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Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias

Product no.: 0-8091-3130-7
Scivias, her major religious work, consists of twenty-six visions.

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Publisher's Synopsis

A few of the topics covered in the visions are the charity of Christ, the nature of the universe, the kingdom of God, the fall of man, sanctification and the end of the world.

Special emphasis is given to the sacraments of marriage and the Eucharist, in response to the Cathar heresy. As a group the visions form a theological summa of Christian doctrine. At the end of the Scivias are hymns of praise and a short play, probably an early draft of Ordo virtutum, the first known morality play.

Hildegard is remarkable for being able to unite "vision with doctrine, religion with science, charismatic jubilation with prophetic indignation, and longing for social order with quest for social justice". This volume elucidates the life of medieval women, and is a striking example of a special form of Christian spirituality.

Reviews

"Despite her many gifts as visionary, prophetess, writer, preacher, herbal practitioner, musician and composer, Hildegard is basically a Benedictine monastic. And what she gives us in this book is a Benedictine summa of the Christian doctrine of her time. Her stress—especially in Book III on the Virtues, particularly Fear of the Lord, Poverty of Spirit, Humility, Obedience, Chastity, Wisdom, Discretion, plus the theme of spiritual warefare—substantiates this observation.

Scivias, an abbreviation for Scito vias Domini or Know the Ways of the Lord, took ten years to complete, 1141–1151. This edition also includes the reproductions, in black and white, of the illuminations and miniatures that accompanied the original work."      ~Sr. Helen Barrow, OSB

Excerpt

"Then I saw a burning light, as large and as high as a mountain, divided at its summit as if into many tongues. And there stood in the presence of this light a multitude of white-clad people, before whom what seemed like a screen of translucent crystal had been placed, reaching from their breasts to their feet. And before that multitude, as if in a road, there lay on its back a monster shaped like a worm, wondrously large and long, which aroused an indescribable sense of horror and rage. On its left stood a kind of market-place, which displayed human wealth and worldly delights and various sorts of merchandise; and some people were running through it very fast and not buying anything, while others were walking slowly and stopping both to sell and to buy.

Now that worm was black and bristly, covered with ulcers and pustules, and it was divided into five regions from the head down through the belly to its feet, like stripes. One was green, one white, one red, one yellow and one black; and they were full of deadly poison. But its head had been so crushed that the left side of its jawbone was dislocated. Its eyes were bloody on the surface and burning within; its ears were round and bristly: its nose and mouth were those of a viper, its hands human, its feet a viper's feet, and its tail short and horrible."          ~Vision 7, The Devil

Biography

Throughout her life, beginning as a young child, Hildegard had visions. But it was not till her early forties that she began to have the symbolic and didactic visions for which she became famous. At first she wrote nothing down, but when she fell seriously ill, she blamed this on the decision not to reveal her visions. After consulting with the pope and St Bernard of Clairvaux, she began to write the visions down and publish them.

Author Hildegard of Bingen
Translator Hart, Mother Columba
Cotranslator Bishop, Jane
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 545 pp.
Publisher Paulist Press 1990
Series Classics of Western Spirituality
Browse these categories as well: The Church: Doctors, Saints and Sages, Channeling and the Akasha, Mystic and Esoteric Christianity, Holy Woman and High Priestess

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