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Reviews christopher abbot, Julian ofNorwich: Autobiography and Theology. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1999. Studies in Medieval Mysticism 2. Pp. xiv, 197. Bibliography, index. isbn: 0-85991-548-4. $60. When Sister Ritamary Bradley titled her hook, Julian's Way: A Practical Commentary, she called attention to the need to not only study, but to live, Julian's contemplative life. Sister Benedicta Ward, however, stated that Julian was never a nun. Christopher Abbot has bravely sailed into this storm and written an academic book that overflows boundaries, bringing to it his sharing ofJulian's life, himself knowing both worlds, ofthe university and ofthe monastery. He readsJulian in lectio divina, and his reading is wide and deep. Much Julian scholarship is secondary, scholars quoting scholars, building upon faulty premises. The major fault lies in the commonly believed ordering ofJulian's texts, the Short Text first, the LongText later, and the Westminster Text ignored. An edition ofthe Julian ofNorwich ShowingofLove manuscripts and their more probable ordering is about to be published. Christopher Abbot has mercifully not set about proving the progress from one text to the other, but instead sought to understand Julian. On page 8, Abbot queries 'xxx' as being 'yowth.' But in the Lynn, Norfolk, Promptorium Parvulorum (Early English Text Society, Extra Series 102, 'Agis sevyn,' column 7), we are given the Roman sense of youth as up to fifty, certainly beyond thirty, years of age. In his careful reading of her text he becomes aware that she is speaking of an earlier time and desire, prior to her vision and her writing of the Showing. He parallels her autobiographical strategy to John in his Gospel. He notes parallels also to Catherine ofSiena and Birgitta ofSweden's writings. And he speaks of Benedict's Rule, Guigo Hs Scala, Augustine's Confessions, Bernard's On the Song of Songs, Aelred's De Institutione Inclusarum, on contemplative lectio divina. Especially fine is his perception, 'The mystical coinherence through Christ ofthe personal and the ecclesiological implies a dissolution of the gap between Julian as differentiated subject of religious experience and the total community of her fellow Christians' (45). His chapters on the Lord and the Servant use Anselm and Augustine, and discuss the slade as also the Virgin's womb. Those on The City of God discuss the enclosing Adam/Christ. 'Human nature was/is created in a primary sense for Christ himselfso as to be shared with all human beings, the adopted children ofthe Father and Christ's own brothers and sisters' (114). He then cites Julian, 'Thus our lady is our moder in whome we are all beclosid and of hir borne in Christ; for that she is moder of our savior is moder of all that shall be savid in our savior' (160). He ARTHURIANA 9.4 (1999) 116 REVIEWS117 continues by saying, 'much more important to Julian than the details of Mary's appearance are "the wisedam and the trueth of hir soule,"' for she is 'fulfillid of grace,' of Gabriel's words 'gratia plena,' (161). He ends with the womb image, the birthing, the beginning, citing the work of my former colleague, Edward P. Nolan. This book is highly recommended for all Julian scholars and lovers. JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAY Hermit of the Holy Family, Fiesole, Italy barbara ?. altmann, The Love Debate Poems ofChristine de Pizan. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1998. Pp. 294; 4 illus. isbn: 0-8130-1478-2. $49.95. This is a beautifully produced, scholarly edition ofChristine de Pizan's three debate poems, Le Livre du Débat de deux amans, Le Livre des Troisjugemens, ana Le Livre du Dit de Poissy; all were composed in 1400 or shortly thereafter. Prepared by an expert on Christine's debate poems, this is the only modern edition other than Maurice Roy's in his Oeuvrespoétiques de Christine de Pisan (1886-96). The two lovers' debate revolves around the question ofwhether love is a source ofgreater good or suffering for loyal lovers; the Livredes Troisjugemens considers three cases ofamorous infidelity; the first half of Le Livre du Dit de Poissy recounts in detail Christine's visit to her daughter at the Convent ofPoissy, followed by two stories...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1539
Print ISSN
1078-6279
Pages
pp. 116-117
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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