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Description

The Revelations of Divine Love are Lady Julian of Norwich’s explanations of her religious visions involving Jesus Christ – they are among the most poignant examples of Christian writing in the Middle Ages. First published in the late-14th century, Revelations of Divine Love is a series of devotional writings by one of Christianity’s most revered mystics and visionaries. The text describes the sixteen visions Julian experienced, and includes her interpretation of their mystical and theological meanings. The reflections of Lady Julian were a comfort at a time when the Black Death, or bubonic plague, was ravaging Europe. Julian herself is thought to have lost her family to the plague, having taken up the position of anchoress as a means of self-quarantine from an epidemic which would eventually claim over a third of Europe’s population. Julian was inspired to write her visions after having recovered from an illness she believed would kill her. However she instead had successive visions over five days while she lay bedridden, emerging recovered as the scenes involving Christ and holy icons concluded. She would go on to live for a further thirty and more years, becoming a venerated figure in the church who spent her life providing spiritual advice and counsel. Aged only thirty and incapable of writing in the traditional Latin script, Julian instead wrote her revelations in her local language of Middle English. At the time her hometown of Norwich was the second most populous city in England, which led to her writings quickly gaining an audience. The notion that God was present even in times so dark and disease-stricken buoyed Christians, who took her visions as a positive sign of the Lord’s eternal presence.

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