Gender and Text in the Later Middle Ages

By Jane Chance | Go to book overview
the self is God-informed and her metaphysics profoundly personal. Julian's emphasis on the body as vehicle of the Divine, on nature and sensuality as already united to God, and on the motherhood of God deeply enriches the self, God, and reality itself.
Notes
1. Jantzen, Julian of Norwich, deals admirably with the concept of sensuality in Julian's thought but does not see the body as an organ of knowing in Julian. Other studies, like that of Brant Pelphrey, treat Julian as spiritual writer and visionary without the important link to embodiment in her work. Joan Nuth's masterful recent study of Julian, Wisdom's Daughter, treats Julian primarily as theologian, and although she is careful to lay out a thoroughgoing theology of nature in Julian, the corporeality of her experience of God is not emphasized.
2. See Wright, "Birthing Jesus,"23-44, for a discussion of contemplation as internalization of symbol leading to a subsequent reemergence of the symbol in visions.
3. Petroff, in Consolation of the Blessed, 59-66, classifies these visions as "participatory."
4. Ackerman and Dahood, eds. and trans., Ancrene Riwle, 18, 35, 57, and 63. For example, "Let her meditate, at about midday who can, or some time, on God's cross as much as she can and on his precious torment ... and say such a prayer as this: We adore you, O Christ. We adore your cross.... Hail, holy cross.... wood triumphant" (69).
5. Leclercq, preface to Julian of Norwich, trans. Colledge and Walsh, 11.
6. This notion of an ontological feminine allies itself more readily with dual than with single anthropology feminism, and with "romantic" feminism than with liberal feminism. See Rosemary Radford Ruether's Sexism and God-Talk ( Boston: Beacon Press, 1983) for discussion of this latter typology.
7. The only exception occurs when she demurs that she is "a woman, ignorant, weak and frail," but at the same time asks, "But because I am a woman, ought I therefore to believe that I should not tell you of the goodness of God ..." ( Colledge and Walsh, trans., vi. 135; Colledge and Walsh, eds., 1:222). (References to the latter [the critical edition] appear with volume and page number; vol. 1 indicates the short text and vol. 2 the long text.) The topos of the frailty of the female gender does not invade her writings as it does those of the twelfth-century prophetess and saint, Hildegard of Bingen. See Newman, Sister of Wisdom, especially chap. 1.
8. Leclercq, preface to Julian of Norwich, trans. Colledge and Walsh, 11.
9. William James, Varieties of Religious Experience ( New York: New American Library, 1958), 298.
10. In one of the more striking instances of this emphasis on seeing, she says, "when we see god we hafe that we desyre, and than nedes vs nought to praye" ( Colledge and Walsh, eds., 1:26I).

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