This session covered aspects of Julian’s positive and pastoral theology.
“I saw Everlasting certainty powerfully sustained without any fear… at peace and rest… then my mind turned and I was disgusted with myself. I could go on in faith, hope and charity, but feel them so little.”
“God keeps us safe in sorrow and joy. . . and sin is not always the cause . . . but both came from one love.”
This is a short introduction by Professor Anthony Thiselton to his book ‘Doubt, Faith & Certainty’ taken from EerdWord, the official blog of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
The exquisite word ‘bumptiousness‘ makes a rare but welcome appearance!
Here are just some of the great resources I’ve found over the years, and here they are in no particular order (compiling this short list here does not necessarily mean I wholly subscribe to all the associated groups or persons’ theology, just that they have some very important things to say that are nevertheless, worthwhile and valuable):
John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, is an internationally renowned speaker on the interface of science, philosophy and religion. He regularly teaches at many academic institutions including the Said Business School, Wycliffe Hall and the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, as well as also being a Senior Fellow with the Trinity Forum. He has written a series of books exploring the relationship between science and Christianity and he has also participated in a number of televised debates with some of the world?s leading atheist thinkers.
It was suggested that where Julian is positive about curiosity, Thomas Aquinas wasn’t (I think this thought does not ring true and needs a lot more work on it to justify it). If one can’t see the Summa as an exercise in curiosity from one of the greatest minds ever to exist in the universe, then I don’t know what to say!
Julian: “Fullness of joy is to see God in everything.”
Marjorie Kempe was a contemporary of Julian and visited her and wrote to her.
In one letter Marjorie laments at the end of a thought about sin: “Alas that I ever did sin. It is full merry in heaven.”
This is insightful because of the way this perspective compares with Julian.
Julian said there are Three Knowledges:
- To know God
- To know ourselves (that we are through Him in nature and grace).
- To know our sin and weakness
A few years ago, David Bentley Hart wrote a review of a book called: 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists, co-edited by Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk. On Amazon the book is described thus:
“50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists presents a collection of original essays drawn from an international group of prominent voices in the fields of academia, science, literature, media and politics who offer carefully considered statements of why they are atheists.”
Hart’s original article can be found at the First Things website, but here’s a snippet of his sigh-ings against what he delicately calls the “sheer banality of the New Atheists”:
“How long should we waste our time with the sheer banality of the New Atheists—with, that is, their childishly Manichean view of history, their lack of any tragic sense, their indifference to the cultural contingency of moral “truths,” their wanton incuriosity, their vague babblings about “religion” in the abstract, and their absurd optimism regarding the future they long for? . . .
A truly profound atheist is someone who has taken the trouble to understand, in its most sophisticated forms, the belief he or she rejects, and to understand the consequences of that rejection. Among the New Atheists, there is no one of whom this can be said, and the movement as a whole has yet to produce a single book or essay that is anything more than an insipidly doctrinaire and appallingly ignorant diatribe.
If that seems a harsh judgment, I can only say that I have arrived at it honestly. In the course of writing a book published just this last year, I dutifully acquainted myself not only with all the recent New Atheist bestsellers, but also with a whole constellation of other texts in the same line, and I did so, I believe, without prejudice. No matter how patiently I read, though, and no matter how Herculean the efforts I made at sympathy, I simply could not find many intellectually serious arguments in their pages, and I came finally to believe that their authors were not much concerned to make any. . . .
I came to realize that the whole enterprise, when purged of its hugely preponderant alloy of sanctimonious bombast, is reducible to only a handful of arguments, most of which consist in simple category mistakes or the kind of historical oversimplifications that are either demonstrably false or irrelevantly true. And arguments of that sort are easily dismissed, if one is hardy enough to go on pointing out the obvious with sufficient indefatigability.”
Julian of Norwich (1342-1430) ‘Love was His meaning’
The metaphors flood the imagination as Julian describes the blood flowing/pouring from Christ’s head as He hung on the Cross.
Beads; Herring scales; Rain drops.
What are we to make of this?
Does Julian revel or even enjoy seeing/describing this event?
Julian asks a question after reflection, that is meant to take one by surprise: ‘What is sin?’