Hildegard of Bingen and her Gospel Homilies: Speaking New Mysteries
By Beverly M. Kienzle
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), the only medieval woman known to have authored systematic works of exegesis, composed fifty-eight little-studied Expositiones euangeliorum, homilies on twenty-seven Gospel passages. Hildegard described her divine charge to restore the tottering faith of her era through the revelation of hidden mysteries in the Scriptures. She was to continue the exegetical tradition of the Fathers and to construct moral fortifications with the words of Scripture in order to defend her sisters against the forces of evil. Hildegard of Bingen and her Gospel Homilies constitutes the first in-depth study of Hildegard’s Expositiones and of her exegesis, preaching, and use of sources. It explores the Expositiones in the context of Hildegard’s intellectual and cultural milieu and underscores the central role of biblical interpretation in the seer’s works. Furthermore, this book re-examines Hildegard’s self-depiction in the context of monastic education for women, the magistra’s exchange with her mentors and friends, and her rich use of divine voice to empower her own expression. This is a new, exciting, and erudite study on one of the most influential female mystics.