Jantzen, Grace M. 1948-

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JANTZEN, Grace M. 1948-


Born 1948, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; daughter of a farming couple. Education: University of Saskatchewan, B.A., M.A. (philosophy); University of Calgary, Ph.D. (philosophy); Oxford University, D.Phil. (theology). Religion: Society of Friends (Quakers). Hobbies and other interests: Playing the cello.


Office—Centre for Religion, Culture, and Gender, Department of Religions and Theology, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, England. E-mail—[email protected].


University of Manchester, Manchester, England, research professor of religion, culture, and gender and associate director of Centre for Religion, Culture and Gender.


God's World, God's Body, Westminster Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1984.

Julian of Norwich: Mystic and Theologian, Paulist Press (New York, NY), 1988, 2nd editon, 2000.

Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

Becoming Divine: Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Religion, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1999.

Editor of book series on religion, culture, and gender for Manchester University Press. Contributor to scholarly periodicals.


The multi-volume promect "Death and the Displacement of Beauty"; studying the sedimentation of violence in Western culture and peaceful alternatives.


Grace M. Jantzen is a philosopher of religion whose interests include medieval Christian mysticism, feminist constructs in religion, and systems of thought that counter Western preoccupations with violence and death. Jantzen's body of work on these and other topics has found an audience on both sides of the Atlantic. To quote David A. Pailin in Religious Studies, she has provided "a welcome contribution to current theological understanding and …creative insights that deserve serious consideration."

Julian of Norwich: Mystic and Theologian presents not only the writings of the medieval female mystic but also illuminates details of her life and the political/religious climate in which she found herself. Jantzen makes the important distinction between a self-centered mysticism and one like Julian's that was founded in her relationship with Christ and her understanding of His teachings. As Ellen L. Babinsky put it in Church History, Jantzen's book "participates in the discussion regarding the validity of religious experience and is a helpful contribution to the secondary literature analyzing the thought of Julian of Norwich." In her Journal of Religion review of the same title, Caroline Walker Bynum suggested that Jantzen "has written a sensitive explication of the theology of Julian of Norwich."

Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism is a philosophical exploration of the role gender plays in Christian mystical experiences, their interpretations, and their contribution to religious empowerment. Jantzen explores the history of women's Christian mysticism, demonstrating that it sometimes brought faithful Christians under suspicion in a patriarchal society. Jantzen also suggests that female mysticism is more socially acceptable now because mysticism in general has been marginalized. In the Times Literary Supplement, Monica Furlong observed: "Jantzen's comments on mysticism are part of a feminist intention, which is to show how remorselessly through the centuries women were excluded from important areas of religious debate." In Commonweal, Lawrence S. Cunningham noted that Jantzen "makes a sustained argument that one must not only understand Christian mysticism in terms of historical context but, and this is the burden of her work, a serious investigation of gender will greatly change how one views mystical experience."



Choice, September, 1996, C. MacCormick, review of Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism, p. 144; November, 1999, E. O. Springsted, review of Becoming Divine: Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Religion, pp. 556-557.

Church History, March, 1990, Ellen L. Babinsky, review of Julian of Norwich: Mystic and Theologian, pp. 81-82.

Commonweal, November 22, 1996, Lawrence S. Cunningham, review of Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism, p. 29.

Journal of Religion, April, 1990, Caroline Walker Bynum, review of Julian of Norwich, pp. 310-311.

Religious Studies, December, 1984, David A. Pailin, review of God's World, God's Body, pp. 688-692; September, 1989, Ann Loades, review of Julian of Norwich, pp. 403-405.

Scottish Journal of Religious Studies, spring, 1998, "Necrophilia and Natality: What Does It Mean to Be Religious?"

Times Literary Supplement, March 22, 1996, Monica Furlong, "What the Beguines Began," p. 10.


University of Manchester, Department of Religions and Theology,http://www.art.man.ac.uk/RELTHEOL/(November 4, 2003), "Professor Grace Jantzen."

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