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Joy to the Father, Bliss to the Son:
Unity and the Motherhood Theology
of Julian of Norwich

Kathryn L. Reinhard

This article explores the deeply Trinitarian nature of the motherhood theology in Julian of Norwich’s Revelation of Divine Love. In her primary theological metaphor, Julian describes Christ as our true mother, the model of perfect, nurturing, sustaining love; our earthly mothers are analogous to this pre-existing divine reality. As our true mother, Christ has a unique soteriological capacity, reconciling humanity both to the Godhead and to each other. Through this primary metaphor, in combination with her Marian theology, Julian portrays the female body as a legitimate locus of incarnation and divinization. Julian denies neither the maleness of the historical Jesus, nor the concept of God the Father; her motherhood theology complements these models, taking a biological relationship to its theological conclusion. The result is a profoundly holistic concept of the Triune God, of creation, and of human relationship. Julian’s motherhood theology is a rich contribution to Trinitarian theology, offering profound insights for human beings both as cherished recipients of God’s love and as capable of profound union with God and each other.

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