Saturday, September 24, 2005

After reading about Julian of Norwich’s background in the “Women Interpreting Scripture in the Middle Ages,” I thought that her writings would be closely based on Scripture. However, what she wrote about sin in Chapter 38, made me question how Biblical her writings actually were. I was surprised how she described sin as a way to gain honour. It was as though she made sin seem less serious than scripture indicates. The Bible says that sin leads to spiritual death (Roman 6:23). I found that the optimistic view of sin Norwich described belittled the severity and damage sin can cause in a person’s life.
This is not to say that there were not Biblical ideas in her writings. In fact, parts of what she wrote referred to Biblical truths. For instance, in Chapter 3 I did agree with some of the things that she wrote about God. For example, it was Biblically accurate when she talked about God as the creator, and His loving nature. In Genesis the Bible says: “In the beginning God Created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) Also, the Bible describes God as love: “…for God is love” (1 John 4:8). In chapter three Norwich put great emphasis on how powerful God is and how much people need Him. It was interesting how she depicted her personal experience and what she believed about God. In Chapter three when she described being ill, the strength of her faith was evident. She truly trusted in God and looked towards heaven. It made me think about how encouraging this would be for other people who are sick or suffering if they could trust in God as Norwich explained.

Margery Kempe’s writings, “From The Book of Margery Kempe,” demonstrated how deeply she wanted to serve God. The intensity of emotion she felt when she thought of Jesus death was very evident: “And she had so great compassion and so great pain to see our Lord’s pain that she might not keep herself from crying and roaring though she should ‘a been dead therefore.”(Pilgrimage to Jerusalem) Kempe’s emotion in her writing revealed that she was able to visualize and think of the hardships Jesus had to undergo. It was interesting to read about a person who constantly thought about God and was striving to do what she believed He wanted her to. Her lack of concern of what others thought when she had emotional outbursts displayed that she had strong faith and belief in God. “And they were most displeased because she wept so much and spoke always of the love and goodness of Our Lord, as much at the table as in other places” (Chapter 26). It appears that Kempe truly put God first in her writings.


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Blogger ebeyea said...

I think because the Bible is so contradicting and seems a bit hard to fully understand she took what she could from it and understood it in her own way. She hasn't done anything different from anyone else writing about the Bible or religion, she just said something more shocking than most women at that time would have said.

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Blogger ebeyea said...

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8:19 AM

Blogger Martha said...

Wow, I was reading through your blog about the contradictory language she used in her writing, and it really took me by surprise. I can honestly say I wasn't familiar with any of that, nor did I even realize that...So thanks for putting that out there! As well I also agree that she probably did take her own turn on the Bible and perhaps even wrote about it with her own spin on it as well. Its so interesting to see different interpretations on the idea...

6:11 PM


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