Julian of Norwich

English mystic and first known woman writer in English


November 8, 1343
January 1, 1416


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Julian of Norwich (ca. 1342 - ca. 1416), English mystic Almost nothing is known about Julian, but reliable tradition associates her with St. Julian's church, Norwich, near which she lived a solitary life of prayer and meditation. Her fame rests on her book The Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love, which she wrote in 1393. She claimed to have received fifteen revelations on one day in 1373 and another on the following day. In prolonged states of ecstasy she saw visions of the sufferings of Christ and of the Trinity. She meditated on these visions for twenty years, concentrating on the love of God, which supplies the answer to all life's problems and especially to the evil in the world. Her book contains both the original visions and her meditations on them.

Scholars hold that Julian of Norwich was influenced by a famous book on mystical experience, The Cloud of Unknowing, as well as by Neoplatonic philosophy She summed up her doctrine of God in these words: "And I saw full surely that ere God made us He loved us; which love was never slacked nor 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."

Works By Julian of Norwich

Works About Julian of Norwich

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