'Known as the 'Sibyl of the Rhine,' Hildegard of Bingen was at once poet, nun, musician, dietician, preacher, naturalist, and political consultant; yet she is best remembered for her apocalyptic and mystical writings. Considering the atmosphere of the twelfth century-a period in which anything new and strange in religion was probed carefully for heresy and in which only priests were allowed to preach-one might call her an oddity, though she brooked little, if any, opposition from the ruling hierarchies. Offered as a 'tithe' to the church at the age of eight, Hildegard spent most of the first forty-two years of her life cloistered before being selected as abbess and tentatively venturing forth to share her visionary experiences and creative abilities. The period in which Hildegard lived is often referred to as the 'Twelfth-Century Renaissance,' a time of great renewal influenced by the Cistercians, classical humanism, and theological writers such as Peter Lombard and Hugh of St. Victor. Standing with and yet apart from these figures, Hildegard employs conventional and highly original techniques in her writing, tendering a distinctively feminine way of thinking and an anthropology which places men and women as mutually dependent in the image of God. Included in this volume are selections from her visionary works (Scivias, The Book of Life's Merits, The Book of Divine Works
), treatises on the natural world, devotional songs, and letters to several famous and infamous contemporaries.
An Eighth Day View:
Hildegard, the "Sybil of the Rhine," was a Benedictine nun and one of the most prolific and original women writers of the Middle Ages. Arranged thematically, this new edition of her work brings together selections from her visionary trilogy, her treatise on medicine and the natural world, and her songs and correspondence.
This unique volume includes a chronology of her life and times, bibliography, select discography, explanatory notes, glossary, and connecting commentary. It shows Hildegard as a wide-ranging thinker who touched on many themes that concern us today, including: the relationship between human beings and the natural world, mutuality between men and women, and the importance of a holistic approach to life.