221. Leading Light: Hildegard of Bingen

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The life, visions, political intrigues and scientific interests of Hildegard of Bingen.



Further Reading

• Hildegard of Bingen, Selected Writings, trans. M. Atherton (London: 2001).

• Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, trans. C. Hart and J. Bishop (New York: 1990).


• C. Burnett and P. Dronke (eds), Hildegard of Bingen: the Context of her Thought and Art (London: 1998).

• S. Flanagan, Hildegard of Bingen 1098-1179: a Visionary Life (London: 1998).

• B.M. Kienzle, D. Stoudt and G. Ferzoco (eds), A Companion to Hildegard of Bingen (Leiden: 2014).

• B. Newman (ed.) Voice of the Living Light: Hildegard of Bingen and her World (Berkeley: 1998).

In Our Time: Hildegard of Bingen


Thomas Mirus on 26 April 2015

In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI

In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named St. Hildegard a Doctor of the Church for her contributions to theology - a rare distinction for anyone (only 36 have received the title since the 13th century) and still rarer for a woman (she is the fourth to be given the title, after Sts. Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena and Therese of Lisieux).

aS on 2 May 2015

there is a good in our time

there is a good in our time podcast about Hildy

In reply to by aS

Peter Adamson on 3 May 2015


Oh right, I actually meant to add that but then forgot. I'll do it now, thanks.

Janice on 1 August 2016

Hildegard of Bingen

I am inspired by Hildegard of Bingen. I can recommand this site www.healthyhildegard.com about her teachings. Blessings

Roman Prychidko on 31 July 2017


Hi Peter this week radio 3 are doing  a programme on Hildegard and her music.


In reply to by Roman Prychidko

Peter Adamson on 31 July 2017


Oh really! Thanks, I will make sure to check that out and post it to "social media" as the kids like to say.

Jose Castro on 6 August 2017

Gender and Revelations

Maintaining that everything she wrote is revealed truth sidesteps the issue of her credibility as a woman in the middle ages, I wonder how aware she was of this decision, she must have known that the commentaries on the visions were her own, but that claiming then as revealed truth allowed her to address an audience that would otherwise be deaf to her opinions. Did she convince herself of this revelation or was it a conscious decision? At one extreme (although unlikely) she might have made up her revelations to get her strong theological opinions heard (probably a pressing urge to her due to her fervent intellect). This, in my opinion, would make her into an even more interesting character. Then again, her own medieval opinions on gender might have led her to honestly believe that everything she said was revealed truth.

Ewen on 13 August 2018

The Breath of God

Have been a huge fan of Hildegard's music since my sister brought home the album "A Feather on the Breath of God" back in the 80s; we were used to hearing Gregorian chant thanks to our father (who had it on 78s !), but this was the first time I'd heard plainchant performed by female voices and it was a revelation - absolutely sublime.

Emily on 13 December 2019

Music Through the Ages

Recently, I had the good fortune to attend a children's choir concert featuring female composers, and was delighted to find Hildegard among them. Her "O Vivens Fons" rang out as true and pure on the lips of the young contemporary vocalists as I imagine it must have on those of the cloistered novitiates centuries ago. Thank you, Peter, for providing the background and context to better appreciate Hildegard's work.

Brian Weatherson on 1 April 2023


A bust of her was just added to the Sydney Conservatorium as part of a project to acknowledge more women in the history of music - link here.

In reply to by Brian Weatherson

Peter Adamson on 2 April 2023


And Nina Simone too! We mentioned her in the Phyllis Wheatley episode. Maybe someone at that museum listens to the podcast...?

Emmanuel Ssonko on 1 February 2024


Thank you, Peter.


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