An Explorer's Guide to Julian of Norwich, By Veronica Mary Rolf alt

An Explorer's Guide to Julian of Norwich

Explorer's Guides

by Veronica Mary Rolf

An Explorer's Guide to Julian of Norwich
  • Length: 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 0 × 0 in
  • Published: June 12, 2018
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 8737
  • ISBN: 9780830887378

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IVP Readers' Choice Award
Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love is truly an astounding work: an inspired example of Christian mysticism, a unique contribution to Christian theology, the first book in English known to have been written by a woman.

But it can also be a daunting work. Veronica Mary Rolf, who has been studying Julian's text for decades, serves as a trustworthy guide for readers willing to take up and read Julian's work.

Rolf not only sets Julian's life and text in its fourteenth-century context, but she also sheds light on each of Julian's sixteen revelations. She then digs deeper into Julian's theological themes, including her innovative mystical theology of the "motherhood of God," and she offers a chapter on developing a retreat based on Julian's work. Throughout, Rolf takes a deeply contemplative approach to Julian, illuminating our understanding of this extraordinary woman, her enduring work, and the revelation that "all shall be well."

Books in the Explorer's Guide series are accessible guidebooks for those studying the great Christian texts and theologians from church history, helping readers explore the context in which these texts were written and navigate the rich yet complex terrain of Christian theology.

"Rolf plumbs Julian's spiritual audacity in this must-read for those interested in medieval Christianity and literature."

Publishers Weekly

"The grand and optimistic vision of Lady Julian is fully presented and profoundly supported in this excellent guide by Veronica Mary Rolf. I have been fed for many years by Julian, but this is a new and generous feeding. It can serve as a first-time introduction to this marvelous mystic or a fifth-time deeper journey."

Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico

"Rolf’s work is more than an informative guide by an expert in Julian scholarship. The reader begins to feel the heartbeat of this great mystic as the author works around key texts and highlights choice quotations. This could only have come from someone who is intimately acquainted with her. Whether one is a first-time or seasoned explorer, this book will not disappoint."

Simon Chan, Trinity Theological College, Singapore

"Veronica Mary Rolf skillfully reveals the historical significance and contemporary relevance of Julian of Norwich. In our renewed interest in the writings of Christian spirituality, Lady Julian can instruct us in the centrality of the Trinity, the nature of sin and grace, God’s providence, and suffering and prayer. Rolf serves as a wise and gentle guide to illuminate both first time and seasoned readers. This book is deeply learned and highly practical."

Tom Schwanda, associate professor of Christian formation and ministry at Wheaton College

"Taking on the role of tour guide, Veronica Mary Rolf leads us on an engaging, vivid, and historically rich journey with Julian of Norwich. A figure both familiar and mystifying, Julian comes into view with gentle clarity through Rolf's accessible and deeply researched voice. I highly recommend this book to spiritual seekers, retreat leaders, and scholars alike."

Jennifer Davidson, American Baptist Seminary of the West, Graduate Theological Union

"With an encyclopedic knowledge unfolded with the lightest of touches in a beautiful, soigné text, Veronica Mary Rolf enables us to travel back in time and vividly inhabit Julian’s fourteenth-century Norwich as well as her remarkable life and writings. Rolf’s guide is so brilliant that when we reluctantly return to our equally troubled twenty-first century, Julian travels with us and intimately inhabits and transforms our world and outlook. Stunning, unforgettable, and life changing."

David Wilbourne, honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of York

"Julian of Norwich is an underappreciated gem—she belongs alongside Augustine and Aquinas as one of the greatest of Christian spiritual guides. Thanks to Veronica Mary Rolf, the life and teachings of this great mystic are more accessible than ever. An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich offers a clear and insightful introduction to Julian, one of the treasures of our faith."

Carl McColman, author of Befriending Silence and Answering the Contemplative Call

"Julian of Norwich is among the most radiant of Christian mystics. The radiance is all the brighter for Julian's frankness in questioning the darkness she experienced in her culture and in herself in a deeply troubled time. The unequivocal and insatiable love of God for all his creatures rings in her words throughout her book. Veronica Mary Rolf is a scholar with a deep heart that probes the mysteries Julian probes and uses her historical and textual research to shed clarity and light on Julian's teaching that speaks to our own time with increasing urgency."

Andrew Marr, OSB, author of Moving and Resting in God's Desire, abbot of St. Gregory's Abbey in Three Rivers, MI

"Those of us who have been living with Julian's writings for a number of decades have good cause to be deeply grateful for the work of Veronica Mary Rolf. . . . An Explorer's Guide to Julian of Norwich contextualizes Revelations of Divine Love succinctly yet by no means superficially. The author has a happy gift of knowing her readers' questions before they are asked; she is a trustworthy and profoundly reliable guide. She illuminates God's revelations to Julian and then digs more deeply into Julian's central themes. Her book closes with a chapter on developing a retreat centered on Julian's writings."

Luke Penkett, Magistra, 24.2, Summer 2018

"IVP's Explorer's Guides aim to deliver serious yet approachable works of non-evangelical thinkers to mainstream audiences. Rolf's book is no exception, but it will be welcomed by anyone curious about Julian of Norwich and mystical theology."

James Wetherbee, Library Journal, June 1, 2018

"The reader desiring to navigate Julian's text for the first time, to seek God's presence through it, and to engage the challenges and biggest questions of a life of faith will find in Rolf a knowledgeable, personable, inspiring, and faithful guide."

Brian Dant, Reading Religion, October 23, 2018

"Author and scholar Veronica Mary Rolf delights in her subject, Julian of Norwich, the medieval mystic who was an anchoress enclosed for 25 years. Rolf's just published book, An Explorer's Guide to Julian of Norwich, brings us into the world of a woman who counsels us not just to love God, but 'to clothe ourselves in the love of God.'"

Liz Dossa, Catholic San Francisco, July 12, 2018

Read an Excerpt


A Note on Citations

Part I: Getting to Know Julian of Norwich
1. Why Julian Now?
2. Who Was Julian?
3. Intriguing Questions About Julian
4. A Brief History of Julian's Texts
5. Glossary of Julian’s Terms

Part II: Exploring Julia's Revelations of Divine Love
6. A Guided Tour of Julian's Revelations
7. Digging Deeper into Julian's Themes
8. A Retreat with Julian's Revelations
9. For Further Exploration

Author Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Veronica Mary Rolf

Veronica Mary Rolf is an independent scholar of medieval studies, educated at Columbia University; an academic lecturer; a professional playwright; and a master teacher of dramatic arts in New York, London, Buenos Aires, and Berkeley. She is the author of the award-winning Julian's Gospel: Illuminating the Life & Revelations of Julian of Norwich.