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"There is a rich tradition of wonderful women and other contemplatives who are great resources for thinking differently about Christianity. They emphasized divine love, human compassion, and the radical possibilities of contemplative practices. They were not afraid to criticize the church and indeed thought of their challenge as crucial to their faith. We do not have to lose faith with the beautiful wisdom of this story of intimate and compassionate love, dwelling among us and within us, if we do not want to." —from the acknowledgments and note to readers To those seeking a more open, progressive approach to Christian faith, the Christian past can sometimes seem like a desert, an empty space devoid of encouragement or example. Yet in the latter years of the Middle Ages a quiet flowering of a more accessible, positive approach to Christian belief took place among a group of female mystics, those who emphasized an immediate, nonhierarchical experience of the divine. In this enlightening volume, Wendy Farley eloquently brings the work of three female mystics—Marguerite Porete, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Julian of Norwich—into creative conversation with contemporary Christian life and thought. From alternatives to the standard, violent understandings of the atonement, to new forms of contemplation and prayer, these figures offer us relevant insights through a theology centered on God's love and compassion. Farley demonstrates how these women can help to refresh and expand our awareness of the depth of divine love that encompasses all creation and dwells in the cavern of every human heart.