Introduction

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Hello there! Thank you for looking. I began this series of pages on March 6th and hoped to finish it some time in June, publishing sections as I go. As a result from time to time pages may be changed in retrospect. My hoped for date was based on it being a series of abridged versions of Dame Julians’s visions, but it there is so much depth in them that I have become reluctant to skip. The result is that it will take much longer to finish. By all means follow this trail with me, but if you wish to wait until they are completed I shall say in the blog posts when sections are ready.

Some years ago I read Revelations of Divine Love by Dame Julian of Norwich, a remarkable book in many ways. Probably the first book written in English by a woman. Some of her themes ran counter to the teachings of the church at her time which, in the troubled century in which she wrote, could be a dangerous thing to do. Her writing is calm and compassionate, in visionary, mystical form, coming from a series of visions or ‘shewings’ in 1373 during an illness so severe she received the last rites.

In these free-verse shortened versions of Julian’s visions I have added some of my own thoughts as inspired by her writing. Because these arose out of my rewriting them in shorter, versified form, it is difficult to separate them from the original. If you wish to read the later translation that I used myself it is available in the Christian Classics Ethereal library here. I have also used the translation by A.C. & E. Spearing, which is excellent and available on Amazon here but am personally more comfortable with the Christian Classics version.

I put ‘original’ in inverted commas as her Mediaeval English can be hard for some to read today. The above translations are more readable but still use much mediaeval wording and phrasing which can have different meanings to that of the same words today but is well worth the study. If you wish to read as close to her original Middle English writing as possible I recommend the edition edited by Georgina Ronan Crampton here. In places I am begining to place excerpts from this in block quotes, particularly where I have passed over passages.

Beware: you may well find yourself on a beautiful but long road. Sometimes the meaning of the words have changed, sometimes it is our present day understanding of what underlies those words. For instance fear in Julian’s day carried far more of a sense of awe than it does today. Nowadays it has been simplified to a timid sense of fright. We use the same word but a sense of wondering caution has given way to one of cowering. To fear God has lost something in the process.

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