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Title: The theology of contemplative prayer : the Shewings of Julian of Norwich and its later appropriations
Author: Hilton, C. E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2006
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Part One, in three sections, states the hypothesis and elucidates Julian’s theology of contemplative prayer from the text of the Shewings. In the first section Julian’s traditional theology is advanced in the strategy of ‘beholding’ the passion, where visual imagery is appropriated intellectually thus informing will. This complex movement brings the worshipper into the participative union of ‘oneing’ with God giving to the Christian, thus participating in the life of God in the suffering Christ, a theological anthropology of humble love. In the second section it is shown how this strategy is grounded in her complex devotional and liturgical life, where regular beholding of the passion gives way to the Eucharist. In the third section it is argued that the nuns of the English Benedictine Congregation continue in this theology of contemplative prayer by holding to sufficiently similar ethnographic particulars as Julian in their appropriation of the Shewings. By way of comparison the various appropriations of a wide range of adherents to other notions of mysticism serve to demonstrate the hypothesis of the liturgical and devotional formation of the theology of contemplative prayer found. Part Two, in three sections, tests the initial hypothesis and develops it. In the fourth section this is achieved through analysis of the tradition of mystical theology in which Julian wrote, from the Pseudo-Denys, Augustine and Bonaventure. In the fifth section modern theologies are introduced from Anselm Stolz, Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, which further elucidate the liturgical, Christological and Trinitarian themes of Julian’s work and check against other forms. In the sixth section there is contemporary philosophical analysis of the modern move to posit the a priori event of a common core of pure consciousness against the particular theological and cultural forms which shaped texts such as the Shewings. This widespread abandonment of the ethnographic particulars that formed the theology of contemplative prayer of the Shewings, and maintained in the best of its appropriations, has brought about a misreading of the text, which this thesis endeavours to rectify.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available