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Julian of Norwichs Views on the Body and Christ as mother - Research Paper Example

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Julian’s works do not appear to have had much impact during her lifetime, and she remained largely unknown until the early twentieth century, when scholars began to study her writings. After a brief discussion of the genre of Julian’s writings, and the role of female mystics in the Middle Ages, this paper examines Julian’s perspectives on the body and Christ as mother. …
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Julian of Norwichs Views on the Body and Christ as mother
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Download file to see previous pages Her writings are compared with the mainstream theology of the Church in the fourteenth century and examined in the light of modern feminist theory in order to understand the purpose and importance of Julian’s particular approach to writing.
Vision and Revelation.
Julian’s writings survive in manuscripts which were written at a much later date than her own lifetime, and largely in dialects different from her own local East Anglian vernacular, which suggests that her original works were copied and passed on in religious communities which valued her particular contribution (Dinshaw and Wallson, 210). The famous “Vision” or “Revelation” that she received is preserved in a long and a short version. The earlier “Vision” has been described as “already a polished, gripping, scene by scene narrative of an experience it depicts as a dialogic, obscure, but in theory lucid communication between God and his people, with Julian herself acting as representative, and a medium” (Dinshaw and Wallace, 211). The later “Revelation” is expanded to about four times the length of the “Vision” and is described by the same authors as “part expansion, part commentary, part theological summa” (Dinshaw and Wallace, 213). ...
These expansive descriptions reveal that modern critics have considerable difficulty in assigning Julian’s work to any recognizable genre. Originality was not generally regarded as an advantage in medieval religious writings, and the incongruity of Julian’s choice of form may well have contributed to the muted reception that her works appear to have had in her own lifetime and the years immediately afterwards. The role of female mystics in the Middle Ages Julian’s position as a woman presents her with considerable difficulty in approaching the task of writing. During the medieval era, the spiritual development of mystical women required the bridging of two antagonistic concepts at the same time. They were both revered as holy examples, and at the same time they were viewed as acquiescent to their male counterparts. Although they could receive redemption like any other men, their position was very definitely of secondary status. Thus, women were made to understand their position as both subservient and equal to men, hence turning their spiritual quest into an internalization of antithetic concepts. This created a situation where their experimental spirituality directed not only acceptance of the antithetic concepts but created a different form of control over them, which sometimes inverted all traditional spiritual norms. As two antithetic concepts pair, the opposites often combine to deliver a greater truth, which is inclusive in form brought about by the union of two inconsistent theories. During medieval era, the female mysticism represents paradox, akin to the Christian theological concept of Christ as a divine figure in a human form. There are, however, some advantages in approaching theology from the perspective of a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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