ABSTRACT

This article argues for the centrality of a neglected theme in the writings of Julian of Norwich: pleasure. To argue for the theme’s centrality, the author focuses on Julian’s Short Text, A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman. In the expanded Long Text, there are themes added unto pleasure; however, Julian’s theology of pleasure remains fundamental to the dynamic of the text. Looking at the Short Text enables us to see how the theme is established. When one pays attention to pleasure (or, in Julian’s English, likinge), its importance to the text is remarkable. In fact, the author argues that the transformation of pain into pleasure is a motif that is basic to Julian’s whole visionary experience. Characteristically, she also orchestrates a theology around the theme, connecting pleasure to God’s relation to human beings, the intertrinitarian relations, and how human beings are supposed to relate to themselves. In short: once this theme is highlighted, a rich theology of pleasure reveals itself.

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