This essay questions the current critical attitude toward medieval understandings of the body. It tests the limits of the contemporary “corporeal turn” by reassessing a textual crux in Julian of Norwich's A Revelation of Love. Contesting the dominant, defecatory reading of the “fair purse” passage, it argues that interpretation of the image of the purse has suffered at the expense of current preoccupation with the material and allegedly digressive body. The essay uses lexical evidence to demonstrate the significance of ingestion as much as digestion to Julian's image, and to align the passage with her thought elsewhere in A Revelation. Ultimately, it argues that the full resonance of the passage lies in its relationship to the sacrament of the altar. This article thus contributes to debates on religion and the body, and more specifically to underexamined eucharistic dimensions of the body in Julian's theology.

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