Journal Article

Shifting Perspectives: Sin and Salvation in Julian's <i>A Revelation of Love</i>

Abram Van Engen

in Literature and Theology

Volume 23, issue 1, pages 1-17
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frn035
Shifting Perspectives: Sin and Salvation in Julian's A Revelation of Love

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In A Revelation of Love, Julian of Norwich has a problem: Holy Church blames humans for sin, but God does not. Julian's solution lies in her Parable of the Lord and the Servant, which, I argue, does not reconcile this contradiction, but instead embraces it. The resulting doctrine of salvation envisions a back-and-forth shift of perspectives—from blame to blamelessness—that finally terminates in heavenly union with God. The essay ends by situating Julian's soteriology in its medieval context, arguing that what was once a corrective message of love in a culture centered on God's wrath has often become today a message of self-esteem in a culture centered on God's love.

Journal Article.  8686 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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