Julian of Norwich

Visionary or Mystic?

By Kevin Magill

© 2005 – Routledge

180 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415544054
pub: 2009-01-30
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415360531
pub: 2005-11-17
US Dollars$150.00

About the Book

Julian of Norwich was a fourteenth-century woman who at the age of thirty had a series of vivid visions centred around the crucified Christ. Twenty years later, while living as an anchoress in a church, she is believed to have set out these visions in a text called the Showing of Love.

Going against the current trend to place Julian in the category of mystic - a classification which defines her visions as deeply private, psychological events - this book sets Julian’s thinking in the context of a visionary project used to instruct the Christian community.

Drawing on recent developments in philosophy that debate the objectivity and rationality of vision and perception, Kevin J. Magill gives full attention to the depth and richness of the visual language and modes of perception in the Showing of Love. In particular, the book focuses on the ways in which Julian presented her vision to the Christian society around her, demonstrating the educative potential of interaction between the ‘isolated’ anchoress and the wider community.

Challenging Julian’s identification as a mystic and solitary female writer, this book argues that Julian engaged in a variety of educative methods – oral, visual, conversational, mnemonic, alliterative – that extend the usefulness of her text.


'McGill's book is a serious contribution to the study of Julian's Showing of Love.' - Tarmo Toom, The John Leland Center for Theological Studies

Table of Contents

1. Understanding Julian’s Showing of Love as Visionary Theology 2. The Anchoress and Her Community 3. Imagery, Literacy and Audience 4. The Redemption of the Body and the Redemption of Vision. Conclusion. Bibliography

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Medieval Religion and Culture

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Education
RELIGION / Christianity / General