Hildegard of Bingen

1098 – 1179

"I simultàniament veig, escolto i sé, i gairebé en el mateix moment aprenc allò que sé. En canvi, allò que no veig ho ignoro perquè sóc indocta. I allò que escric ho veig i ho escolto en la visió, i no poso altres paraules que aquelles que escolto. Ho profereixo amb els mots llatins sense llimar, tal com els escolto en la visió, ja que en la visió no m’ensenyen a escriure com escriuen els filòsofs"

Hildegard of Bingen was a Germanic thinker and is probably the most prolific woman writer of the Middle Ages. Her corpus is formed of a wide variety of topics, discursive forms and ways of transmission which include visionary literature, exegetic commentaries, theology, letters, hagiography, lyrical and musical compositions, and medical-naturalistic writings. Her creative and intellectual biography can be divided into two periods.

The first period begins in 1141, when Hildegard started her literary activity. She lived in the Abbey of Disibodenberg (where she entered as a child) until, in 1511, she moved together with her filiae to the first monastery she founded, located in Ruperstsberg-Bingen. Between 1141 and 1151 she wrote her first work of “visions”, titled Scivias. Immediately after, she began a prolific and varied creative and intellectual activity, which is made up of pieces such as the musical drama Ordo Virtutum, a compilation of 75 musical pieces with the title Symphonia aromnie celestium revelationum, her writings on medicine—Liber Subtiliatum—and the litterae ignotae, an “unkown” alphabet with which she made a lingua ignota built on more than a thousand words. Finally, between the years 1158 and 1163 she wrote her second work on visions, Liber vite meritorum, from more of a moral perspective.

The second period begins in 1163, short before the foundation of the second monastery, located in Eibingen. She wrote her last work on visions, Liber divinorum operum, extensively dedicated to describing the universe, the cycles that rule nature and the interactions between natural phenomena and human beings. During her last years she dedicated herself to exegesis and wrote letters into which she inserted small treatises. Among them are De Regula sancti Benedicti, two hagiographical works, the Solutiones quaestionum XXXVIII, of scholastic format, and the Explanatio symboli sancti Athanasii, which is made up of two letters Hildargard wrote to the nuns in her monastery before she died in 1179.

Selected Works

1978, Scivias, ed. Adelgundis Führkötter, col. Angela Carlevaris, (CCCM, 43), Turnhout: Brepols.

1991-2001, Epistolarium, 3 vol., ed. Lieven van Acker, (Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis [CCCM], 91-91a) & Monika Klaes, (CCCM, 91b), Turnhout: Brepols.

1993, Vita sanctae Hildegardis, ed. Monika Klaes, (CCCM, 126), Turnhout: Brepols.

1996, Liber divinorum operum, ed. Albert Derolez & Peter Dronke, (CCCM, 92), Turnhout: Brepols.

Secondary Literature

BURNETT, Charles; DRONKE, Peter (ed.), 1998, Hildegard of Bingen. The Context of her Thought and Art, London: The Warburg Institute.

HAVERKAMP, Alfred (ed.), 2000, Hildegard von Bingen in ihrem historischen Umfeld, col. Alexander Reverchon, Magúncia: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

KIENZLE, Beverly Mayne; STOUDT, Debra L.; FERZOCO, George (eds.), 2014, A Companion to Hildegard of Bingen, Leiden: Brill.

PEREIRA, Michela, 2017, Ildegarda di Bingen. Maestra di sapienza nel suo tempo e oggi, San Pietro in Cariano (Verona): Gabrielli Editore.

RABASSÓ, Georgina, 2017, “Sapientia docet me: Hildegarda de Bingen y la filosofía”, Mediaevalia. Textos e estudos, 32, pp. 47-64. ‹http://ojs.letras.up.pt/index.php/mediaevalia/article/view/2769›, consulted on 23.01.2018.

RABASSÓ, Georgina, 2013, “Anima, indue te arma lucis. The Dialectical Background to Hildegard of Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum, in: La teoría filosófica de las pasiones y de las virtudes. De la Filosofía Antigua al Humanismo Escolástico Ibérico, Oporto: Edições Húmus, pp. 45-60.

RIUS GATELL, Rosa, 2000, “Hildegarda de Bingen, una mística que cuenta”, Cistercium, n. 219, pp. 663-667.

RIUS GATELL, Rosa, 2001, “La sinfonía constelada de Hildegarda de Bingen”, in: Beneito, Pablo (ed.), Mujeres de luz. La mística femenina y lo femenino en la mística, coord. Lorenzo Piera & Juan José Barcenilla, Madrid: Trotta, pp. 123-135.