Few texts have held such interest or been the object of such enduring devotion as has Julian of Norwich’s classic, A Revelation of Love. John Skinner’s translation offers today’s reader the immediacy of one of the most powerful books in the English language. Julian’s message of God’s intimate and enabling love is revealed as both beguiling and inescapable. The poetry and rhythmic structure of the original Middle-English are respected, and her earthy and direct style is still discernible. Julian’s key ideas and her unique system of thought are expertly introduced by a brief commentary at the head of each chapter, together with further informative footnotes and a detailed glossary. Julian of Norwich was born sometime in December 1342 and probably lived until around 1430. We do not know the exact dates of her birth and death, or even her real name, but we do know the exact date of her Revelation, 8th May 1373. Julian lived as an anchorite, a hermit walled up in a couple of rooms propped up against the walls of St Julian’s Church in Conesford Street, Norwich, following a strict religious life.
The tradition of English mysticism was at its height in the late-fourteenth century, and Julian’s own writing can be seen as part of this development in spirituality. A mystic has a heightened awareness of the presence of God, and through this receives direct tangible communication from Him. Julian’s message is that this does not mean the mystic is an extraordinary person, set apart from the rest of us – rather there is a mystic in all of us, if only we will attend. All our common calling in this life is to come to know God and experience the touchings of His love. There can be no doubt that Lady Julian is the greatest of the English mystics. Thomas Merton John Skinner is well known as a writer and lecturer on spirituality, with a special interest in the English mystics. Formerly a journalist with The Times. he was a Jesuit for thirteen years. It was while he was still a novice that he found Julian’s mystical writing, setting in process a lifelong relationship with Julian’s mystical path.