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474 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE terrifying, given that the wilderness in this quartet represents the place where we human beings can make choices and work out our destinies. Willis' fantasy quartet makes the argument that we need people of both sexes who will do the work women have done over the centuries-to defend the weak and to protect what grows naturally. Jeanne Murray Walker University of Delaware Julian of Norwich, Theologian. By Denys Turner. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011. ISBN978-0300163919. Pp. xxvi + 262. $40.00. When St. John of the Cross wrote a commentary on St. Teresa of Avila's account of her prayer, Teresa concluded her unenthusiastic response with the words, "Nonetheless, we are grateful to him for having explained so well what we did not ask:' I could imagine Julian of Norwich saying something similar about Denys Turner's systematic analysis of her Revelation of Love. The key to appreciating Turner's book is to keep continually in mind his intent: "This is less a book about Julian's Revelation and more a set of reflections occasioned by it, a set of variations on a theme of Julian" (xiii), Viewed through this lens, the book becomes engaging and presents much for consideration. Indeed, as Turner notes, "It is not easy to write about Julian'stheology in the accepted styles of the academic theologian" (216), and he is at his best when he shifts to the more meditative style of the book's later chapters. His aptly chosen epigraph is Julian'spostscript: "This boke is begonne by Goddes gifte and his grace, but it is not yet performed, as to my sight:' Julian continues, "For charite pray we alle togeder, with Goddes wurking: thanking, trusting, enjoyeng,"It is Turner's performance of the text, his learned, yet deeply personal thanking, trusting, and enjoying, that make this work the valuable contribution it is. Denys Turner began his distinguished career as a philosopher of Marxism, gradually shiftedhisattention to systematictheology,and retires thisyearasprofessor of historical theology at Yale. His book on Julian reflects this intellectual trajectory: its initial approach to the text is more characteristic of the methodology of analytic philosophy and systematic theology than of the interdisciplinary, contextualizing approach used by medievalist scholars of Julian. The book has two parts, entitled "Providence and Sin" and "Sin and Salvation:' Part 1will be especiallyinteresting to philosophers and theologians-and especiallytroubling to medievalists. As Turner acknowledges in the preface, his purpose isto determine "whether Julian'stheology meets a minimum condition for qualifying as systematic, the minimum condition BOOK REVIEWS 475 for which being that it isat least not formally inconsistent" (xvi).While the question of whether Julian'stext conforms to requirements determined by twentieth-century philosophical methods may be a fascinating one for their practitioners to ponder, medievalists may place it in the category of "what we [and Julian] did not ask:' Turner's imagined audience is his students who "have made their way through the Long Text [of Iulian] at least once and are strongly drawn to Julian'ssympathetic mind, but are as puzzled by her theologically as they are attracted to her spiritually" (xix), He seems to presume that these students have taken Systematic Theology I and can follow discussions of logical formalism, but the uncritical contextualizing historical background he provides will not serve them well. We are told (without documentation) that Julian professed vows "as nuns, monks and friars do" (13), and that she lived according to a rule "insofar as the thirteenth-century Ancrene Wisse may be called a rule" (13). There is in fact no evidence that Julian ever made a religious profession or followed the Ancrene Wisse or any rule. She is said to be "consecrated by the ritual of the burial service" that designates her anchorhold as a tomb (15). Again, there is no evidence that Julian was ritually consecrated as an anchoress, and if she was, recent studies show that most such rituals did not mention burial or speak of the cell as a tomb. Some of the questions Turner takes up seem to be non-issues. He states repeatedly that Julian is no mystic, "at least not in the Jamesian sense" (28, 29...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 474-477
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-04
Open Access
No
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