Pain and Epiphany

Julian of Norwich’ Revelations of Divine Love as pathography

  • Cathinka Dahl Hambro


This article discusses the medieval English mystic Julian of Norwich’s autobiographical text Revelations of Divine Love and the significance of physical pain in Julian’s holy visions. Applying Anne H. Hawkins’ idea of the ‘myth of rebirth’, the article argues that although Julian’s work is not a narrative about illness as such, it may nevertheless be read as a medieval pathography or as a representative for a pre-stage genre of the modern pathography. Moreover, by applying theories on the phenomenology of pain, it discusses whether we may learn something today from the way in which medieval religious writers found a theological meaning in pain and whether painful experiences may help develop positive character traits.

Hambro, C. (2019). Pain and Epiphany. Tidsskrift for Forskning I Sygdom Og Samfund, 16(31).