Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Epistolarium Pars Tertia CCLI-CCCXC

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Epistolarium Pars Tertia CCLI-CCCXC

Article excerpt

Hildegardis Bingensis, Epistolarium pairs tertia CCLI-CCCXC, edited by L. Van Acker and M. Klaes-Hachmoller, Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis XCIB (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000. xxxi + 352 pp. ISBN 2-503-- 03916-2. Eur. 158.00 (hard covers); Eur. 145.00 (p/b).

The first volume of the letters of Hildegard of Bingen (letters I-XC), edited by Lieven Van Acker, was published as Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis vol. XCI in 1991, and unleashed a fierce dispute about fundamental editorial principles. K. Bund put forward the view that to edit the letters as individual documents, arranged systematically by addressee, was to falsify the true nature of the Epistolarium by breaking up the structures documented in the manuscripts. 1993 saw the publication of the second volume with letters XCI-CCLR (where an exchange of letters has been preserved the 'reply' is marked with an R). After Van Lievens' death in 1994 the completion of the edition was entrusted to Monika Klaes-Hachmoller, whose spectacularly good edition of the Vita Hildegardis made her an obvious choice. She has had to make the best she could of complex editorial principles which, although acceptable to her, do not always make the elaborate textual history of some of the more interesting items as clear as it needs to be.

Two manuscripts contain `early versions' of Hildegard's letters from the period 1154-1170, with no systematic ordering. The Wiesbaden 'Riesenkodex' R contains a systematically arranged, augmented collection made in the period 1177-1180, probably by Hildegard's secretary Guibert of Gembloux, whose overall design is clearly intended to present a particular view of Hildegard. She died in 1179 and it is disputed whether she saw (and had control of) the finished product. There are numerous other manuscripts, each with its own profile, which support the view of an authentic corpus of letters augmented and edited to promote a glorified view of this remarkable visionary and prophetess whose correspondents ranged from St Bernard and Pope Eugenius to humble clerks and laypeople. …

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