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Revelations of Divine Love (Classics of Western Spirituality)

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,158 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
One of medieval mysticism's most original works, this book was written by a 14th-century anchoress whose fervent prayers triggered intense visions that continue to influence modern Christian thought.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Paraclete Press (first published 1393)
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Jan 24, 2015 rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, own, lady-lit
"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
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 (view spoiler)) before seeing Christ again that night and then the Devil again (who upon departing left only his ...more
David Sarkies
Jun 14, 2016 David Sarkies rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like Medieval Christian Spiritual literature
Recommended to David by: Bible College Lecturer
Shelves: christian
Visions of a Medieval Mystic
28 January 2012

I discovered this book when my Bible College lecturer mentioned it and 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 than 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.

The story
Dec 30, 2008 Saralyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
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
Dec 07, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Since the late 1970s, thanks to the series Classics of Western Spirituality, English readers have had access to an excellent text in modern English of the Book of Revelations by Julian of Norwich, both in its short and long versions. Mirabai Starr thought time had come for a much more daring translation, theologically speaking, of the mystic’s sixteen visions (in its long version). She states doing so on the basis of what she thinks are Julian’s ideas. This leads her to move quite far away from ...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 a
Apr 08, 2012 Jeremy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-life
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
(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
Mar 18, 2016 Fariba rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mystics (especially female mystics) are often dismissed as enthusiasts; they are not taken as seriously as academic theologians. But Julian of Norwich's Revelation of Love is as theologically sophisticated as anything the Scholastics wrote in the late Middle Ages. Dame Julian's visions lead her to comment on all of the great metaphysical questions (sin, Grace, predestination, salvation, etc). Unlike the Scholastics, however, Julian insists that many of these questions just cannot be answered and ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
McKenzie Cottrell
While there's a lot that I could comment on about this book, the most striking argument it makes is the argument of God or Jesus Christ as the Mother (as well as the Father). Julian of Norwich, who reports a series of visions/revelations about the nature of God, the Fiend, and humanity, makes really interesting comments about the feminine nature of the usually masculine God. She emphasizes that, by considering the nature of the relationship between mother and child, that relationship can be aptl ...more
Apr 17, 2016 Ygraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval, summer-2016
medieval mysticism and the movement towards becoming one with divinity, losing the self in god and finding god in the self, is something both fascinating and unsettling; these are works of vast intimacy, calling upon god as father in his divine creation, and mother in christ's self-sacrificing nurture of humankind, as son in the images of the virgin mary's pain, and as lover in the burning, all-consuming nature of his love, as teacher, as brother, as spouse. this is a vast, all-encompassing year ...more
Justin Morgan
Dec 07, 2012 Justin Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Nov 13, 2012 Drury rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: georgetown
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
Dec 23, 2015 Zach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
- Experience is essential to spiritual formation
- Consistent and pervasive understanding of oneness with Christ and participating in the life of the Trintiy
- Knowing oneself is possible only in knowing God
- Sees suffering as a means by which to encounter God
- Unique and helpful view of Christ as Mother
- Contexually formed views of sin and God's wrath

Such an enjoyable, illuminating, and encouraging read! Great theological and pastoral reflections while remaining immensely personal and
David Jones
Julian of Norwich, in Revelations of Divine Love, presents a concise and philosophically sound rhetoric soundly persuading the reader of God's love in its various manifestations. It lacks much of the cliche and cheap analogy found in contemporary devotional readings, making it all that much more refreshing. Her preoccupation of love takes a unique perspective which oftentimes appears in the description of Christ's love in terms couched with motherhood.

Given her apparent layperson membership, her
May 23, 2015 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In early May 1373 in east England a woman lay near death. She was given the last rites of the church. Her parish priest set a crucifix next to her with the words, “I have brought you the image of your Maker and Savior. Look upon it and be comforted.”

To everyone’s surprise, including her own, she made a miraculous recovery from what we would now call a near death experience. She had no visions of an afterlife as such, but a profound experience of God, all of God’s creation (as small and round as
A beautiful book. If I could give it more than five stars I would. It is is one I keep coming back to.

"He did not say, 'You shall not be tormented, you shall not be troubled, you shall not be grieved', but he said, 'You shall not be overcome.' God wants us to pay attention to these words and wants our trust always to be sure and strong, in weal and woe; for he loves and is pleased with us, and so he wishes us to love and be pleased with him and put great trust in him; and all shall be well."

Feb 05, 2014 Leo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 29, 2008 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  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
Sep 07, 2015 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This fair, lovely word 'mother' is so sweet and so kind in itself that it cannot truly be said of anyone or to anyone except of him and to him who is the true mother of life and of all things. (131)

I am not a religious person, but Julian's writing inspired a desire for me to consider God a little more than I do. Needless to say, her rhetoric proves exquisite because of its simple humility and honesty. She knows how to write well and craft enticing language. Although (or because of being) an anch
Nick Jordan
Mar 18, 2016 Nick Jordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second read (first was 8 years ago in seminary), and I dropped it a star. Maybe still a five star and definitely a classic, but I think I understand (after a bunch of other reading) why Julian didn't (yet?) get the "Doctor" or "Saint" title. Her metaphysics and theological anthropology get a little wonky. And she is still a lovely and fabulous writer.
Mar 19, 2008 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
J. Alfred
Jul 23, 2015 J. Alfred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They don't make mystics like they used to, which is to say, the idea I have of mysticism and the mysticism I actually encounter when I read the mystics is widely different. Lady Julian has a bunch of very cool visions, but she then parses them out for our edification in an extremely learned way; she's no mean theologian. She famously brings the whole cosmic story indoors, so to speak, using lots of household metaphors, repeatedly noting that, for instance, while God the Father is our Father, Chr ...more
Mar 12, 2013 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-again
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.
Sep 05, 2015 Kenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is simply a remarkable book. Julian of Norwich lived in the 14th century and is the first woman to write in the vernacular. The book is all the more remarkable given the role of women in her day.

Rowan Williams says it much better than I can in his book The Wound of Knowledge: Christian Spirituality from the New Testament to St. John of the Cross: "The female recluse, Julian of Norwich, stands as a particularly significant figure among the English spiritual writers: she is a theologian of e
Richard Kuhn
Aug 20, 2015 Richard Kuhn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished REVELATIONS OF DIVINE LOVE 6 weeks ago and am still thinking about it. This is a Revelation of Love that Jesus Christ, our endless bliss, made in Sixteen Showings, or Revelations to Julian. There is so much to say about this book which, in turn, will make this review more of an observation about the work. In one statement the review would have read, "get a copy, read it, re-read it, then re-read it again."

The back story is during the plague in 14th Century England , Julian fell ill an
Jun 05, 2014 Chad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 about Julian of Norwich...

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“He said not 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased'; but he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome.” 94 likes
“... 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.” 39 likes
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