Archives For Julian Of Norwich

 

Julian of NorwichToday is the feast of Julian of Norwich.

Very little is known about Julian’s life. Her personal name is unknown; the name “Julian” simply derives from the fact that her anchoress’s cell was built onto the wall of the church of St Julian in Norwich. Her writings indicate that she was probably born around 1342 and died around 1416. She may have been from a privileged family that lived in Norwich, or nearby. Norwich was at the time the second largest city in England. Plague epidemics were rampant during the 14th century and, according to some scholars, Julian may have become an anchoress whilst still unmarried or, having lost her family in the Plague, as a widow. Becoming an anchoress may have served as a way to quarantine her from the rest of the population. There is scholarly debate as to whether Julian was a nun in a nearby convent or even a laywoman.

When she was 30 and living at home, Julian suffered from a severe illness. Whilst apparently on her deathbed, Julian had a series of intense visions of Jesus Christ, which ended by the time she recovered from her illness on 13 May 1373. Julian wrote about her visions immediately after they had happened (although the text may not have been finished for some years), in a version of the Revelations of Divine Love now known as the Short Text; this narrative of 25 chapters is about 11,000 words long. It is believed to be the earliest surviving book written in the English language by a woman. (via Wikipedia)

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John WilsonIn 2013, we are encouraging our readers to mix up their reading habits, and read (or re-read) classics in addition to new books, such as the ones we review here in the ERB.

Broadly speaking, a classic is any book that is not a new book, or in other words that is worth reading five, ten or even one hundred years after its initial publication. ERB Editor Chris Smith has an article on The Huffington Post website arguing for reading a mix of classics and new books in 2013.

We’ve asked a number of noted writers to pick the classics that they often return to, and we will be running these lists as a weekly feature on our website through 2013.

This week’s post in the series is by John Wilson.

Writers on the Classics:
[ #1 – Shane Claiborne ] [ #7 (Last Week) –  Carol Howard Merritt ]

John Wilson is editor of Books & Culture and editor at large for Christianity Today magazine. He received a B.A. from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1970 and an M.A. from California State University, Los Angeles, in 1975. His reviews and essays appear in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, First Things, National Review, and other publications. He and his wife, Wendy, are members of Faith Evangelical Covenant Church in Wheaton; they have four children.


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Jonathan Wilson-HartgroveIn 2013, we are encouraging our readers to mix up their reading habits, and read (or re-read) classics in addition to new books, such as the ones we review here in the ERB.

Broadly speaking, a classic is any book that is not a new book, or in other words that is worth reading five, ten or even one hundred years after its initial publication. ERB Editor Chris Smith has an article on The Huffington Post website arguing for reading a mix of classics and new books in 2013.

We’ve asked a number of noted writers to pick the classics that they often return to, and we will be running these lists as a weekly feature on our website through 2013.

This week’s post in the series is by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

Writers on the Classics:
[ #1 – Shane Claiborne ] [ Most recent, #3 – Scott Russell Sanders ]

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is the author of many books, including our 2010 Book of the Year The Wisdom of Stability. Jonathan is a member of the Rutba House Christian community in Durham, NC, and most of his writing connects in one way or another with his experience as part of an intentional Christian community. His latest book is The Awakening of Hope, which was mentioned on our Best Books of 2012 list.


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“A Renewed Appreciation
of God’s Love for his People

A Review of
Julian of Norwich:
A Contemplative Biography.

By Amy Frykholm
.

Reviewed by Mary Bowling.

Julian of Norwich:
A Contemplative Biography.

Amy Frykholm
.
Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2010.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Julian of Norwich by Amy FrykhomWhy a “contemplative biography” instead of just a biography? Maybe just a biography of Julian of Norwich isn’t enough.  For one thing, so little of the actual person is known that to make a biography based only on the facts we have about Julian’s life would be a very short book indeed.  It would also, if it contained only facts about this woman‘s life, be somewhat of a lie in itself. Julian never intended her writing to be about herself or to point back to her in any way. She didn’t seek fame or recognition — quite the opposite. She spent the last many years of her life secluded in an anchorage essentially dead to the world.

So why then any biography at all, if she was an unknown, and such a recluse as to be dead to the world?  That we know almost nothing about her, is certainly as she wished, but we do know one thing. She received a series of revelations from God which she, despite many limitations, managed to write down in words and which became the first book written in the English language by a woman. It was a notable accomplishment, but not one that she sought.
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