Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Anne Savage




This thesis is an examination of the relationship between Julian of Norwich's theological concepts and some of the rhetorical figures that she uses to describe those concepts. The sixteen revelations presented in the long text of Julian's Showings are a combination of her visions and her own conclusions on their meaning after twenty years of contemplation. Julian's Showings are an attempt to reveal to her readers a divine experience that she often claims is beyond her words. Significantly, her verbal structures often become mimetic representations of her theological beliefs through the use of rhetorical figures. Chapters One through Seven deal respectively with inclusio, complexio, dissolutio, contentio, chiasmus and commutatio, adnominatio, and traductio. Through their patterns of repetition and balance, these figures highlight various aspects of the implicit relationship between humans and the Divinity, humans and humans, and even between the Divinity and the Divinity. Often, her figures serve to reconcile apparent opposites or bring various parts into a unified whole. Julian's theology is one of divine love and the unification between God and humanity; her rhetorical figures serve as the instruments that turn her visionary words into theologically mimetic structures.

McMaster University Library