Voice of the Living Light: Hildegard of Bingen and Her World 0520217586, 9780520217584

For a woman of the 12th century, Hildegard of Bingen's achievements were so exceptional that posterity has found it

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Voice of the Living Light: Hildegard of Bingen and Her World
 0520217586, 9780520217584

Table of contents :
1. "Sibyl of the Rhine": Hildegard's Life and Times (BARBARA NEWMAN)
2. Abbess: "Mother and Teacher" (JOHN VAN ENGEN)
3. Religious Thinker: "A Frail Human Being" on Fiery Life (CONSTANT MEWS)
4. Prophet and Reformer: "Smoke in the Vineyard" (KATHRYN KERBY-FULTON)
5. Correspondent: "Blessed Is the Speech of Your Mouth" (JOAN FERRANTE)
6. Artist: "To See, Hear, and Know All at Once" (MADELINE CAVINESS)
7. Medical Writer: "Behold the Human Creature" (FLORENCE ELIZA GLAZE)
8. Composer and Dramatist: "Melodious Singing and the Freshness of Remorse" (MARGOT FASSLER)
9. Poet: "Where the Living Majesty Utters Mysteries" (BARBARA NEWMAN)
Notes on Contributors

Citation preview

Voice of the Living Light

Voice of the Living Light Hildegard of Bingen and Her World

Edited by

Barbara Newman

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS Berkeley · Los Angeles · London

University of California Press Berkeley and Los Angeles, California University of California Press, Ltd. London, England © 1998 by The Regents of the University of California

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Voice of the living light : Hildegard of Bingen and her world I edited by Barbara Newman. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-520-20826-9 (alk. paper) ISBN 0-520-21758-6 (pbk.: alk. paper) I. Hildegard, Saint, 1098-1179. 2. Germany- Intellectual life. I. Newman, Barbara, r953BX4700.H5V65 i998 i.82'.092- dc21 [b] 98-14149 CIP Printed in the United States of America 9 8 7 6 5 4 3



The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences- Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI 239-48-1984. This book is a print-on-demand volume. It is manufactured using toner in place of ink. Type and images may be less sharp than the same material seen in traditionally printed University of California Press editions.

Contents Illustrations Acknowledgments I.

"Sibyl of the Rhine": Hildegard's Life and Times




2. Abbess: "Mother and Teacher"



ca. 1125-1145·

10. The Day of the Great Revelation, Scivias, book 3, vision r I: Hildegard sees five beasts in the north, like a dog, a lion, a horse, a pig, and a wolf, presaging "five ferocious epochs of temporal rule" toward the end of time. In the west the youthful Christ of her previous vision (figure 3) appears again; below, Hildegard recognizes the crowned woman of book 2, vision 6, but with "scaly blemishes" on her hips and a monstrous head at her genitals, which leaves her violently and is destroyed by a thunderbolt (lower right). The church is invaded by Antichrist and betrayed "because those who should love her will violently persecute her."

1 I. Tower of Church, Scivias, book 3, vision 9: The tower of the church rises out of sight from foundation walls that arc still under construction, and is filled with people, some of whom are "very dirty and black and act insane." A female figure Hildegard identifies with Knowledge of God (with a scroll) encourages people to keep the garment they have been given (Christian faith and God's law), while Wisdom rises from her pavilion with seven pillars, her face too bright to see. Justice tramples a dragon and three-headed Sanctity brandishes a sword. All pay homage to Christ, who however is not seen; the female Virtues appear very powerful.

12. Column of the Trinity, Scivias, book 3, vision T This very unusual image of the Trinity, as a compound pier forming the corner of a building, is explained on pp. 118- 119. The Christ in Majesty in figure 3 merges with the steps to his throne, but here the Godhead has no human features. Like many images in book 3, this one demonstrates the very high symbolic value Hildegard placed on architecture.

13. Richard of Saint Victor, Temple gatehouse, illustration for Ezekiel's vision; probably before 1173.

14. Rupertsberg Abbey, engraved after a drawing by Daniel Meissner, before 1625.

1 5. Heavenly Jernsalem with Saints, Book of Divine Worf