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Revelations of Divine Love

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  4,146 Ratings  ·  195 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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Mar 31, 2010 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
Jan 28, 2012 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
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 30, 2008 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.
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
Mar 28, 2012 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
Dec 06, 2012 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
Oct 25, 2012 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
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
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
(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
Aug 01, 2014 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.
Thomas Rivers
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The diction is very fresh and breezy (perhaps because my window is open), but I cannot say edifying. As all mystics Julian is mystical, which means vague, and likely on purpose. I give four stars because of this, not because of any literary deficiency. Having said this I know that any mystical text should be thus, vague as though trying to confuse the reader and inspire great awe in him: nevertheless it irks me. But this does not ruin the experience. Julian's collection of revelations is absolut ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good fun to read if not as groovy as Margery. Readers should take away more than 'all manner of things shall be well'.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(usual comment about silliness of giving a star rating to certain books)

Glad to have finally got round to reading this. Meditations that build in power and depth of insight.
E Owen
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was just what I needed just when I needed it.
Jono Hamer-Wilson
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful! This is my first real taste of medieval mysticism; at least since moving beyond the cloisters of adolescence and scholarship. (That is to say, it's been a long time, at least!) I loved both the richness and strangeness of much of the imagery; but even more how she is so utterly in love with her Saviour. Of course there's much that's humorous, bizarre, heart-wrenching and breathtakingly honest (as I think there is in all great literature); but what is most compelling is the utter humil ...more
Mar 18, 2016 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
Justin Morgan
Nov 16, 2012 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
Clara Ellen
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: god-s-grace
When a close loved one passed away a few years ago, I felt God gave me a deep experience to help me through that dark time, an experience of Him as pure love and safety, pure rest and peace. From this deep experience of Him, I just felt that He was pressing into my heart that "everything is okay, and everything is going to be okay for all people forever" - and it really was a life-changing thing. Since that time, another loved one passed away and through all the grieving and feeling so alone, it ...more
J. Alfred
Jul 13, 2015 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
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
Craig Bergland
This is an absolutely fabulous version of Julian's Showings, and the most accessible to a broad audience that I have encountered among the many versions I have read. It makes Julian accessible to people from a broad variety of spiritual and religious traditions, a quality that has been sorely lacking in many of the rather stuffy previous attempts. It's great to read Julian in Middle English if you can, but those who would suggest that making medieval writers available to a broad contemporary aud ...more
Oct 16, 2015 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
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."

Jan 29, 2008 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
Mar 05, 2008 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.
Nick Jordan
Sep 25, 2014 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.
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Week four "Showings" 1 2 Mar 25, 2015 12:47PM  
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • Interior Castle
  • The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection (Cistercian studies 59)
  • The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross
  • A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
  • Scivias (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
  • The Complete Works
  • The Philokalia, Volume 1: The Complete Text
  • Abandonment to Divine Providence
  • On Loving God
  • The Spiritual Exercises
  • Prayer
  • A Testament of Devotion
  • Introduction to the Devout Life
  • Athanasius: The Life of Antony and the Letter to Marcellinus (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • John Cassian: Conferences (Classics of Western Spirituality)
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.” 140 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.” 49 likes
More quotes…