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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hildegard of Bingen: Selections from Her Writings

Known as the Sibyl of the Rhine, Hildegard of Bingen was a 12th century abbess filled with talent and fire. She wrote music for worship, she recorded her visions and their meanings, and was an amazing herbalist. Although she wrote in a humble manner, she was not afraid to speak her mind to the authorities in the Catholic Church and to even royalty. Hildegard's thirst for life seemed to be spurred by her persistent sickness, in which she received visions from God.

Hildegard of Bingen: Selections from Her Writings only contains a brief introduction about Hildegard and her visions. This volume gathers visions from all three books of her Scivias (or visions). Each chapter begins with the vision itself, which is often so intricate in detail that readers may have to read it multiple times to get a full visual in ones mind. These are followed by a short line by line explanation of the vision's meaning. While the selections are short, they are concise enough to give the reader an idea of what the visions of Hildegard mean. Unfortunately, this small volume does not contain the illustrations that she originally included with Scivias, which would give the reader a better understanding of what she saw. This volume covers 10 topics including: "The Creator and Creation God Enthroned", "The Trinity", and "The Edifice of Salvation".

For those who want to learn about her theology in short or who want to review, I think this is a good choice. For those who want to get deeper there are much better books out there to choose from.

Recommended Reading:
Hildegard of Bingen's Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Songs edited by Matthew Fox
The Letters of Hildegard of Bingen: Volume I - edited by Joseph L. Baird and Radd K. Ehrman

Recommended Listening (traditional):
Canticles of Ecstasy performed by Cologne Sequentia Ensemble for Medieval Music
The Origin of Fire: Music and Visions of Hildegard von Bingen performed by Anonymous 4

Recommended Listening (modern):
Hildegard von Bingen by Garmarna
Vision: The Music of Hildegard von Bingen

Recommended Viewing:
Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen (2010)

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