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Revelations of Divine Love (Classics of Western Spirituality)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  2,216 ratings  ·  96 reviews
"Revelations of Divine Love" is based on 16 visions Julian had about the Passion of Christ and events surrounding the Crucifixion. It reveals the depth of her understanding and devotion. Noted for their mystical depth and literary elegance, these Revelations are a source of spiritual courage. Believed to be the first work in English by a female, it is a magnum opus!
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Published January 1st 2011 by White Crow Books (first published 1393)
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"And I saw quite certainly in this and in everything that God loved us before he made us; and his love has never diminished and never shall. And all of his works were done in this love; and in this love he has made everything for our profit; and in this love our life is everlasting."

I don't know what sort of criteria one should use to rate this book, so I'm not going to attempt it. I approached it from the perspective of an agnostic leaning towards atheist, and I came out of my reading experienc...more
From about four in the morning until nine on the eighth of May 1373, Julian of Norwich, then thirty years old, sick and believing herself to be near to death had a series of visions of Christ. After this she had a vision of the Devil (he had tile red skin, dark freckles, red hair, white teeth and smelt terrible) before seeing Christ again that night and then the Devil again (departing only leaving his awful stink behind him). It then took her between fifteen years and twenty years less three mon...more
The first book known to have been written by a woman in the English language. Julian is loved by feminist theologians and Catholic conservatives alike. Out of her mystical visions of Christ, comes an exploration of the feminine aspects of God, the problem of evil and suffering, and God's love for humanity. Most known for the phrase "all shall be well", but I also love "Love was His meaning". I love this book.
David Sarkies
Sep 14, 2013 David Sarkies rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like Medieval Christian Spiritual literature
Recommended to David by: Bible College Lecturer
Shelves: christian
I discovered this book when my Bible College lecturer mentioned it and would then proceeded to mock it for the rest of the lecture. Once the lecture had finished I went straight to the library, located it, and borrowed it, and I must admit that I quite enjoyed it (it was a much easier read that 'An Imitation of Christ'.... Basically the book is about a series of 16 visions that a female recluse had in the 1300s and her interpretation of these visions.
Julian of Norwich wanted to have a revelation...more
Stephanie Ricker
Medieval Lit: sometimes you are so cool, and other times you make me want to stab my eyes out with a quill pen.

Julian of Norwich falls into the category of written dream vision, of which there seems to have been jillions in the middle ages. Nobody just had regular dreams, oh no; they had religiously significant dreams that must be recorded for all to read about and for professors today to torture their students with. Thanks, Julian. Thanks a bunch.

In all seriousness, I appreciate her sincerity a...more
This book is a series of essays that Julian of Norwich wrote about 16 revelations she had about God's love. This is a fascinating read with some interesting insights. Julian may not have been spot-on with her theology, but this book is well worth reading.

She is also the first known woman to write a book in English.

Things that stood out to me:
At one point Julian of Norwich had a vision in which God showed her a hazelnut, and from that very simple ordinary thing she learned three lessons. 1) God...more
Julian likes lists! So do I! ☺ At another time in my life, her writings might have sounded like an old-time sermon. The recording I listened to read by Pam Ward and produced by Hovel Audio did use many quaint unfamiliar expressions. And yet, I found myself compelled to love Julian's ‘Gracious Lord’, so I might be able to claim as she did,
‘Our courteous Lord endlessly beholds us in this work, rejoicing. And we please him best by wisely and truly believing these things, and by rejoicing with him
Justin Morgan

An incredible series of theological meditations about a series of personal visionary experiences by a 14th century anchoress, this little book seems remarkably contemporary. The motherhood and feminine aspects of the divine, the problems of evil, pain and sin, the goodness of creation, all are couched in a very eloquent positive theology rooted in the overwhelming and irresistible love of God. Yet for all the positivity - the light, love and life themes, she still deals with the very tangible r...more
In chapter 51 of Julian of Norwich’s Showings, she introduces a parable of a lord and a servant (267ff). The servant falls into a dell while serving his lord and Julian then perceives the situation from both the perspective of the lord and the servant. Although the lord and servant are later revealed to be God and Adam respectively, Julian’s account of and the reasoning behind the fall of Adam differ greatly from the traditional story and interpretation.
Traditionally the fall of man comes from...more
The translator here worked to create a text faithful enough to educate students in medieval anchorite texts and readable enough for devotion. While I enjoy the text in middle english as well--and look forward to showing it to students--I found her hope met, as the text was particularly fine as a devotional read. I am excited about the wonderful lines that i hope will continue to run round in my head. I want to read it again and again.
This books seems pretty divisive. Readers either give it five stars or 1-2 stars. For me, I suppose I had a difficult time reading it with it's original milieu in mind. I couldn't stop thinking "This would never get published today, this would never get published today".

Obviously, it is a very significant work, as the first recorded English writing by a woman; as a well-recognized anchorite bio. However, I simply didn't get much from it. Also, I am "tainted" by my rebellious protestant upbringin...more
(classic) Fever dreams can be some crazy shit. Sometimes you think God is talking to you and delivering a whole new theology. Less skeptically, Revelations of Divine Love is a kind of mystical manifesto, laying out a more kind and liberal version of Christian theology in which love and mercy become the central aspects of the faith. It's a fascinating primary source, even if actually reading through it is a bit of a slog. I'm an angry atheist, but this is a more palatable (if not neccesarily more...more
I read "Revelations of Divine Love" for my university course "Visions and Madness in British medieval literature". I really appreciated the introduction chapters, they helped me a lot in understanding the text and getting the bigger picture.
The text itself consists of a short version and a long version. The short version is mainly Julian's account of her visions while the long text contains her interpretation of those visions. This part is a lot more theological and repetitive. What was interest...more
Jan 29, 2008 Shannon rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: if you like theology and religion
I read this book for my grad class, and it is interesting that this is the first book attributed to a female in English history. She describes her visions or "showings" God gave her during an illness and creates a theology about them, which was extremely modern for 1373. A God with no anger who is our mother and father? That's what God told her!She writes beautifully, though it gets extremely repetitious
I hate giving a classic such a low mark, but it just to be way too difficult to get through. Julian's got those wonderful inspiring thoughts ("all shall be well," etc.) and somewhere in the middle is a really fun cartoonish image "the fiend," but I still really happy to be finished with it. Perhaps I wasn't approaching it with the right meditative spirit.
Although an aged woman at the time of writing, she has the spirit of a little girl in wide-eyed wonder seated at the feet of the Savior she adored and served her entire life. I want to have her over for dinner.
In the name of fair play let me first say that I didn't actually read the entire book, let me explain. There are two versions of Revelations of Divine Love, the original short version and an extended long version; I read all of the short version and about half of the long version before I started losing interest. I'm skeptical at best about claims of divine revelations but she certainly seems to believe that what she saw was real. This book is interesting for a non-divine reason as well, it is t...more
Molly Dickinson (Editorial Intern, Tin House Magazine): I’ve recently been re-reading Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love. I know most people instantly think: snoozefest! But judge away, internet people; I maintain that this medieval mystic’s literature is still fascinating and relevant stuff. Julian (we’re on a first name basis) is an adept and exquisite word smith. And her philosophical and theological struggles with her medieval world are strikingly similar to the ones I witness pe...more
Heather Tomlinson

There are parts of this book that I really enjoyed and were very beautiful. Throughout though, I guess I was thinking, 'are you sure?' Julian was given very specific visions and revelations. Sometimes it matches with Scripture, sometimes it goes beyond. I guess I tried to keep an open mind. Interesting that aspects of her theology seemed almost Calvinist - though some are definitely not!

The latter part of the book was not so good, as it was reflections on some of the visions that I found hard t...more
A fair, critical review of Lady Julian is perhaps impossible, since reading the Revelations is much like reading a translation. While Julian wrote in English, her work is in fact translated from Middle into contemporary English, and even than, many of the concepts and word choices of the book are peculiarly medieval and so not easily understood by a contemporary reader.

The first and last thirds of the book are devotional; the middle third, deeply theological. Appreciate theology though I do, it...more
The first time through this I really wasn't sure what to make of it. Like she said a lot of things I would like to believe but I don't hold visions as authoritative words of God like scripture. It was recommended to me by a good reformed family friend, who I assumed held to the same beliefs, so I was confused. Later my favorite pastor (who is also reformed) also highly recommended it, so I decided to go through it again.

After mulling it over and reading a few critiques (apparently she belongs t...more
A typical book of Christian mystical devotions. It is believed to be the first published book in the English language to be written by a woman.
he Revelations is divided into eighty-six chapters. These chapters are gathered into larger five sections.
The first chapter begins with a single sentence introduction: This is a Revelation of Love that Jesus Christ, our endless bliss, made in Sixteen Shewings, or Revelations particular. This is followed by a sentence or two describing each of the sixteen...more
Dec 02, 2007 Jessica rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anchoresses
I remember writing some giant paper on this in college. And that is pretty much ALL I remember, except also having somehow obtained the Julian-writing-as-Julian-actually-did version (her "Shewings," if I recall correctly) and staying up all night during finals week trying to be all fancy by using the ye-olde style quotations in my paper whenever I was citing her directly.... wow, that was a repressed memory, thanks Alisa. Haven't thought about it in years, and can't quite believe I used to do th...more
I am slowly getting into the medieval mystics and the more I read the more I am enjoying it. This book is a classic and I would recommend checking out other reviewers on it. At least one person I saw had her life completely changed by reading this book. My experience was not quite that profound, but the book did stretch me. I feel I will have to return to it one day, almost as if I am reading these mystics now to get a feel for them and the next time will be to get deep into them.

In the 1300s J...more
This woman said some important things to me. I first read her in Iris Murdoch when she quoted Julian: "all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well". Then I read of her in many medieval history and philosophy books. So I finally read this, and it was overwhelming. Here are all the prejudices of a moment, and then all-the-surpassing. I think that is what I liked best. I read things I disagreed with her on (obviously), but I could see her trying to go beyond that,...more
Julian was born in the Dark Ages, at a time when women were looked down upon very severly--especially by Church leaders. She chose to become an abbess (or nun) and was very devoted to God. She wrote some amazing ideas about a Christian woman's relationship with Christ that opened my eyes to a deeper level of commitment. I took my Senior course as an English Major in Women's Devotional Literature from the High Middle Ages, and we studied Julian in depth. I came to love her writings and keep aroun...more
Patti Clement
Love her writings in the Fifty-Ninth Chapter! As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother, and he revealed that in everything, and especially in these sweet words where he says: I am he; that is to say: I am he, the power and goodness of fatherhood; I am he, the wisdom and the lovingness of motherhood; I am he, the light and the grace which is all belssed love; I am he, the Trinity; I am he, the unity; I am he, the great supreme goddness of every kind of thing; I am he who make you...more
For LDS friends - Julian is the first female English writer who can be "identified with certainty". She lived in the 13th century. She had many visions opened to her. Amazingly, none of what she says is incompatible with Mormon theology. She gives an exact description of the LDS version of heaven, "three heavens were shown, as follows: by the joy I understood the pleasure of the Father; and by the delight, the pleasure of the Son; and by the endless happiness, the Holy Ghost." I believe her visi...more
Tim Patrick
Revelations of Divine Love is a fifteenth century work of Christian Mysticism. Julian was living as a nun in a convent when, at age 30, she became deathly ill. As she convalesced, she received a series of sixteen visions, which she wrote down years later in this book. The visions focus on the passion of Christ, her own sin and forgiveness, and the state of the soul in one's heart. The visions are what they are, but her commentary varies between quotations from scripture to emotional cries. For a...more
The Desert Fathers, Benedict, and Dante contemplate human sin and divine judgment. Julian contemplates human sin and divine love. No wonder she was able to spend something like forty years in a cell with a blocked-up door and two windows: one into the parish church, for receiving the sacrament, and one to the outside world, for giving spiritual direction. (Also her servant had access through some kind of window.) As an anchoress, she had died to the world and was basically living in a kind of co...more
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Julian of Norwich was the most important English mystic of the 14th century. Her spirituality is strongly Trinitarian and basically Neoplatonic.

In her Revelations of Divine Love Julian relates that in May 1373, when she was 30 years old, she suffered a serious illness. After she had been administered extreme unction, she received 16 revelations within the span of a few hours. When she wrote her Re...more
More about Julian of Norwich...
The Shewings of Julian of Norwich All Will Be Well (30 Days with a Great Spiritual Teacher) Collected Works Of Julian Of Norwich Love's Trinity: A Companion to Julian of Norwich; Long Text with a Commentary I Promise You a Crown: A 40-Day Journey in the Company of Julian of Norwich: Devotional Readings (Rekindling the Inner Fire)

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“... so our customary practice of prayer was brought to mind: how through our ignorance and inexperience in the ways of love we spend so much time on petition. I saw that it is indeed more worthy of God and more truly pleasing to him that through his goodness we should pray with full confidence, and by his grace cling to him with real understanding and unshakeable love, than that we should go on making as many petitions as our souls are capable of.” 31 likes
“Truth sees God, and wisdom contemplates God, and from these two comes a third, a holy and wonderful delight in God, who is love.” 17 likes
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