E 316K - Julian and Margery Kempe

E 316K - Julian and Margery Kempe - Julian of Norwich (c....

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Julian of Norwich (c. 1342-c.1416) At the age of 30, Julian experienced a series of mystical visions, which she later recorded in her “A Book of Showings to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich” (ca. 1390) Julian, an “anchoress” or “anchorite,” lived the life of a religious recluse in a small cell attached to the Church of St. Julian in Norwich, on the northeastern coast of England The most important historical evidence for her life comes from The Book of Margery Kempe, in which Kempe recounts her conversations with Julian regarding Kempe’s own religious experiences Julian was deeply schooled in the Bible and medieval religious writings in both English and Latin; her “Book of Showings” reflects a complex and profound understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity For Julian, the Father generates the immortal human soul; the Son is the “mother” who redeems worldly, sensual human nature; the Holy Ghost binds God and humanity in an eternal unity of grace
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A Book of Showings to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich (ca. 1390) And when I was thirty year old and a half, God sent me a bodily sickness in the which I lay three days and three nights; and on the fourth night I took all my rites of the holy church, and went not to have liven till day. And after this I lay two days and two nights; and on the third night I weened oftentimes to have passed, and so weened they that were with me. And yet in this I felt a great loathsomeness to die, but for nothing that was on earth that me liketh to live for, ne for no pain that I was afraid of, for I trusted in God of his mercy. But it was for I would have lived to have loved God better and longer time, that I might by the grace of that living have the more knowing and loving of God in the bliss of heaven. For me thought all that time that I had lived here so little and so short in regard of that endless bliss, I thought: Good Lord, may my living no longer be to thy worship? And I understood by my reason and by the feeling of my pains that I should die; and I assented fully with all the will of my heart to be at God’s will. * * * And in this suddenly all my pain was taken from me, and I was as whole, and namely in the over part of my body, as ever I was before. I marvelled of this sudden change, for me thought that it was a privy working of God, and not of kind; and yet be feeling of this ease I trusted never more to have lived, ne the feeling of this ease was no full ease to me, for me thought I had liever have been delivered of this world, for my heart was willfully set thereto. (Ch. 3, p. 356-57)
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And thus is Jesu our very mother in kind of our first making, and he is our very mother in grace by taking of our kind made. All the fair working and all the sweet kindly offices of dearworthy motherhood is impropered to the second person, for in him we have this goodly will, whole and safe without end, both in kind and in grace, of his own proper goodness. (Ch. 59, p. 362) * * * Our kind mother, our gracious mother
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This note was uploaded on 09/18/2011 for the course E 316K taught by Professor Berry during the Spring '09 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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E 316K - Julian and Margery Kempe - Julian of Norwich (c....

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