.

                     And fro the tyme
þt it was shewde I deʃyerde oftyn tymes
to witt in what was our lords
menyng. ‘For this is the cause why we be not all in ease of heart and soul: that we seek here rest in those things that be so little, wherein is no rest, and know not our God that is Almighty, All-wise, All-good.’  Chapter 5 

‘For some of us believe that God is Almighty and may do all, and that he is All-Wisdom and can do all; but that he is All-Love and will do all, there we stop short.’   Chapter 73

‘And from that time that it was shewed I desired oftentimes to witten what was our Lord’s meaning. And fifteen years after, and more, I was answered in ghostly understanding, saying thus: “Wouldst thou witten thy Lord’s meaning in this thing? Wit it well: Love was his meaning. Who shewed it thee?  Love. What shewed he thee?  Love. Wherefore shewed it he? For Love. Hold thee therein and thou shalt witten and know more in the same.  But thou shalt never know nor witten therein other thing without end.” Thus was I learned that Love was our Lord’s meaning.

And I saw full surely in this and in all, that ere God made us he loved us; which love was never slacked, not ever shall be. And in this love he hath done all his works; and in this love he hath made all things profitable to us; and in this love our life is everlasting. In our making we had beginning; but the love wherein he made us was in him from without beginning; in which love we have our Beginning. And all this shall we see in God, without end. Which may Jesus grant us. Amen.’  Chapter 86

Edited from the Paris Manuscript, Sr Anna Maria Reynolds, C.P., and Julia Bolton Holloway, H.F.


        Of this nedeth vs to
haue knowledge. that vs lyketh nought
all thing that is made. for to loue
and haue god that is vnmade, ffor this
is the cauʃe why we be not all in eaʃe of
hart and of sowle; for we ʃeeke heer reʃt
in this thing that is ʃo little wher no
reʃte is in, and we know not our god
that is almightie all wiʃe and all good
for he is verie reʃte,


And of this knowyng are we moʃt
blynde. ffor ʃome of vs beleue that
god is allmyghty and may do alle. and
that he is alle wysdom and can do alle
But that he is alle loue and will do
alle there we fayle.

                      And fro the tyme
þt it was shewde I deʃyerde oftyn tymes
to witt in what was our lords
menyng. And .xv. yere after.
and mor I was anʃweryd in goʃtly
underʃtondyng ʃeyeng thus. What
woldest thou wytt thy lordes menyng.
in this thyng witt it wele. loue
was his menyng. who ʃhewyth
it the. loue. Wherfore ʃhewyth he
it the. for loue. holde the therin.
thou ʃhalt wytt more in the ʃame
But thou ʃchalt nevyr witt ther//
in other wtouten ende.
was I lernyd þt loue is oure lordes
menyng. And I ʃawe fulle ʃurely
in this. and in all // that or god made
vs he lovyd vs. Whych loue was nevyr
ʃlekyd ne nevyr ʃhalle, And in
this loue he hath done alle his werkes,
And in this loue he hath made alle
thynges profytable to vs. And in this
loue. oure lyfe is evyr laʃtyng. In
oure makyng we had begynnyng. but
the loue wher in he made vs. was in
hynm fro wtout begynnyng, In
whych loue. we haue oure begynnyng
And all this ʃhalle we see in god wt
outyn ende // Deo gracias.//
Explicit liber revelacionum
Julyane. anatorite norwyche
cuius anime propicietur deus.And .xv. yere after.
and mor I was anʃweryd in goʃtly
underʃtondyng ʃeyeng thus. What
woldest thou wytt thy lordes menyng.
in this thyng witt it wele. loue
was his menyng. who ʃhewyth
it the. loue. Wherfore ʃhewyth he
it the. for loue. holde the therin.
thou ʃhalt wytt more in the ʃame
But thou ʃchalt nevyr witt ther//
in other wtouten ende. Thus
was I lernyd þt loue is oure lordes
menyng. And I ʃawe fulle ʃurely
in this. and in all // that or god made
vs he lovyd vs. Whych loue was nevyr
ʃlekyd ne nevyr ʃhalle, And in
this loue he hath done alle his werkes,
And in this loue he hath made alle
thynges profytable to vs. And in this
loue. oure lyfe is evyr laʃtyng. In
oure makyng we had begynnyng. but
the loue wher in he made vs. was in
hynm fro wtout begynnyng, In
whych loue. we haue oure begynnyng
And all this ʃhalle we see in god wt
outyn ende // Deo gracias.//
Explicit liber revelacionum
Julyane. anatorite norwyche
cuius anime propicietur deus.

Sr Anna Maria Reynolds, C.P., died peacefully in her Cross and Passion Convent in Dublin on the morning of 14 May 2013, knowing of our Symposium held in her honour. Her two Leeds University M.A. and D.Phil. theses on all the Julian manuscripts and her sigla were plagiarized by James Walsh and Edmund Colledge for their University of Toronto edition, She had meticulously edited microfilms with a microscope, a word at a time, during WWII when the manuscripts themselves were buried underground to protect them from bombing, and while she was teaching full time. See


cuius anime propicietur deus.

And Father Nathanael Smyth of Beloved Memory             

Indices to Umiltà Website's Essays on Julian:


Influences on Julian
Her Self
Her Contemporaries
Her Manuscript Texts
with recorded readings of them
About Her Manuscript Texts
After Julian, Her Editors
Julian in our Day

Publications related to Julian:


Saint Bride and Her Book: Birgitta of Sweden's Revelations Translated from Latin and Middle English with Introduction, Notes and Interpretative Essay. Focus Library of Medieval Women. Series Editor, Jane Chance. xv + 164 pp. Revised, republished,  Boydell and Brewer, 1997. Republished, Boydell and Brewer, 2000. ISBN 0-941051-18-8

To see an example of a page inside with parallel text in Middle English and Modern English, variants and explanatory notes, click here. Index to this book at

Julian of Norwich. Showing of Love: Extant Texts and Translation. Edited. Sister Anna Maria Reynolds, C.P. and Julia Bolton Holloway. Florence: SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo (Click on British flag, enter 'Julian of Norwich' in search box), 2001. Biblioteche e Archivi 8. XIV + 848 pp. ISBN 88-8450-095-8.

To see inside this book, where God's words are in red, Julian's in black, her editor's in grey, click here. 

Julian of Norwich. Showing of Love. Translated, Julia Bolton Holloway. Collegeville: Liturgical Press; London; Darton, Longman and Todd, 2003. Amazon ISBN 0-8146-5169-0/ ISBN 023252503X. xxxiv + 133 pp. Index.

To view sample copies, actual size, click here.

Julian of Norwich, Showing of Love, Westminster Text, translated into Modern English, set in William Morris typefont, hand bound with marbled paper end papers within vellum or marbled paper covers, in limited, signed edition. A similar version available in Italian translation. To order, click here.

'Colections' by an English Nun in Exile: Bibliothèque Mazarine 1202. Ed. Julia Bolton Holloway, Hermit of the Holy Family. Analecta Cartusiana 119:26. Eds. James Hogg, Alain Girard, Daniel Le Blévec. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2006.

Anchoress and Cardinal: Julian of Norwich and Adam Easton OSB. Analecta Cartusiana 35:20 Spiritualität Heute und Gestern. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2008. ISBN 978-3-902649-01-0. ix + 399 pp. Index. Plates.

Teresa Morris. Julian of Norwich: A Comprehensive Bibliography and Handbook. Preface, Julia Bolton Holloway. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2010. x + 310 pp.  ISBN-13: 978-0-7734-3678-7; ISBN-10: 0-7734-3678-2. Maps. Index.

Fr Brendan Pelphrey. Lo, How I Love Thee: Divine Love in Julian of Norwich. Ed. Julia Bolton Holloway. Amazon, 2013. ISBN 978-1470198299


Julian among the Books: Julian of Norwich's Theological Library. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. xxi + 328 pp. VII Plates, 59 Figures. ISBN (10): 1-4438-8894-X, ISBN (13) 978-1-4438-8894-3.

Mary's Dowry; An Anthology of Pilgrim and Contemplative Writings/ La Dote di Maria:Antologie di Testi di Pellegrine e Contemplativi. Traduzione di Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotto. Testo a fronte, inglese/italiano. Analecta Cartusiana 35:21 Spiritualität Heute und Gestern. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2017. ISBN 978-3-903185-07-4. ix + 484 pp.

Sr Julia, 'Cradles in Libraries', 'English' Cemetery, Florence
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