In A Revelation of Love, Julian of Norwich employs the similitude of Christ as a mother and the Christian as his child to describe and explore the relationship between God and humanity. Theologians, literary critics, and historians alike have studied the theological and epistemological ramifications of Christ’s motherhood. This essay contributes to that discussion, as well as to a broader theological conversation on medieval conceptions of sin and penance, by attending to the critically neglected figure in this relationship: the child. Julian’s depiction of the person as a “meek childe” strives to understand sin, guilt, and culpability within the constraints of humanity’s limited self- knowledge. Julian both works within and transcends established scriptural and penitential traditions of representing childhood, childlikeness, and the related quality of meekness, a key virtue in penitential materials. Julian’s child becomes a hermeneutic model for reading Revelation as well as a creative engagement with medieval understandings of sin and self-knowledge.

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