The transformation from existential to theoretical theodicy in the work of Julian of Norwich

Anonsen, Maureen (2002) The transformation from existential to theoretical theodicy in the work of Julian of Norwich. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Much has been written about Julian of Norwich's theological conclusions that alle schalle be wele and that loue was his menyng. Less attention has been paid to how Julian arrived at these affirmations. It is herein argued that an examination of the two direct questions Julian asked God during her visionary experience demonstrates that theodicy was her purpose. Essentially, Julian was struggling with the most religious of all questions: how could she reconcile the existence of a loving God with the prevalence of suffering and evil in her world? Her world consisted of plague, war, and pestilence, and because every aspect of medieval life held symbolic religious meaning, interpreted and delivered by the Church, social conditions of life could not be disentangled from one's religiosity. These two aspects of Julian's consciousness, her medieval world and the religious meaning assigned to it, are crucial to one's understanding of Julian's central theological concern and are reflected in her questions to God. Julian's vision is an optimistic answer to her anxieties, and although it provided direct emotional consolation, it did not leave her intellectually satisfied. Julian would spend another twenty years studying her visionary insights before the deeper theological meaning surfaced. This intellectual examination transformed Julian's work from an existential theodicy to an enduring theoretical theodicy with which she could be satisfied. This thesis will examine that progression.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1552
Item ID: 1552
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 120-126
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Religious Studies
Date: 2002
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Julian, of Norwich, b. 1343; Theodicy; Good and evil--Religious aspects

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