It's wonderful to see how so much care has been taken in translating the complete Latin manuscript in English. I can't wait to read the English version. The illustrations are indeed beautiful. Keep up the great work!
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Hildegard's fellow nuns elected her as magistra in ; she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in and Eibingen in She wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs for women choirs to sing  and poems, while supervising miniature illuminations in the Rupertsberg manuscript of her first work, Scivias. Although the history of her formal canonization is complicated, branches of the Roman Catholic Church have recognized her as a saint for centuries.
Hildegard to the entire Catholic Church in a process known as "equivalent canonization". On 7 October , he named her a Doctor of the Church , in recognition of "her holiness of life and the originality of her teaching. Hildegard was born around the year , although the exact date is uncertain.
Her parents were Mechtild of Merxheim-Nahet and Hildebert of Bermersheim, a family of the free lower nobility in the service of the Count Meginhard of Sponheim. From early childhood, long before she undertook her public mission or even her monastic vows, Hildegard's spiritual awareness was grounded in what she called the umbra viventis lucis, the reflection of the living Light.
Her letter to Guibert of Gembloux , which she wrote at the age of seventy-seven, describes her experience of this light with admirable precision:. In this vision my soul, as God would have it, rises up high into the vault of heaven and into the changing sky and spreads itself out among different peoples, although they are far away from me in distant lands and places. And because I see them this way in my soul, I observe them in accord with the shifting of clouds and other created things.
I do not hear them with my outward ears, nor do I perceive them by the thoughts of my own heart or by any combination of my five senses, but in my soul alone, while my outward eyes are open. So I have never fallen prey to ecstasy in the visions, but I see them wide awake, day and night. And I am constantly fettered by sickness, and often in the grip of pain so intense that it threatens to kill me, but God has sustained me until now. The light which I see thus is not spatial, but it is far, far brighter than a cloud which carries the sun.
I can measure neither height, nor length, nor breadth in it; and I call it "the reflection of the living Light. Perhaps because of Hildegard's visions, or as a method of political positioning or both , Hildegard's parents offered her as an oblate to the Benedictine monastery at the Disibodenberg , which had been recently reformed in the Palatinate Forest.
The date of Hildegard's enclosure at the monastery is the subject of debate. Some scholars speculate that Hildegard was placed in the care of Jutta at the age of eight, and the two women were then enclosed together six years later. In any case, Hildegard and Jutta were enclosed together at the Disibodenberg , and formed the core of a growing community of women attached to the male monastery. Jutta was also a visionary and thus attracted many followers who came to visit her at the cloister.
Hildegard tells us that Jutta taught her to read and write, but that she was unlearned and therefore incapable of teaching Hildegard sound biblical interpretation. Volmar , a frequent visitor, may have taught Hildegard simple psalm notation. The time she studied music could have been the beginning of the compositions she would later create. Upon Jutta's death in , Hildegard was unanimously elected as magistra of the community by her fellow nuns.
Hildegard, however, wanted more independence for herself and her nuns, and asked Abbot Kuno to allow them to move to Rupertsberg. When the abbot declined Hildegard's proposition, Hildegard went over his head and received the approval of Archbishop Henry I of Mainz. Abbot Kuno did not relent until Hildegard was stricken by an illness that kept her paralyzed and unable to move from her bed, an event that she attributed to God's unhappiness at her not following his orders to move her nuns to a new location in Rupertsberg.
It was only when the Abbot himself could not move Hildegard that he decided to grant the nuns their own monastery. Rupertsberg monastery in , where Volmar served as provost, as well as Hildegard's confessor and scribe. In Hildegard founded a second monastery for her nuns at Eibingen. Before Hildegard's death, a problem arose with the clergy of Mainz. A man buried in Rupertsburg had died after excommunication from the Church. Therefore, the clergy wanted to remove his body from the sacred ground.
Hildegard did not accept this idea, replying that it was a sin and that the man had been reconciled to the church at the time of his death. Hildegard said that she first saw "The Shade of the Living Light" at the age of three, and by the age of five she began to understand that she was experiencing visions. Hildegard explained that she saw all things in the light of God through the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.
The illustrations recorded in the book of Scivias were visions that Hildegard experienced, causing her great suffering and tribulations. But I, though I saw and heard these things, refused to write for a long time through doubt and bad opinion and the diversity of human words, not with stubbornness but in the exercise of humility, until, laid low by the scourge of God, I fell upon a bed of sickness; then, compelled at last by many illnesses, and by the witness of a certain noble maiden of good conduct [the nun Richardis von Stade] and of that man whom I had secretly sought and found, as mentioned above, I set my hand to the writing.
While I was doing it, I sensed, as I mentioned before, the deep profundity of scriptural exposition; and, raising myself from illness by the strength I received, I brought this work to a close — though just barely — in ten years.
And I spoke and wrote these things not by the invention of my heart or that of any other person, but as by the secret mysteries of God I heard and received them in the heavenly places. And again I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, 'Cry out, therefore, and write thus! It was between November and February at the synod in Trier that Pope Eugenius heard about Hildegard's writings.
It was from this that she received Papal approval to document her visions as revelations from the Holy Spirit, giving her instant credence.
On 17 September , when Hildegard died, her sisters claimed they saw two streams of light appear in the skies and cross over the room where she was dying. Hildegard's hagiography , Vita Sanctae Hildegardis , was compiled by the monk Theoderic of Echternach after Hildegard's death. Guibert of Gembloux was invited to finish the work; however, he had to return to his monastery with the project unfinished. Hildegard's works include three great volumes of visionary theology;  a variety of musical compositions for use in liturgy, as well as the musical morality play Ordo Virtutum ; one of the largest bodies of letters nearly to survive from the Middle Ages, addressed to correspondents ranging from popes to emperors to abbots and abbesses , and including records of many of the sermons she preached in the s and s;  two volumes of material on natural medicine and cures;   an invented language called the Lingua ignota "unknown language" ;  and various minor works, including a gospel commentary and two works of hagiography.
Several manuscripts of her works were produced during her lifetime, including the illustrated Rupertsberg manuscript of her first major work, Scivias lost since ; the Dendermonde Codex , which contains one version of her musical works; and the Ghent manuscript, which was the first fair-copy made for editing of her final theological work, the Liber Divinorum Operum.
At the end of her life, and probably under her initial guidance, all of her works were edited and gathered into the single Riesenkodex manuscript. In these volumes, the last of which was completed when she was well into her seventies, Hildegard first describes each vision, whose details are often strange and enigmatic, and then interprets their theological contents in the words of the "voice of the Living Light.
With permission from Abbot Kuno of Disibodenberg, she began journaling visions she had which is the basis for Scivias. Scivias is a contraction of Sci vias Domini Know the Ways of the Lord , and it was Hildegard's first major visionary work, and one of the biggest milestones in her life. Perceiving a divine command to "write down what you see and hear,"  Hildegard began to record and interpret her visionary experiences. In total, 26 visionary experiences were captured in this compilation.
Scivias is structured into three parts of unequal length. The first part six visions chronicles the order of God's creation: the Creation and Fall of Adam and Eve, the structure of the universe famously described as the shape of an "egg" , the relationship between body and soul, God's relationship to his people through the Synagogue, and the choirs of angels.
The second part seven visions describes the order of redemption: the coming of Christ the Redeemer, the Trinity , the Church as the Bride of Christ and the Mother of the Faithful in baptism and confirmation , the orders of the Church, Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and the Eucharist , and the fight against the devil.
Finally, the third part thirteen visions recapitulates the history of salvation told in the first two parts, symbolized as a building adorned with various allegorical figures and virtues.
It concludes with the Symphony of Heaven, an early version of Hildegard's musical compositions. In early , a commission was sent by the Pope to Disibodenberg to find out more about Hildegard and her writings.
The commission found that the visions were authentic and returned to the Pope, with a portion of the Scivias. Portions of the uncompleted work were read aloud to Pope Eugenius III at the Synod of Trier in , after which he sent Hildegard a letter with his blessing.
In her second volume of visionary theology, composed between and , after she had moved her community of nuns into independence at the Rupertsberg in Bingen, Hildegard tackled the moral life in the form of dramatic confrontations between the virtues and the vices.
She had already explored this area in her musical morality play, Ordo Virtutum , and the "Book of the Rewards of Life" takes up that play's characteristic themes. Each vice, although ultimately depicted as ugly and grotesque, nevertheless offers alluring, seductive speeches that attempt to entice the unwary soul into their clutches.
Standing in our defence, however, are the sober voices of the Virtues, powerfully confronting every vicious deception. Amongst the work's innovations is one of the earliest descriptions of purgatory as the place where each soul would have to work off its debts after death before entering heaven. Hildegard's last and grandest visionary work had its genesis in one of the few times she experienced something like an ecstatic loss of consciousness.
As she described it in an autobiographical passage included in her Vita, sometime in about , she received "an extraordinary mystical vision" in which was revealed the "sprinkling drops of sweet rain" that John the Evangelist experienced when he wrote, "In the beginning was the Word Hildegard perceived that this Word was the key to the "Work of God", of which humankind is the pinnacle.
The ten visions of this work's three parts are cosmic in scale, to illustrate various ways of understanding the relationship between God and his creation. Often, that relationship is established by grand allegorical female figures representing Divine Love Caritas or Wisdom Sapientia.
The first vision opens the work with a salvo of poetic and visionary images, swirling about to characterize God's dynamic activity within the scope of his work within the history of salvation. The remaining three visions of the first part introduce the famous image of a human being standing astride the spheres that make up the universe and detail the intricate relationships between the human as microcosm and the universe as macrocosm.
This culminates in the final chapter of Part One, Vision Four with Hildegard's commentary on the Prologue to John's Gospel John —14 , a direct rumination on the meaning of "In the beginning was the Word This commentary interprets each day of creation in three ways: literal or cosmological; allegorical or ecclesiological i.
Finally, the five visions of the third part take up again the building imagery of Scivias to describe the course of salvation history. The final vision 3. Attention in recent decades to women of the medieval Church has led to a great deal of popular interest in Hildegard's music. In addition to the Ordo Virtutum , sixty-nine musical compositions, each with its own original poetic text, survive, and at least four other texts are known, though their musical notation has been lost.
One of her better-known works, Ordo Virtutum Play of the Virtues , is a morality play. It is uncertain when some of Hildegard's compositions were composed, though the Ordo Virtutum is thought to have been composed as early as The most significant part of this entire composition is, however, that the Ordo virtutum is the earliest known surviving musical drama that is not attached to a liturgy.
This entertainment was both performed and bemused by a select community of noblewomen and nuns. Even more fascinating about this piece, the devil has no music whatsoever in the plot of the play, he instead shouts and bellows all his lines.
All other characters sing in monophonic plainchant. The Ordo Virtutum was probably performed as a manifestation of the theology Hildegard delineated in the Scivias. The play serves as a group enchantment of the Christian story of sin, confession, repentance, and forgiveness.
Notably, it is the female Virtues who restore the fallen to the community of the faithful, not the male Patriarchs or Prophets. This would have been a significant message to the nuns in Hildegard's convent. Scholars assert that the role of the Devil would have been played by Volmar, while Hildegard's nuns would have played the parts of Anima the human souls and the Virtues. In addition to the Ordo Virtutum , Hildegard composed many liturgical songs that were collected into a cycle called the Symphonia armoniae celestium revelationum.
The songs from the Symphonia are set to Hildegard's own text and range from antiphons, hymns, and sequences, to responsories. Though Hildegard's music is often thought to stand outside the normal practices of monophonic monastic chant,  current researchers are also exploring ways in which it may be viewed in comparison with her contemporaries, such as Hermannus Contractus. Scholars such as Margot Fassler , Marianne Richert Pfau, and Beverly Lomer also note the intimate relationship between music and text in Hildegard's compositions, whose rhetorical features are often more distinct than is common in twelfth-century chant.
The definition of viriditas or "greenness" is an earthly expression of the heavenly in an integrity that overcomes dualisms. This greenness or power of life appears frequently in Hildegard's works.
Despite Hildegard's self-professed view that her compositions have as their object the praise of God, one scholar has asserted that Hildegard made a close association between music and the female body in her musical compositions.
Hildegard of Bingen
Author information Open Access Our Partners. Corpus Christianorum. This edition renders the text of the Ghent manuscript in its final corrected form. The apparatus criticus contains the variant readings of the other early manuscripts. The great novelty is the apparatus correctionum: here all corrections in the Ghent manuscript are painstakingly noted with their extent, the technique used, the identification of the corrector and whenever possible, the text of the original, deleted version.
Liber Divinorum Operum
File:Hildegard von Bingen Liber Divinorum Operum.jpg
Hildegard's fellow nuns elected her as magistra in ; she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in and Eibingen in She wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs for women choirs to sing  and poems, while supervising miniature illuminations in the Rupertsberg manuscript of her first work, Scivias. Although the history of her formal canonization is complicated, branches of the Roman Catholic Church have recognized her as a saint for centuries. Hildegard to the entire Catholic Church in a process known as "equivalent canonization". On 7 October , he named her a Doctor of the Church , in recognition of "her holiness of life and the originality of her teaching. Hildegard was born around the year , although the exact date is uncertain. Her parents were Mechtild of Merxheim-Nahet and Hildebert of Bermersheim, a family of the free lower nobility in the service of the Count Meginhard of Sponheim.