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Author: Hildegard von Bingen

Spouse/other names:Hildegardis de Pingva von Spanheim, Hildegardis Bingensis, H. de Pingva, Prophetissa Teutonica, Sybilla Teutonica, Gefäß des Hl. Geistes, Posaune Gottes
Year of birth:1098
Year of death:1179
About her personal situation:Hildegard of Bingen's date of birth is uncertain. It has been concluded that she may have been born in the year 1098. Hildegard was raised in a family of free nobles. She was her parents' tenth child, sickly from birth. In her Vita, Hildegard explains that from a very young age she had experienced visions. Perhaps due to Hildegard's visions, or as a method of political positioning, Hildegard's parents, Hildebert and Mechthilde, offered her as a tithe to the church. The date of Hildegard's enclosure in the church is contentious. Her vita tells us she was enclosed with another older nun Jutta at the age of eight, though Jutta's enclosure date is known to be in 1112, at which time Hildegard would have been fourteen. Some scholars speculate that Hildegard was placed in the care of Jutta, the daughter of Count Stephan II of Sponheim, at the age of eight, before the two women were enclosed together six years later. There is no written record of the twenty-four years of Hildegard's life that she was in the convent together with Jutta. It is possible that Hildegard could have been a chantress and a worker in the herbarium and infirmarium. In any case, Hildegard and Jutta were enclosed at Disibodenberg in the Palatinate Forest in what is now Germany. Jutta was also a visionary and thus attracted many followers who came to visit her at the enclosure. Hildegard also tells us that Jutta taught her to read and write, but that she was unlearned and therefore incapable of teaching Hildegard Biblical interpretation. Hildegard and Jutta most likely prayed, meditated, read scriptures such as the psalter, and did some sort of handwork during the hours of the Divine Office. This also might have been a time when Hildegard learned how to play the ten-stringed psaltery. Volmar, a frequent visitor, may have taught Hildegard simple psalm notation. The time she studied music could also have been the beginnings of the compositions she would later create. Upon Jutta's death in 1136, Hildegard was unanimously elected as "magistra" of her sister community by her fellow nuns. Abbot Kuno, the Abbot of Disibodenberg, also asked Hildegard to be Prioress. 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, however, 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 Rupertsberg. It was only when the Abbot himself could not move Hildegard that he decided to grant the nuns their own monastery. Hildegard and about twenty nuns thus moved to the St. Rupertsberg monastery in 1150, where Volmar served as provost, as well as Hildegard's confessor and scribe. In 1165 Hildegard founded a second convent for her nuns at Eibingen.

Languages:German - Latin
Relations to other authors:

About her professional situation:She was a nun. In 1136, Hildegard was unanimously elected as "magistra" of her sister community by her fellow nuns. Between 70 and 80 music compositions have survived, which is one of the largest repertoires among medieval composers. Hildegard left behind over 100 letters, 72 songs, seventy poems, and 9 books.
Elements of bibliography:MENTIONED IN: - Talvj: Deutschlands Schriftstellerinnen bis vor hundert Jahren, 1861, p. 44 - Buck, Guide to women’s literature, 1992 - Lettres européennes (Dutch version 1994) I, 111. - Lerner, Creation of Feminist Consciousness, 1993, discussed p.49-52, 64 cf. - Scheepsma, in Van Dijk e.a., "I have heard about you"
Websites: Celebration of WW: biography and texts
On-line bio- and bibliography

Editors: Johanneke Straasheijm (update on 12 December 2009)
Emma van den Eijnde (update on 20 May 2010)
Suzan van Dijk (update on 20 May 2010)
Suzan van Dijk (update on 23 August 2010)
Juliana Jovicic (update on 15 October 2010)
Juliana Jovicic (update on 15 October 2010)
Juliana Jovicic (update on 15 October 2010)
Juliana Jovicic (update on 15 October 2010)
Suzan van Dijk (update on 07 May 2011)

Works written by this author

E 1 *Hildegard von Bingen, the author ()
E 2 Liber compositae medicinae /Causae et curae (1140)

Authors read by this author

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