My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Review: Julian of Norwich: And the Mystical Body Politic of Christ

Julian of Norwich: And the Mystical Body Politic of Christ Julian of Norwich: And the Mystical Body Politic of Christ by Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book: ***
Performance: ***

Not for the Faint of Heart

It’s an academic piece, so performance wise it was adequate. This book itself was a look into the writings of Julian of Norwich, who is created with writing one of the earliest surviving english language works by a woman. While living as an anchoress in a cell at St Julian Church in Norwich, she became seriously ill and experienced several (16) visions; after which wrote them done into what would become known as the short text [The Showings]. Much later, she reexamined those visions and attempted to explain them better in what would become known as the long text [of Julian’s Revelations of Divine Love]. The net result is that her writings show a fairly mystical , while at the same time very corporal, understanding God’s love and redemptive desire for man, primarily from an aspect of the feminine/motherhood … all of which makes her somewhat dated works difficult to fully comprehend by a modern, casual reader such as me. It was my hope this book would make her more accessible. It did not.

I say this because this is first and foremost a philosophical/theological examination … to which the use of language that is rarely seen outside those genres that make what is presented quite dense, nuanced and difficult to understand. Placing Julians concepts within other medieval mystics and thinkers further exacerbate the struggle. In the end, I don’t really know how to even summarize the primary point beyond a general feel that bodily suffering somehow reveals the Love of God. I did get some insight into how woman of that time were treated … but then I really didn’t need to that to know how complete weird and hard and oppressive the life of woman then.

Introduction (0:04)
Chapter 1: Imagining the Political (1:31)
Chapter 2: I Desired a Bodily Sight (1:17)
Chapter 3: A Fair and Delectable Place - Part 1 (1:19)
Chapter 4: A Fair and Delectable Place - Part 2(1:20)
Chapter 5: A Continuant Laborer - Part 1 (1:25)
Chapter 6: A Continuant Laborer - Part 2 (1:17)
Conclusion: Performing the Book (0:31)
Appendix: Who Was Julian of Norwich (0:26)

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#JulianOfNorwich #FreeAudiobookCodes

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.