“SIN IS BEHOVELY” IN JULIAN OF NORWICH's REVELATIONS OF DIVINE LOVE

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Abstract

Julian, showing no inclination to accept the ‘free-will’ defence nonetheless says that “sin is behovely”. She cannot mean by this that sin is necessary within the created order nor can she mean that it is completely contingent and outside the remit of divine providence. Sin's being behovely means, I argue, that it is conveniens, in a sense recognisable within some standard medieval scholastic theologies. This is to say that sin ‘fits’ with some story which God wills, a story of salvation history, in the way that events in any narrative can be said to ‘fit’ with the narrative they are events within. That for Julian we do not and cannot know the story shows her commitment to a negative theology.

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