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One of the first woman authors, Julian of Norwich produced in Revelations of Divine Love a remarkable work of revelatory insight, that stands alongside The Cloud of Unknowing and Piers Plowman as a classic of Medieval religious literature

After fervently praying for a greater understanding of Christ’s passion, Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-century anchorite and mystic, experienced a series of divine revelations. Through these ‘showings’, Christ’s sufferings were revealed to her with extraordinary intensity, but she also received assurance of God’s unwavering love for man and his infinite capacity for forgiveness. Written in a vigorous English vernacular, the Revelations are one of the most original works of medieval mysticism and have had a lasting influence on Christian thought. This edition of the Revelations contains both the short text, which is mainly an account of the ‘showings’ themselves and Julian’s initial interpretation of their meaning, and the long text, completed some twenty years later, which moves from vision to a daringly speculative theology.

Elizabeth Spearing’s translation preserves Julian’s directness of expression and the rich complexity of her thought. An introduction, notes and appendices help to place the works in context for modern readers. 

This is the fifth entry into the monthly Medieval Book Club, and this is a work I am actually looking forward to quite a bit. Last year I was able to read a short introduction to Julian of Norwich, and she led quite the fascinating life. So when it was time to select the twelve works for this year, there was little chance I would leave off Julian’s primary work. Being able to read both the long and short text should be great because it will allow us to see what made it and what was removed. Do they provide the same overall experience, or is a lot missing if someone reads just the short text? It is also nice to find books which mention further reading that an interested reader can check out. I do hope you’ll join me in reading her work this May and come back to discuss it.

Here is the breakdown of chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Further Reading
  • Translator’s Note
  • Short Text
  • Long Text
  • Appendix 1: List of Showings
  • Appendix 2: Original Texts of the Revelations
  • Appendix 3: Margery Kemp’s Meeting with Julian

Will you join me in reading this book? You can pick up a copy on Amazon at this link. If you have a different version, or pick up a Kindle Version, that will suffice as the discussion will really center on the Long Text and the Short Text so it will not be dependent on using this version. The post for this book’s reading will be on May 18th, which is the third Thursday of that month.

Check out the full list of books we’re reading this year for the Medieval Book Club.